ARED, the Rwanda based Platform as a Service start-up known for its ‘Smart Business in a Box’ solar powered kiosks, has set up 10 such kiosks with 10 women micro franchisees; thereby marking its expansion into its first international market – Uganda.
The solar kiosks known as the Shiriki Hubs are run by women and differently abled individuals on a micro-franchisee model. These have been set up in Kampala as well as in the refugee camps of Arua district through which citizens belonging to lower income groups can charge their mobile devices, buy air-time and WiFi connectivity for accessing the internet, make digital payments, besides availing a host of other intranet services offline.
This expansion into Uganda was funded by US-based impact investor Gray Matters Capital under its gender lens sector agnostic portfolio – coLABS in July 2017.
With its funding mandate met after piloting in Uganda for a little more than a year, and achieving impact with 48 kiosks is Rwanda – of which 41 are run by women and 2 by people with disabilities; ARED is now aiming to have 100 micro franchisees serving around 3000 customers a month by 2020 with this market expansion.
The start-up presently provides digital services and meets the connectivity needs of 55,000 customers in Rwanda and Uganda, using its solar powered kiosks.