Katherine Lucey is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Solar Sister, an innovative last mile distribution solution for clean energy technologies in rural Africa that taps into the power of women entrepreneurs. Katherine is an Ashoka Fellow and a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Entrepreneur. She has received recognition and awards for her work with Solar Sister including Clinton Global Initiative, Social Venture Network, C3E and International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) Champion of Change Award. She holds an M.B.A. from Georgia State University and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. Prior to becoming a social entrepreneur, Katherine spent over 20 years as an investment banker on Wall Street providing structured finance solutions to the energy sector.
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- Solar Sister
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- Hybrid Social Enterprise
- Climate Change; Sustainable Development; Entrepreneurship
- Areas of Impact
- North America, Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania
Solar Sister recruits, trains and mentors women to build sustainable businesses selling portable solar lamps, mobile phone chargers and clean cookstoves. It combines the breakthrough potential of clean energy technologies with a network of grassroots women entrepreneurs. Solar Sister entrepreneurs use their social networks to provide the most effective distribution channel to rural and hard to reach customers.
Modern energy has life-transforming benefits, such as improved education for children, better indoor air quality for families, and improved economic well-being for women. The core business of Solar Sister is sales and distribution, which generates a steady and growing income stream. At the individual level, each Solar Sister entrepreneur is empowered to create a financially self-sustaining business. The cost of the establishment, support and training and ongoing management of the Solar Sister network is an investment in the long-term income opportunity. Growth and capacity building financed from donor support and grants are helping establish a base of operations that will, at scale and in the longer term, generate sufficient income from the sale of clean energy products to finance operations. Since 2009, more than 3,000 Solar Sister Entrepreneurs have brought light, hope and opportunity to over 1 million people in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria.