In Africa, approximately 600 million people still do not have access to electricity. This is a real obstacle to the socio-economic development of these countries. Benoo Energies develops innovative solutions to provide access to energy and value-added services in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Benoo aims to promote access to sustainable energy in sub-Saharan African countries. The start-up, created in 2015, develops and markets solar energy recovery units for rural entrepreneurs. These energy access points called “energy agencies” offer a range of services in rural areas.
The energy agency concept is based on three components: 1. a connected solar kiosk, installed in the village, to sell services to villagers 2. A rural entrepreneur, manager of the energy agency, equipped with a mobile application to manage and sustain his activity. 3. the collection and analysis of all data to provide decision support tools for larger-scale rural electrification projects.
Benoo’s particularity also lies in its business model. The entrepreneur can either rent or buy the development tool. The monthly payments are calculated according to the generated turnover and Benoo ensures the general good functioning of the services. The agencies are physical entities, autonomous in energy and equipped with the necessary devices for the services sold (refrigeration/freezing, photocopying, recharge, television….). The offer evolves according to the needs of the villagers. Via the Benoo application, entrepreneurs can manage their sales and supply, but also carry out market and satisfaction studies. The start-up provides training to entrepreneurs and project managers so that they can perform their tasks efficiently.
Benoo has thus created a new business for rural Africa: energy entrepreneur, which in the opinion of the founders, is a profitable activity that provides a lever for socio-economic development.
Benoo has 6 people at its headquarters in Bordeaux and 3 in Togo. It is a multidisciplinary team that covers four main areas of expertise: the socio-economic approach of rural areas, solar energy engineering, digital engineering and financial engineering.
Bubacar Diallo, the founder, began his career in the banking sector. He wanted to invest in a meaningful project that would meet a major need on the African continent and allow for strong socio-economic development. Vincent Renaud, co-founder, has a strong experience in project management in Africa and wanted to join this innovative project for rural development.
Benoo began its activities with a pilot project in Togo. At present, the start-up is in a phase of deploying branches and training entrepreneurs in Togo and Burkina. The start-up works mainly with 4 client partners, NGOs specialized in the development of value chains in rural areas. Several other partnerships are being negotiated.
The company plans to be present in 9 countries by 2020 and to deploy more than 1000 branches by 2022. The goal is to provide sufficient energy for services that will diversify. This implies offering several ranges of branches, but also providing solutions to existing businesses such as agricultural processing cooperatives. The call is therefore launched to structures linked to rural entrepreneurs, companies and processing cooperatives whose need for energy is a brake on development.