Meet an entrepreneur

“Becoming a Nuru Energy entrepreneur was the best decision I ever made.  I earn more money in an hour a day than I used to make in a week!”

Name: Jean Hakizimana
Location: Mayange, Rwanda
Age: 45
Family: Wife, 2 children
Start Date: January 15, 2010
Light sold: 150
Funding amount: $150
Source of funding: Nuru Energy
Monthly profit: $55
Profit per hour: $3
Total profit: $1,350
Biggest impact: “I can afford to send my children to school”

From the mouth of the entrepreneur:

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How did you hear about the opportunity to become a Nuru Energy entrepreneur?
I was a member of a local cooperative and a Nuru Energy representative came and told us about the idea.

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How has becoming a Nuru Energy entrepreneur changed your life?
I am so grateful that Nuru Energy has made me an entrepreneur.  Before it was very hard to pay for school fees and my family did not eat good food.  Now I have extra money to buy my kids’ school fees and I can feed them healthy meals.  Also, my house was falling apart.  The foundation was crumbling and it was very dark.  With the money from Nuru, I was able to fix the foundation and I put in glass windows, so now it is very bright.

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Would you recommend others to become entrepreneurs?
Absolutely!  I only work one or two hours a day, but I earn so much money.  It is really wonderful.

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Do people in the community like the lights?
People in the community love the lights.  I am so happy to make my village a better place.

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What do people like most about the Nuru Light?
Kerosene used to make bad smoke and it was very bad for the children.  Now the kids do not have to breath the bad fumes and everybody is healthier.

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Is there anything else your would like to say?
I want to say thank you to Nuru Energy for coming to Rwanda.  You have made our community a better place and really improved my life.  Before it was very hard at night, but now we have light to see!  Life is so much better.

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2010 Global Social Enterprise Competition - Grand Prize

Run by the Foster School of Business, the Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC) is a leading international social venture plan competition, where teams from around the world propose creative, commercially viable business plans aimed at reducing poverty in the developing world.

2010 MIT Clean Energy Prize (Semi-Finalist)

MIT Clean Energy Prize (CEP) is organized and run by students enrolled in MIT’s science and engineering schools as well as those from MIT Sloan School of Management. It works in partnership with MIT’s $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. 

2010 St. Andrews Prize for the Environment (Finalist)

Following a record 302 entries from 73 countries, Nuru Energy was chosen as one of three finalists. The prize, a joint environmental initiative by the University of St Andrews in Scotland and the international integrated energy company ConocoPhillips, aims to find practical solutions to environmental challenges from around the globe.

2010 Tulane Business Plan Competition - Grand Prize

The competition, organized by students at Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business, is the only competition in the US dedicated to the principles of conscious capitalism, which emphasizes the importance for businesses to positively affect all stakeholders and the communities in which they operate.

2010 UNDP/ICC/IBLF World Business and Development Award

The World Business and Development Award showcases the global best practices by businesses who apply their inclusive business expertise to the worldwide efforts to end poverty.  There were 10 winning companies from 172 nominations from 42 countries.

2010 UNEP Sasakawa Prize

United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP)

2010 Villgro Award (Runner-up)

The Villgro Awards recognize outstanding individuals, enterprises and institutions in the Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship eco-system, for their contribution in effecting a sustainable change in society.

2010 WJF Socially Responsible Business Plan Competition - Grand Prize

The William James Foundation (WJF), through its annual Socially Responsible Business Plan competition, seeks to identify, support, and reward the best new ideas in sustainable business.

2011 CIO100 PlusOne Award - Energy, Oil & Gas

The 2nd annual CIO 100 Awards celebrate 100 organizations (and the people within them) that are using information technology in innovative ways to deliver business value, whether by creating competitive advantage, optimizing business processes, enabling growth or improving relationships with customers.

8th REEEP Programme Cycle Grant

The goal of the Renewable and Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) is to accelerate the overall global market for renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. With funding from the Governments of the United Kingdom and Norway, REEEP is helping Nuru Energy expand its operations in India.

Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) is a US$120m private sector fund, backed by some of the biggest names in development finance and hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). AECF is providing capital to help Nuru Energy scale its initiative in East Africa. 

Atmosfair India Renewable Energy Award

The Atmosfair Award recognizes projects that are significantly reducing greenhouse gases in India, enhancing the quality of life of people in the project area and providing opportunities for economically viable, locally-run businesses.

eBay/Ashoka Powering Economic Opportunity Award

Nuru Energy was selected as one of five winners from nearly 900 entries from 83 countries.  The winners represent some of the world’s most innovative market-based solutions that are creating economic opportunity and generating employment for disadvantaged populations.

FT/IFC Sustainable Finance Award

The FT/IFC Sustainable Finance Awards, the major global awards for environmentally and socially responsible banking and investment, recognized Bank of America Merrill Lynch (and Nuru Energy) with a Special Commendation in the category of Achievement in Financing at the Base of the Pyramid.

Junior Chamber International (JCI) Award

Junior Chamber International (JCI) Rwanda, in partnership with the National University of Rwanda through the support of two Dutch organizations BiD Network and Spark, launched the Terimbere , a business plan competition to stimulate growth of the Small and Medium Entreprise (SME) sector in Rwanda.