For the last three years the founders of Stima piloted ways to bring pay-per-use solar energy to the poorest communities in Kenya. They experienced first hand how power changes lives. A girl rose to the top of her class reading by LED light. A brick layer doubled his business by keeping his phone powered on. A user introduced the idea of group guarantee, which when implemented in trials, tripled collection rates within weeks. Another pilot user recruited 70 users from neighboring home villages and generated five times the average daily income from pilot commissions. These and other Base-of-Pyramid user innovations demonstrated a world of possibilities starting with the way to bring modern power to remote villages, while saving money and generating revenue for all parties involved.
Stima was founded to profitably address pervasive demand for affordable energy at the Base-of-Pyramid. Stima means "energy" in Swahili and "esteem" (where we get the word) in Latin languages, or, in other words, "power and empowerment". We bring power to people and empower them to participate in the operation of our service, the recruitment of their fellow community members, and the formation of groups to co-guarantee payments.
At the Base-of-Pyramid people are held back by expensive energy and lack of financing: energy in rural villages costs 15 times more per unit than what you and I pay. The further kerosene travels from an urban center, the higher the cost. Efficient energy simply has not been accessible to the rural village. Even a $6 solar torch, which can reduce kerosene usage and pay for itself in a little over two months, is too much to pay for out-of-pocket.
The reason has to do with the second problem, the economics of poverty, which dictates that cash on hand is more valuable than spent, even on a solar product that can save in the long run. That is why billions of poor people still buy expensive kerosene daily.
The solution is to offer modern energy as a service; paid for in small amounts to fit rural spending habits.
There are 200 million rural families living in India and Africa at the 'Bottom-of-Pyramid' who could save money with Stima, enjoy brighter lighting and better phone access. That's over a Billion people!