You may remember the popular hit “we are the world”- the 1985 fundraising campaign that raised over 63 million dollars towards developing Africa. We have come a long way since the 80’s; New business models are striving not only to raise donations, but to achieve respectable financial profits alongside social impact. Sounds impossible? One leading company that’s lighting up Africa (Literally) can show you how it’s done. Meet Ignite Power.
Ignite’s story begins in 2013, with 43 years-old Yariv Cohen, London Business School graduate and CEO of ‘Camco’, a renewable energy company. During one of his business trips, Yariv was faced with one of the greatest challenges of the Rwandan government- connecting Rwandans to electricity.
Rwandan is not alone- according to the IEA (The International Energy Agency), 13% of the global population lives without electricity. The UN even announced this challenge as one of its prime goals for the next decade (to be elaborated shortly). Cohen turned to a colleague- Angela Homsi, and together with their first investor Seth Merrin, Ignite Power was founded. Six years later the company has connected over 1 million people in Africa to electricity, setting a positive precedent for more impact investments.
Ignite now works in five countries in Africa, including Mozambique where Ignite will be supplying electricity to 1.8 million citizens over the next three years for 48 million dollars in cooperation with the government.
Ignite’s story is a leading example of the unique art of creating a sustainable, profitable business model that embeds a structured social impact at its’ core.