ToughStuff has launched a 1 million dollar Solar Distribution Innovation Facility (SDIF), co-funded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), to accelerate adoption of solar energy in Eastern Africa.
The facility will aim to provide a sustainable financing mechanism for distributors, wholesalers and retailers enabling them to better stock up and to sell ToughStuff solar lighting products in the region.
According to Toughstuff, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often cite lack of working capital as a bottleneck to purchasing solar lighting products in meaningful quantities, which frustrates distributors’ own business objectives, and consumers.
The Solar Distribution Innovation Facility (SDIF) will address these financing bottlenecks, which should improve local business capability and the affordability of solar lamps.
The Facility will be a revolving capital fund, providing eligible organizations with credit, loans, and guarantees. The facility seeks to finance organizations (SMEs, NGOs, CBOs, and MFIs) with credible business modes for scaled distribution of ToughStuff products.
Andrew Tanswell, CEO and co-Founder of ToughStuff says: “Being able to provide working capital support for entrepreneurial businesses in Africa is a very positive and exciting step forwards. If we can work with investors to build the capacity of this fund, then the social and environmental impact will be leveraged even further.”
Poor energy access is one of the key factors stifling development in East Africa. It compels communities without electricity to spend up to 25% of their income on increasingly expensive and dangerous kerosene, says Mr Tanswell.