Social franchise in a box

In a world with no landline phones, mobile phones are a big part of life. But if there’s also no national
power grid, finding ways to charge those phones can become an even bigger part of life.


Another case study

Among the consequences are the fact that people choose phones according to battery life, passing on power-hungry smartphones and thus excluding themselves from the many smartphone benefits in an unwired world. They’re also often forced to make do without connectivity for long periods if they don’t find a charge source – which can make an already challenging life more challenging indeed.

To offer a simple, affordable solution… ideally one that’s more practical than taking a phone to a charging station – often a spaza shop with a generator – and waiting for it to power up.

The solar-powered, portable (less than 10kg) eChaja, which is both a mobile-charging solution and a scalable business opportunity.

An eChaja can be rented or bought by an individual vendor, and set up wherever the sun is shining. The vendor can then start charging up to six mobile phones simultaneously – and charging users for the service. It’s an instant source of income. The pack includes branded gear (apron and cap) for vendor visibility, colour-coded charging stations and “receipt” tokens, and other guidelines and safety nets.

While eChaja appears not to have defined a set of values, its role in helping people stay connected and generating opportunities for microentrepreneurs means it ticks the social franchising box.


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