With either an unreliable grid or no grid at all, lack of power is a key difficulty for many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across Sub-Saharan Africa. In the cases of Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire, their location in the tropics provides them with an abundance of sunshine all year round. When SMEs have access to the correct tools such as solar-powered generators, they can use this amount of solar light to their advantage. From increased working hours and revenues to more flexibility, Lumos benefits SMEs in Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire.
Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa
In Nigeria, 43 million households have on average one entrepreneur per household. Furthermore, Lagos has over a million homes with over three million MSMEs, meaning that almost every family has an average of three entrepreneurs. Indeed, 22% of Africa’s working-age population are starting businesses, the highest entrepreneurship rate in the world. As a result, MSMEs accounted for 6.21% of gross exports and contributed 46.31% to the country’s GDP in 2021.
In Côte d’Ivoire, there are around 60,000 formal SMEs and nearly 150,000 informal businesses, making up over 20% of the GDP, 12% of national investment and employing around 23% of the working population. As such, SMEs actively participate in key sectors of the economy and contribute to approximately 30% of agricultural GDP and 20% of secondary sector GDP.
However, with an unreliable grid plaguing big cities and no power in many of the outskirts, many entrepreneurs across Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire are unable to be in control of certain aspects of their businesses including how many hours they work for, their revenue and the way they work. How does Lumos allow SMEs to reach their potential?
1. Increased Working Hours
With frequent power outages across entire towns and cities, and certain areas not even being connected to the grid, many entrepreneurs have no choice but to stop working when darkness falls. Lumos allows SMEs to pick their own hours and extend how long they work for everyday by providing reliable power. Ani S. in Nigeria commented that “Lumos has brought many changes to my business because before I used to close shop by 6pm but now I close between 10PM and 10:30PM”. Victor, who works in the health sector, noted that “In the past, we only received 3 hours of power from our generator, and it only powered the delivery room. With Lumos, the entire hospital is now lit up and we can use electricity all night”.
2. Increased Revenues
As a result of extending their working hours, SMEs are able to increase their revenues. Kohon, who runs a small hotel in Côte d’Ivoire, told us “Since I took Lumos, your technician made the installations and I have fans in the 7 rooms with my 2 batteries. I have a lot more money because with Lumos I have increased room prices and my customers are happy with the fans”.
Additionally, by being more affordable than a traditional fuel generator, SME owners are also able to make further cost savings with Lumos, leading to higher revenues. Onyema J. said that “Lumos lowers my power expenditure monthly” whilst Aleme O. noted that “Lumos has added value to my business compared to poor electricity supply”.
3. More Flexibility and Independence
With Lumos, SME owners have the option of opening and working when it suits them best. Indeed, by having reliable power, they can be reassured in knowing that they are in control of their business. Asemota F. commented “I am very grateful to have Lumos. My business is now flourishing without power failure”. For Irhivwoba R., “It has been really nice using Lumos. It has helped in making sure there is steady power in my office” whilst for Amaebiobari M. “When power is out at the hospital, we are stuck with rechargeable lamps that go off easily. With Lumos, it feels like having a stable grid”.
For these reasons, Lumos allows SMEs to reach their full potential and provides them with the tools they need to flourish. Indeed, many Lumos customers like Rosemary F. note that “Lumos is my best decision ever. For the past year, we've had no electricity in my area due to transformer issues. I've been spending money to buy fuel just to power my generator. Ever since I got Lumos, everything changed completely and I have an uninterrupted power supply”.