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Shiriki Hub solar kiosk.

ARED developed a business in a box solar kiosk to empower mostly women and person with disabilities using a franchise business model.

Photo of henri Nyakarundi
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What problem does your idea solve?

One of the biggest challenge in East Africa is the unemployment rate that is affected low income people more than any other group. Unemployment rate is even hire among people with disabilities, very few programs are developed to assist them. Unfortunately, with urbanization growing so fast, entrepreneurship has been viewed as the only way to solve this issue. However, entrepreneurship requires knowledge, access to capital, training and consistent support.

Explain your idea

ARED is a hard-tech as a service company (HAAS). We developed a business in a box solar kiosk, app and software platform that can empower mostly women and people with disability using a micro franchise business model. We offer key services on the kiosk such as internet WIFI, intranet solution for offline users and charging phone and with our app we offer additional services such as airtime, mobile money, prepaid electricity, tax payment to create a one stop shop center for our customers and finally on the intranet network we offer branding capabilities for companies, collection of data, analytics… We sale a business in a box solar kiosk combine with our apps to fight the unemployment issue in Africa using a micro franchise business model. Our business in a box is low cost, the individual pay on average a one time fee 30$ to buy the micro franchise business and we lease the kiosk for free. We offer a 3 day training program for the micro franchisee to maximize income on the kiosk. We sell virtual top ups services on the kiosk using our apps system. We also offer internet access but also free intranet access via WIFI. Our intranet system allow us to store content on the kiosk and distribute that content via WIFI such as educational, health content and others.... We share the revenue of the VTU with the micro franchisees but we also offer advertisement or survey capabilities on our WIFI network.

Who benefits?

We developed a specific program for people with disabilities to give them an alternative into micro entrepreneurship. We have discounted the micro franchise fee to $10. That fee include training, support, access to a solar kiosk and start up capital for the business. We estimated that will have around 4000 to 5000 solar kiosks in Uganda and Rwanda, that translated to the creation of 4000 to 5000 micro entrepreneurs. Our target is to reserve at least 10% of franchisees to people with disability.

How is your idea unique?

We have develop a real inclusive business at the base of the pyramid that allow anyone to plug in to our program, get a training and enjoy a strong revenue stream from the different services we offer at a extremely low franchisee fee that vary between 10 to 50$ per micro franchisees. any person with disability pays $10, women pay 20$ and the rest pay the equivalent of 50$. We are the only platform that offer all the services from this hub, which brings efficiency to the end users. Now they can purchase all their services without having to go long distance. Our franchisees average between $100 to $150 net revenue per month, which is twice the per capita income in Rwanda. The micro-franchisees benefit from having minimal overhead since the kiosks are 100% powered by solar panels and their mobility minimizes any need for infrastructure to be built. People with disabilities are the most hit when it comes to unemployment, our solution can minimize that challenge.

Tell us more about you

We registered social impact enterprises in Rwanda since 2013. It all started in 2009 from a trip I took to Burundi, I was noticing amazing changes: People all over the place were carrying cell phones and smart phones but access to reliable power was a big issue. So, I came up with the concept of a solar kiosk to bring easy access for charging to the people. The first prototype was built in 2013, and we launched our first kiosk in march 2013 at Nyabugogo to test the model.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Well we need to prove that our business can be duplicated in other market so we can continue our social impact. innovation especially in hardware is extremely challenging, and we want to make sure we continue improving the technology while expansion. Running out of fund before we are We have to reach to at least 150 solar kiosks to break even. We are still working on strengthening the team and bringing more partners on board to help us with our vision.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Rwanda
  • Uganda

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are a registered for-profit company (including social enterprises).

Idea Maturity

  • Early Growth/Roll-out/Scaling: I have completed a pilot and am ready or in the process of expanding.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Henri,

Thank you contributing to the Challenge!

Can you share a little more about how your product specifically meets the needs of people with disabilities in your community?

Don't forget to add clarifying information, like links to your website and if you haven't done so make sure to check out the Challenge Brief: + the Evaluation Criteria:

You might also consider looking at the BridgeBuilder Challenge:

Photo of henri Nyakarundi

Unemployment among people with disabilities is extremely high, in East africa there is very few programs that assist in income generating solutions for person with disabilities. Our business in a box solution was develop to facilitate people in general to start a business using our kiosk technology and transfer of knowledge. Since access to capital for people with disabilities our micro franchise fee was lowered to only $10 for anyone that has some type of disabilities. Our solution is unique because they can generate revenue from day one from charging phones, sales of electronic vouchers, internet access and more. I hope that answer your question

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Thanks Henri!

This is helpful information, since this Challenge is all about finding ways to increase opportunities for people with disabilities, I recommend including this information into your submission.

Can you also focus your content on how you are reaching communities with disabilities and designing for/with communities with disabilities?

If you have any questions, please do reach out to me using '@' and typing in my name.

Photo of henri Nyakarundi


Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Henri, thanks for your thoughtful responses!

Photo of henri Nyakarundi

thanks for the feedback