Sameer Hajee is the co-founder of Nuru Energy, an international social enterprise that provides low power electricity and lighting solutions specifically to the 1 billion people in developing countries that are disconnected from the electricity grid and who live below the poverty line.
Sameer has received numerous personal awards for his work including the McMaster University Arch Award for Outstanding Young Alumni, Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Africa by the Schwab Foundation/World Economic Forum and the INSEAD Alumni Force for Good Award.
Sameer has a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from McMaster University in Canada and a MBA from INSEAD, one of the world’s leading business schools, where he is currently an Entrepreneur-in Residence.
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Nuru Energy Group
Nuru Energy Group co-created a unique off-grid recharging platform that uses human power to recharge both Nuru Energy’s portable LED Lights as well as other low-power devices, such as radios and mobile phones. The technology consists of the Nuru Light and the Nuru POWERCycle. The Nuru Light is a portable, rechargeable LED Light, many times brighter than the light produced by a typical kerosene lamp. The Nuru Light gives up to 26 hours of light with a full recharge and is 1/6th the cost of kerosene to recharge, making it easy for customers to switch from kerosene.
The Nuru Light is recharged using the world’s first commercially-available pedal generator: The Nuru POWERCycle. With minimal human exertion (approx. one rotation per second), up to 5 Nuru Lights are recharged simultaneously in less than 20 minutes. The POWERCycle is 375 times more efficient than most solar panels, producing 375 minutes of light per minute of gentle pedalling. Because it is human-powered, the POWERCycle is not affected by unpredictable weather patterns and can therefore recharge products anytime, anywhere.
Nuru Energy deploys its innovative technology via a network of micro-franchises operated by village level entrepreneurs (VLEs), who sell Nuru Lights and then provide recharging services for a small fee using the Nuru POWERCycle. Nuru Energy identifies, selects, and trains VLEs from local cooperatives who, once trained, receive a loan of 50 Lights from one of Nuru Light’s microfinance partners. Customers then buy the Nuru Lights from the VLEs and return to them for recharging approximately every 7 days. With just the light to purchase at $6.25, and with the option to buy in instalments, even the poorest of the poor can afford safe, reliable, and user-friendly lighting. At the current recharge price of $0.17, customers spend 85% less than they did previously on kerosene.