Monday, 26 September 2011

Charles Pepinster joined BBOXX as Director of Environmental and Social Balance

BBOXX partners used to work with Mr Pepinster, a former employee of the BelgianTechnical Cooperation in Rwanda working in the Rural Energy Sector, when running e.quinox at Imperial College. Mr Pepinster is joining BBOXX as the Director of Environmental and Social Belance to help us boost our social responsibility image and minimise the impact of our operations on the environment.
Mr Pepinster first task will be to develop a business plan to launch a lead recycling plan in Rwanda to efficiently recycle the lead batteries in the East African community in a profitable manner. BBOXX is spreading a large number of lead-acid batteries which are essential for the operation its off-grid solar systems. Lead batteries are very toxic to the environment if improperly disposed but are 95% recyclable if collected and treated correctly. The price of lead has tripled since 2007 and is expected to increase in the coming years which makes lead recycling a very attractive opportunity for investors on top of giving a strong social image. 
Mr Pepinster will be in Kigali until December and will also help manage BBOXX's operations in the region.

Mr Pepinster in rural Rwanda carrying out socio-economic surveys which were crucial to the proper product development and pricing structure of our solar solutions in East Africa.

BBOXX Congo launches its active distribution and marketing strategies

BBOXX Congo launched its radio and TV ads to notify the population of its creation and of the products offered in Goma. Most people in Congo have very little knowledge about solar technology and BBOXX Congo is working hard to explain and spread the benefits and limitations of its solar kits and of solar energy in general.
Sales have picked up rapidly and many people are coming to BBOXX Congo shop to enquire about the functionality and the prices for its products. BBOXX Congo has already signed its first distribution contract and its technicians are actively training the distributor’s salesmen. BBOXX Congo hopes to expand its distribution network by promoting its attractive distribution model which involves technical training, marketing material and financial mechanisms to help people open a BBOXX shop in the Kivu region. 

BBOXX Congo staffs setting up a display shelf at one of their distributors.

BBOXX partner, Mr van Goethem, at the back of BBOXX Congo pickup marketing our solar kits in Goma.

BBOXX Congo shop full of products and ready for action.

Arrival of BBOXX Congo container in Goma

After two weeks of negotiations with Congolese customs, BBOXX Congo’s container finally arrived at our shop after travelling 10,000 km by boat and then 2,000 km by truck. There was no damages and BBOXX Congo partners carefully managed the offloading in our warehouse in Goma.

Container offloading.

BBOXX Congo warehouse.

BBOXX Congo meets BBOXX Rwanda

BBOXX Rwanda’s partners, Mr Mucyo and Mr Udahemuka, came to Goma to meet BBOXX Congo’ staffs and partners and most importantly to share their past experience in distributing and marketing BBOXX solar products in Rwanda. BBOXX Rwanda and BBOXX Congo hope to collaborate in the future to manage effectively the supply of BBOXX products in the region and also share their experience and strengths to optimise BBOXX’s operations in East Africa. 

BBOXX Rwanda partners with BBOXX Congo staffs

BBOXX Rwanda partners, Mr Mucyo and Mr Udahemuka, meeting with BBOXX partners, Mr Van Houcke and Mr Van Goethem, in Goma

Saturday, 3 September 2011

San Francisco Conference Report

BBOXX participated in the recent IEEE sections congress from the 19th to the 22nd of August 2011, showcasing their work to help electrify developing countries with their off-grid solar systems.

BBOXX partner Chris Baker-Brian was invited in his capacity as a member of the IEEE Ad-Hoc Committee on Humanitarian Activities to present a case study on BBOXX's work in Rwanda, Congo and Pakistan and the importance of both rural electrification and the voluenteers required to implement charitable projects in such countries.

The presentation highlighted the importance of not only technical solutions to tackling such humanitarian challenges, but also the social, financial and cultural challenges that form an equally important part of trying to electrify some of the worlds poorest communities.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

BBOXX Video: Learn more about what we do!

Get to know more about BBOXX, our background and what we do by clicking on the video below:

Monday, 15 August 2011

BBOXX RD Congo office ready and their staffs are eagerly waiting for the container to arrive

BBOXX RD Congo's container is in Kampala and should reach Goma by the end of the week. After the tricky business of clearing it at customs, their impatient customers and distributors will finally be able to come to their modern office to buy their stock and start spreading BBOXX solar kits and accessories across the North Kivu.
BBOXX RD Congo office getting ready for the container.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

BBOXX RD Congo staffs in the field repairing their first backup systems in Goma

BBOXX RD Congo staff dismantling a broken UPS.
BBOXX Congo staffs started repairing defective backup systems around Goma. Throughout this task they realised the large demand for good quality deep-cycle storage batteries and controllers which are often the weakest links of many power backup systems in Congo. Those systems often made in China or India have a very short lifespan here because of the dusty and polluted air conditions and also the lack of trained technicians to size and program them properly.
BBOXX RD Congo technicians testing some circuit boards.

Monday, 8 August 2011

BBOXX RD Congo office by night is creating the buzz in Goma

BBOXX RD Congo just opened its new office in Goma which can be seen from far away with its new lighting display.

BBOXX RD Congo office by night.

BBOXX testing its products under the toughest conditions

BBOXX's partners, Mr van Goethem and Mr Van Houcke, climbed the Nyiragongo volcano in the Virgunga Park which destroyed part of Goma in 2002. It has the largest lava lake in the world at around 3,400 meters above sea level.

