NOTS improves lives and preserves nature in Sub-Saharan Africa by building renewable energy enterprises. As an ‘impact enterprise’ NOTS aims to maximize social and environmental impact, while providing investors with a healthy return.
Our goal is to replace all kerosene lamps in Sub-Saharan Africa with solar lamps by 2025. We build enterprises that sell, distribute and pre-finance portable solar lamps.
Our goal is to make all charcoal production in Sub-Saharan Africa sustainable by 2025. We sell Blue Charcoal packages that significantly reduce the environmental damage caused by charcoal production.
In an interview with Filanthropium, the Dutch platform for directors of charities, NOTS founder, Bart Hartman, speaks about the role of charities, impact enterprises and traditional companies in solving the big problems of this world.
Watch the interview here (in Dutch).
In just 3 weeks, NOTS raises $49,250 through Kiva for one of our solar lamp distributors in Mali. This is one of the largest and fastest funded loans to-date on Kiva and will bring light to about 10,000 people. Thank you the thousands of Kiva donors from all over the world who made this happen!
Meet Daniel, our solar lamp distributor in Mali who will receive the funds by clicking here.
NOTS Mali signs an agreement with the Mali National Union of Cotton Producer Cooperatives, the first step towards bringing solar light to more than 100.000 cotton farmers across Mali.
Watch the signing here.
And the national TV news coverage here (begins at 34:30).
Bart Hartman, founder of NOTS, speaks on a panel at the UN Business Call to Action forum in NYC. The panel, titled "Inclusive Business, Climate Change and Green Leap", also included speakers from BASF and Panasonic. Watch Bart's presentation here (starts at 05:17).
Following his visit to the big apple, Bart was invited to speak on BNR about his experience. Listen to the program here.
Also, we have completed the editing of the interview at this event, and it is now posted on the Business Call to Action's YouTube account. Watch the interview here.
NOTS builds the first five Adam retorts in Rwanda and launches production of Blue Charcoal. The retorts are owned and run by a local entrepreneur who, in partnership, with NOTS aims to make charcoal production sustainable in Rwanda.
It's official! The Ministry of Environment adopts Blue Charcoal as the model for sustainable charcoal production in Mali. Supported by the minister and a formal committee dedicated to Blue Charcoal, we are ready to roll out.
The president of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, visited the NOTS booth at the “Salon de l’agriculture”. He was enthusiastic to learn about the business and hear how his government can support NOTS on issues like taxes and human resources.
NOTS opens an office in Rwanda and hires a team to set up the solar lamp distribution and sustainable charcoal production businesses.
NOTS holds workshops in Mali and Rwanda where 60 leaders from the charcoal sector, including government officials and producers, give input on the Blue Charcoal business model. NOTS creates, together with the minister of Environment, a high level task force to plan the roll-out of Blue Charcoal in both Mali and Rwanda.
NOTS and Bart Hartman were featured on primetime national TV news in Rwanda after the Blue Charcoal workshop, which was co-organized with the Government of Rwanda.
Based on a survey of the Malian solar lamp sector, the World Bank concludes that NOTS is the number one solar lamp distributor in Mali, in both the number of lamps sold and in professionalism, and one of the top distributors in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The leader of sustainable charcoal production activities for UNDP in Africa recognizes the NOTS Blue Charcoal business model as a front runner in Sub-Saharan Africa for making charcoal production sustainable.
With a new Country Director from Mali experienced in marketing and sales, NOTS significantly increases distribution coverage, adding cooperatives and women’s associations to our wholesaler network. In 2013 we sell 48.000 lamps.
NOTS Mali sells 11.000 solar lamps in 2012, a significant increase over 2011, by adding new wholesalers, small retailers and entrepreneurs to the distribution network.
Solar lamp sales continues during the military coup in Mali. NOTS’ Canadian managing director decides to stay and continues leading our local team.
In a 2-page interview Bart talks about his journey with NOTS, development aid via building enterprises and impact investing.
In partnership with three local charcoal cooperatives, NOTS builds and tests six high-efficiency charcoal production ovens. Pilot results indicate that charcoal can be sustainably produced with these ovens.
NOTS opens an office in Mali and hires a team to set up two businesses: sales and distribution of solar lamps and sustainable charcoal production.
Bart speaks at the Ondernemerscafe 020 (a club for student entrepreneurs) where he motivates students to start businesses abroad and offers up his support.
NOTS conducts a pilot to test the market for solar lamps, selecting Mali as the first country. In one month, 1.700 solar lamps are sold, inspiring NOTS to set up a full-time sales and distribution business.
NOTS closes a co-investment deal with FMO. For each euro NOTS raises with the NOTS Microfinance Bonds, FMO invests 0,40 EUR in the form of a subordinated loan.
After pilot projects with various renewable energies, NOTS learns that one of the main bottlenecks to renewable energy in Africa is financially sustainable distribution. We decide to focus our activities on solar lamp distribution and sustainable charcoal production and distribution.
NOTS invests 1 million euros, via Triple Jump BV, in four microfinance institutions in Latin America and Africa and learns first-hand about the power of entrepreneurship and loans to reduce poverty.
NOTS creates the first of its kind microfinance bond enabling NOTS to raise 1 million euros as an impact enterprise.
Through involvement with Triple Jump BV, NOTS learns that many micro-entrepreneurs do not have access to energy, especially in Africa. NOTS expands into renewable energy and sets up pilot projects for Japropha, biogas, concentrated solar power and solar lamps.
Together with ASN Bank and Oxfam Novib, NOTS co-founds Triple Jump BV, a microfinance investment management firm that today has EUR 300 million under management. NOTS is 25% shareholder.
NOTS develops a line of unique watches to raise money for the scholarship programs in Argentina and other developing countries.
Together with a local NGO, NOTS develops a scholarship program for children from slums in Argentina. The scholarships reduce the high dropout rates as children no longer need to leave school to make money for their family.
After working in the private sector for nearly 20 years, Dutch entrepreneur Bart Hartman founds NOTS with the ambition to make a positive impact on people in developing countries. NOTS stands for Not-One-The-Same, referring to the philosophy that every individual is unique with unique needs. NOTS aims to fulfil these needs.
Bart meets an experienced development expert from Africa who inspires Bart to use his entrepreneurial skills to improve lives of the poor.
14 million people do not have access to electricity in Mali and 8,6 million people cook with unsustainable charcoal. Since 2011, NOTS Mali is improving lives in Mali by selling and distributing portable solar lamps (Blue Power) and making charcoal production sustainable (Blue Charcoal).
11 million people in Rwanda live off-grid and 3 million cook with unsustainable charcoal. In 2014 NOTS launched operations in Rwanda to sell and distribute portable solar lamps (Blue Power) and to make charcoal production sustainable (Blue Charcoal).