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An innovative social enterprise from the Imperial ecosystem is helping to deliver affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy to communities across Africa (SDG7).

Global access to electricity has been steadily rising in recent decades; yet some 840 million people around the world are still entirely without it and close to three billion rely primarily on inefficient and polluting cooking systems.

In 2008, three Imperial students established a charitable organisation called e.quinox. The charity, which is still going strong today, sees students creating and installing solar kiosks in remote villages in countries such as Tanzania and Rwanda, providing electricity to communities for the first time.

After graduating, the students decided to take the concept further and, in 2010, set up the company BBOXX. BBOXX provides solar installations in pay-as-you-go instalments, helping people in areas with very little energy infrastructure to gain access to local power and pay for it from an app on their smartphone.

BBOXX has installed around 270,000 home systems, of which 200,000 are monitored remotely by software using machine learning to track customers’ energy use and payments. In 2019, the company raised $50 million from Mitsubishi to expand their business, bringing off-grid energy to more homes in Africa. They also launched a new initiative, BBOXX Cook, to provide clean cooking services for both urban and rural areas through LPG and biogas solutions.

Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and Co-Founder of BBOXX, said: “Three billion people worldwide lack access to clean cooking solutions. We are steadfast in our mission to use technology to transform lives and unlock potential and BBOXX Cook is fundamental to helping meet UN Sustainable Development Goals.”