Social Entrepreneurship Model

The social entrepreneurship model is a model under which the lamps are sold by non-profit organizations on the ground to locals at a price that meets their needs.  This price can be either with a margin for the distributing organization or through subsidized means (net loss).  The remaining and leftover funds are put into a revolving fund to help administer the program and purchase more lamps for additional families.  This type of model varies depending upon location in the world, but a general picture is as follows:

  • An NGO, school, government office or place of worship (referred to as an “organization”) which has a continuous and long-term representation within a local area partners with the Bright New Ideas solar lamp program.  This organization is typically in a town or semi-urban area with access to high-speed internet and modern communication methods.
  • This entire program starts out small with a quantity of 500- 1000 lamps and scales up as appropriate.  The organization will order extra supplies in order to assist in troubleshooting, manufacture or warranty programs.  These supplies may include tools, a webcam for troubleshooting, extra batteries and extra parts.
  • Three or four representatives are employed by the organization working for a for a population of anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000.  More representatives may be required for different linguistic backgrounds, which is an issue in many regions of the world.
  • The representatives are trained in the functionality, operation, installation and repair of the solar lamps.
  • The representatives typically take sample lamps to show to people in the countryside.  These demonstrations tend to be comprehensive – including both operation, care and proper installation instructions even before any transaction has occurred.  Representatives outline the terms and pricing of the solar lamp in order to set up expectations of the project.  This includes price, maintenance fees, warranty, and instructions for non-functioning or damaged lamps and battery disposal and return.
  • Local beneficiaries at this time may sign up to buy or rent the lamps.
  • Beneficiaries are responsible for coming into the organization office to pick up and purchase their lamp.  Each lamp is marked with a specific serial number and the representatives track the family name, ID number and location of each community member associated with each serial number.  If possible the representative takes a picture of the beneficiary with the lamp.  The representative ensures that all beneficiaries have proper instruction to install the solar panel in a proper location where it will have access to sunlight.
  • Serial number, location and family information is mapped to the Bright New Ideas online database as specified in our tracking page.
  • Beneficiaries are responsible for bringing non-functioning or damaged solar lamps back to the organization’s headquarters in the town or city for repair or replacement.  Warranty is offered within a limited time period under certain conditions depending upon the partner organizations’ needs.  Solar Lamp representatives mark down notes describing problems for each lamp by serial number, which are entered into the Bright New Ideas database.  The representative uses their training to attempt to troubleshoot lamps in the field – for example if a lamp is not charging sufficiently the problem may be that a solar panel is dirty or has been moved.
  • For lamps that are not operational, portions of the lamps may be fixed or replaced for a fee depending upon the severity of the problem.
  • For lamps that are not able to be fixed by local technicians, Bright New Ideas representatives abroad can enter video internet conferencing with the local representatives to attempt to further diagnose complex problems.
  • Further parts and materials can be ordered as needed along with future shipments for lamps which are still valid.
  • To reduce waste and keep an eye on environmental concerns, batteries may be tracked by serial number as well and a given family may return their own battery upon the end of use (after approximately two years) for proper disposal, receiving money back for their return.