Did you know Goal Zero started from entrepreneurial efforts in Congo? Our founder, Robert Workman, helped local entrepreneurs in Congo and Swaziland start a construction, water purification, brick making, farming businesses, and even a portable salon through Tifie Humanitarian. And what is the common need for all of the above to be successful? Reliable and safe power and light – Goal Zero products were created out of a humanitarian heart and became a business we never expected.
The 1st trial in Swaziland was given to one of our promising entrepreneurs, a young man by the name of Bheki. His business model: a cell phone charging booth at his spaza shop. A spaza shop is an incredibly rudimentary roadside stand where very basic snacks and confectionaries are sold.
In the first month, Bheki charged 43 cell phones at a rate of 5 Emalangeni per charge (roughly $0.71/charge). He made roughly E215 ($30 USD). A nice boost to his profits and potentially good enough to payback the cost of the solar unit about a year, but not the stellar results we’d hoped for.
Bheki outside his spaza shop, charging cell phones
Enter the second month. With his strong entrepreneurial mind and portable power to execute his idea, Bheki took it upon himself to ditch the cell phone charging model and use the $30 extra profit to buy a pair of hair clippers, which he powered using the Escape 150. By the end of the month he had made E800 ($114 USD) cutting hair, and thanks to the Escape 150 solar kit he is the only mobile salon, well probably in all of Swaziland.
Its stories like these that remind us where we came from and why we are who we are today. Like our founder Robert workman always says, “when you do good, you get good.”
simple as that.