ABOUT NOTS

SOCIAL AND ENVIROMENTAL IMPACT TRHOUGH IMPACT ENTERPRISES

Who we are

NOTS Solar Lamps improves lives and life opportunities for African families through offgrid,  affordable light and power. We create local enterprises that build and sell SHS (Solar Home Systems), using a groundbreaking business and consumer financing model. Our Mutimax SHS powers brighter, cleaner, safer homes. Through it, we champion access to more and better opportunities for the poorest in Africa.

Our story

We believe that impact enterprise can reduce poverty more quickly than NGOs alone. And we’ve learned that progress at a meaningful scale needs grass-roots movements to spring up and thrive. Movements are powered by opportunity and choices.

NOTS Impact Enterprises was formed in 2003, harnessing entrepreneurship, innovation and activism. Our investors care about the large scale and the long term - environment, social inequality, poverty - and are determined to make a difference. Our other stakeholders are people, and Planet Earth. Each gets a healthy return.

We were founded by serial entrepreneur and former McKinsey consultant, Bart Hartman. From his personal experience came the insight that properly motivated, impact entrepreneurship had the potential to reduce poverty faster and on a much bigger scale than philanthropy and charity.

With that in mind, we began by co-founding Triple Jump BV, a microfinance investment management firm, in partnership with Oxfam and ASN Bank. Today the firm has EUR 800 million under management. Through its microfinance experiences NOTS learned that 600 million Africans had no access to electricity, and we were motivated to tackle it: the business had found its true purpose.

After several years of piloting solutions, we launched renewable energy businesses in Mali in 2011, and Rwanda in 2014. In just a few years NOTS Solar Lamps has become one of the leading SHS providers, helping 325,000 families improve their lives through solar lighting and power.

In 2015 political instability in Mali forced us to close our operation there. Our focus now is Rwanda. In 2019, we’ll launch a brand new SHS - Mutimax - at a breakthrough price. We’re combining it with a payment model designed to fit the finances  - and frame of mind - of Africa’s poorest. We’ll prove that the business model has traction before establishing local manufacturing. Then we’ll scale by repeating that successful formula in other African nations - and empowering others to copy our success.

What we do

We’re aiming to make a huge impact on one of the world’s most intractable problems. To do that we need to create a movement, not just a market. Our ultimate goal is to tear down all the major barriers to joining in - price, finance, payment model, manufacturing  - so that others can follow us. Together, we can bring electricity to all 125 million African families that are currently without, by 2025 at the latest.

Our blueprint is to create local renewable energy enterprises, to build and sell ‘Made in Africa’ SHS, through an innovative business and partnership model that makes the systems affordable and accessible to the very poorest, most rural families. That’s how we maximise our social and environmental impact, while creating sustainable, profitable businesses that provide investors with a healthy return.

The locally built SHS system will be offered at a breakthrough price. That still won’t be enough to assure success. So for the first time anywhere, NOTS Solar Lamps Rwanda Ltd will bring together a microfinance model, automated credit checking (through mobile phone data) and cashless payments  into a single, streamlined offering. We’re testing all elements of the blueprint in Rwanda over 2019. We’re convinced it will be a game changer.

Our strategy

NOTS' vision is to provide all rural families in Sub Saharan Africa with access to solar electricity by 2025.

NOTS' mision is to improve the livelihoods of rural people in Sub-Saharan Africa through reliable, affordable ‘Made in Africa’ solar systems for domestic and productive use. We share what we learn - with other solar companies governments and agencies- in order to accelerate access to electricity across the the content.

NOTS’ strategy consists of 6 key elements:

  1. Focus on serving low income households
    The majority of the 600 million people in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) without access to electricity are part of a low income household. All elements of the NOTS business model are designed to serve these low income households in an effective and sustainable way.
  2. Superior ICT Systems
    NOTS will be the first company with an integrated ICT platform (credit assessment system; auto-withdrawal system; default rate management; and communications with prospects, clients, dealers and animators) geared towards providing low income households with a Solar Home Systems (SHS) on credit.
  3. Local brand and marketing– getting close to target households
    Lack of SHS awareness among target households is the biggest obstacle for SHS penetration. We’ve created a local SHS brand - Mutimax - and we’re co-branding with our partner Airtel. We will collaborate with Airtel to select prospects based on their client data, and run joint marketing campaigns.
  4. Sufficient capital in local currency to provide loans to consumers
    NOTS’ funding structure (with SPV for consumer loans; and issuing notes in local currency) will enable NOTS to attract capital from institutional investors and to avoid currency hedging costs.
  5. Partnership with Airtel
    NOTS builds on the already high penetration of mobile phones in SSA. A partnership with Airtel provides NOTS with: data for credit assessment; mobile banking infrastructure for repayment of loans; strong brand (co-branding); dense agent / distribution network; and free airtime and sms packages for promoting SHS and for stimulating good payment behaviour.
  6. Local manufacturing with strong partners
    • NOTS’ Chinese partner has 15 years experience in SHS for low income households, providing product design, component sourcing and expertise for setting up our assembly plant in Rwanda.

    • Positivo BGH is NOTS’ partner for local assembly, with strong presence in several SSA countries helping to drive scale.

Rwandan brand and marketing

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Organisation

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Our team

Bart HartmanNanette Farwerck-BergwerfBas MaassenRoland TaborMiguel StiefIssa KaramageSolange MutezintareAudace MucyoRitha MuhorakeyeDavid KubwimanaEric RahusenPaul Bijleveld