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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Boosting Impact at the Base of the Pyramid: Enhancing the Uptake of Sustainable Energy
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2884/a5ed6433ddeb12b250e56ef0209a2c1f2f9b.pdf
Abstract
Adoption of existing green solutions at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) remains a challenge due to the expensive
upfront investments, the lack of infrastructure in remote areas, but also due to a lack of awareness and trust in new
technologies, and due to the lack of technical knowledge and skills for the upkeep of those innovative products.
Social and environmental small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) offer one concrete means of addressing
these issues, primarily because they are specialists in understanding local challenges and needs and with their
extended local networks have the ability to reach the last-mile beneficiaries. By introducing new products, services
and models that serve social needs and create new social relationships, they are able to maximise the uptake of
green solutions in the long term.
While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to clean energy distribution or adoption, the paper looks at the case of
Solar Sister in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria, to highlight how SMMEs can introduce innovative social structures
through a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach.
Through their unique women-to-women network and dedicated women empowerment, the enterprise offers a wide
range of high quality clean energy products with a long life-cycle, and has created an innovative value chain that
works for those at the base of the pyramid by positioning themselves close to their markets, tailoring innovation to
social needs, mitigating high costs through micro-entrepreneurship and by growing networks and expertise
through multi-stakeholder partnerships. Subsequently, they have increased local awareness, trust and ownership in
the innovative products, and succeeded in large scale dissemination of the new technologies at the BoP.

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