It has been a busy 12 months for all of us here at Juabar. Since our last appearance in the blogosphere we have expanded our network of entrepreneurs to include 30 new charging businesses who regularly serve over 4000 unique customers. We have also grown our team to include Issa Kiruwa, Juabar agent extraordinaire in Morogoro, TZ, Geofrey Shayo our office administrator in Dar es Salaam and two new interns, Sam Lai and Arbogast Munishi.
One of the most exciting aspects of our growth over the past year has been the work of our network of entrepreneurs, or “Juapreneurs” who directly provide charging services in their communities. Lately one member of the Juapreneur team has brought to light a very special aspect of our work.
This November we did a special social media campaign to highlight our Juapreneur of the month, Martin Soka. Martin became part of Juabar through Issa Kiruwa, Juabar Morogoro agent, who works directly with our Juapreneurs. Martin was excited about the opportunity to provide mobile charging services to his community which is located about 30 minutes by car down a dirt road outside of the town of Ifakara, TZ. There is no electricity in the area and the demand for mobile phone charging is high.
On the evening when we went to install Martin’s solar kiosk and get him started with his charging business there was a small crowd of people mingling around in the center of town. About an hour after we had finished and were back in Ifakara town, we got a call from Martin to tell us that he already had 20 customers charging their phones and others waiting. Business was working out very well!!
A successful business for a Juapreneur earns between USD60 and USD160/month, after they pay their lease fee to operate the kiosk. This money is earned by providing vital charging services to over 200 people and their families. But success for Martin’s business and Juabar goes beyond the money that he earns and the charging services that he has been able to provide to his community.
Martin has become a leader amongst the network of Juapreneurs. During our regular trainings, which cover content from customer service to bookkeeping to basic Juabar technical operations, Martin has taken a formal role in sharing his knowledge with new Juapreneurs. Peer learning has been one of the most exciting and effective features of our trainings of late. Beyond sharing his knowledge, Martin has also brought another seven new Juapreneurs into our network in the past month alone.
Through team members like Martin Soka we are able to grow via word-of-mouth engagement and validate that our services are providing real value to the team of people who make up Juabar. Developing Juabar as not just a product, but as a service, which is driven by a network of engaged, creative Juapreneurs has been the intention of Juabar from inception and we are very excited to see this important aspect of Juabar becoming a reality.