As part of their trip, they took one of their battery boxes that they used for lighting while spending the night next the crater with the temperature falling below 5 degree Celsius.  
Mr van Goethem and Mr Van Houcke at the top of Mount Nyiragongo

BB7 battery box on the edge of the volcano's crater

Thursday, 4 August 2011

BBOXX RD Congo office in action

BBOXX RD Congo has opened its new office this week in Goma and their staffs are being trained by BBOXX UK’s partner, Mr Van Houcke and Mr van Goethem. BBOXX RD Congo is preparing its marketing campaign and developing its distribution network in the Kivu region before the container arrives next week. They expect a good response to their products in the Kivu Region where 90% of the population doesn’t have access to electricity and even the 10% that do have to rely on diesel generators during the numerous power outages.
BBOXX RD Congo office in Goma.
BBOXX UK, Mr van Goethem, giving a training session on BBOXX solar products in Goma
BBOXX RD Congo office is located on the 2nd floor of Ihuzi building in Goma. Its office has been very busy this week with many curious customers coming to enquire about our products and the different solar systems we can do. Our solar home entertainment kit is expected to be a good seller!  
First interested customers come to BBOXX RD Congo office.
BBOXX RD Congo manager, Mr Kaba, and BBOXX UK partner, Mr Van Houcke, meeting their distributors in Goma.
BBOXX's solar home entertainment kit.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The launch of BBOXX RD Congo

BBOXX’s partners, Mr van Goethem and Mr Van Houcke, have arrived in Goma to support their Congolese partners with the launch of BBOXX RD Congo.
BBOXX's Partner, Mr Van Houcke, at the Congo-Rwanda border.
They had their first partners' meeting on the 30th of July during which they opened their new office and shop located on Avenue Bishweka in Goma.

BBOXX RD Congo first partners meeting in Goma.
BBOXX RD Congo is currently building its distribution network in the Kivu region and its first container is arriving mid-August in Goma. BBOXX RD Congo aim is to offer a wide range of quality solar products from small scale solar systems below 100W to large scale off-grid or backup systems .

BBOXX at the 2011 Kigali EXPO

BBOXX has a stand for the second year in a row at the Kigali East African EXPO which gathers many players from a wide variety of industries in East Africa. BBOXX is presenting its new diversified product range and analysing the market response to its new solar products. One of the unique products that they are launching this summer is a low-power TV that can run for several hours per day on their different solar kits. Rwanda has around 90% TV coverage and their TV has an antenna with an integrated decoder allowing people in remote regions to watch the news. They hope this will be a big seller!
BBOXX's stand at Kigali EXPO
BBOXX stand in action
BBOXX aims to make its offices in Kigali the headquarters for its East African operations and they have already started to export products to Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda. BBOXX’s partner, Mr van Goethem and Mr Van Houcke, will be in Rwanda for two months preparing the framework and distribution networks required to expand BBOXX’s operations in the region. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

BBOXX Launches its Innovative Energy Products into Pakistan

BBOXX is pleased to announce the launch of operations in Pakistan this month, the third market we have entered into in under a year. BBOXX’s innovative and affordable BB5, now improved to include both DC and AC outputs, is designed to help combat the four or more hours of power cuts per day in the main Pakistani cities such as Karachi and Lahore. In addition, the product can be integrated with our specialised solar panel and used in more remote areas to deliver grid style electricity to rural households.

BBOXX undertaking market research with the local population

BBOXX’s operations in the country are being led by Director Aamir Bhagani and supported by partner Mansoor Hamayun. Initial feedback has been extremely positive and the whole BBOXX team is extremely excited to see the development of our operations in the country over the coming months.

The first BBOXX products successfully arrive in Pakistan, a demonstration of our global distribution capability

BBOXX Director of Pakistan Operation Aamir Bhagani with BBOXX Partner Mansoor Hamayun

Saturday, 23 April 2011

BBOXX launches global production line in China

BBOXX expanded its operations in China today with the launch of a production line to assembly its flagship BB5 product. BBOXX is now able to serve its customers in a wider range of countries around the world and will be able to provide high quality off-grid and rural energy products at competitive prices for its main markets in Africa and Asia. The production process will be overseen by Victor Wong, BBOXX Partner and Director of Chinese Operations, who has over 25 years experience in manufacturing in the country. BBOXX will be using our new Chinese base to initially supply products to Rwanda, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo over the next two months.

BBOXX's solar panel assembly line in China.

BBOXX's BB5 assembly line.
BBOXX's global warehouse.
BBOXX's solar panel testing facility.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

BBOXX agrees a deal to launch operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo

BBOXX today (16th March) agreed a deal to launch operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo in June/July 2011. The deal will see a BBOXX branded shop opening in Goma, DRC to sell our products and associated solar equipment to the local population. BBOXX is extremely excited to enter this new market in colloboration with experienced local investors from the DRC and Belgium.
BBOXX founding partners Mansoor Hamayun, Laurent Van Houcke and Christopher Baker-Brian completing the deal with local investor Eric de Lamotte.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

BBOXX was nominated for the 2011 INDEX award

INDEX: works globally to promote and apply both design and design processes that have the capacity to improve the lives of people worldwide.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

ClearlySo Investment Speed Dating

ClearlySo is the online marketplace for social business, social enterprise, and social investment. ClearlySo answers the practical needs of social businesses and enterprises. They introduce them to investors, product & service vendors - and each other. BBOXX will be attending their Investment Speed Dating event in London on  16th of March to pitch their Container Financing Scheme to more than ten renowned social investors. This scheme is used to give us the required working capital to manufacture and distribute 2,000 of our portable energy solutions in East Africa while giving investors a high yield ethical opportunity with a strong social return on investment.