Job Creation and Energy Savings through a Transition to Modern Off-grid Lighting

Job Creation and Energy Savings through a Transition to Modern Off-grid Lighting

Why are job creation and access to clean energy so important to us here at Business Connect?


Protable Solar Generator – 250whrA market transformation from inefficient and polluting fuel-based lighting to solar-LED systems is well underway across the developing world, but the extent of net job creation has not previously been defined. An article written by Evan Mills from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California/Berkeley, Job Creation and Energy Savings through a Transition to Modern Off-grid Lighting, finds that current worldwide employment associated with fuel-based lighting represents approximately 150,000 jobs.

New jobs will accompany the replacement technologies. A survey of major solar-LED lighting companies finds that 38 such jobs are created for each 10,000 people living off-grid for whom stand-alone solar-LED lights are suitable. Applying this metric, the number of new jobs already created from the current uptake of solar-LED lighting has matched that of fuel-based lighting and foreshadows the potential creation of 2 million new jobs to fully serve the 112 million households globally that currently lack electricity access, are unlikely to be connected to the major grid, micro-grids, or are able to afford more extensive solar systems.

A likely greater number of additional jobs and employment income will be indirectly created or preserved via indirect employment, re-spending of energy savings, conservation of foreign exchange, enhanced literacy, and improved working conditions. In contrast, central grid expansion is unlikely to provide any net increase in jobs. The case of solar-LED lighting demonstrates that policymakers have tools to increase the pace of in-country job creation in the context of sustainable development, while minimizing job displacement, and improving the quality of employment. These tools include stimuli for domestic manufacturing or assembly of products; supporting peripheral businesses and services, such as training, recycling, financing, and impact assessment; and removing market barriers that slow the uptake of emerging technologies.

This might be more information than you need to know but it solidifies the reasons why we are focusing on creating employment opportunities in the developing world through our robust distribution network. It is a win-win situation in our eyes, more jobs and more clean resources that will help children that have to now study by a toxic kerosene lantern. Access to solar lighting will allow women to save needless hours spent gathering firewood — and spend those hours on opportunities for themselves and their families.

So what can you do about this? We’re glad you asked! Join our team, sponsor a student or entrepreneur, help us fundraise or make a tax-deductible donation through our partnership with Partners Worldwide. We need you as a Champion today and tomorrow for a better, cleaner world.


Take Action. Inspire Change. #MandelaDay

Take Action. Inspire Change. #MandelaDay

Take Action. Inspire Change.


Water filter training in Maratane Refugee Camp3Today is the Nelson Mandela International Day, launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on July 18, 2009 via unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly. It was inspired by a call Mandela made for the next generation to create change and take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said that “it is in your hands now”.

It is more than a celebration of his life, it is a global movement to honor his life’s work and act to change the world for the better.

The campaign call to action is simple: Take Action. Inspire Change. Make every day a Mandela Day and celebrate the potential that each individual has to transform the world. We are inspired by the example that Madiba has set for us: each of us taking responsibility for ourselves and acting on the responsibility we have to others.

To become part of the Mandela Day movement, all that is required is an action that helps change the lives of people for the better. To ensure that their actions have lasting benefits, they should with and within communities, always strive to leave behind not only physical changes but also a sense of empowerment, helping to build pride amongst those communities so that they can take charge of their destinies and change their circumstances. The cumulative actions of people, even if it is one small step at a time, can become a transformative momentum.

You can help us here at Business Connect celebrate Mandela Day by sponsoring an entrepreneur. For $300, we will help a budding entrepreneur by providing a basic inventory of clean resources that is needed to start a new business as well as the training required by our in-country representative. You can choose whether you would like to help a student, woman or a man trying to create a better life for his family. You can even choose the country you would like to help.

If you don’t think you can make a difference in the lives of others, contact us. We will share with you our experiences and tell you otherwise. Remember, it just takes one person to make a difference and start the ball rolling to effect change in the lives of others. Just like Nelson Mandela did.

November Update: Are You Ready to Transform Lives?

November Update: Are You Ready to Transform Lives?

BC Logo WaterHelping others is more than a passion. It’s our calling. The proportion of people living below the poverty line — less than $2 a day — is growing quickly and we need your help to create hope and change lives through business! We are ready to teach more young people and women how to become sustainable entrepreneurs distributing clean and life-enhancing products while informing their communities of the health risks of using fuel like kerosene or drinking dirty water.  Are you looking for a way to get involved? Sponsor an entrepreneur! Contact us for more details on how you and your business can help today.

Have you checked out our Facebook page lately? These amazing photographs we received tell the story of how Business Connect introduced the Sawyer water filter to the in-country staff of Compassion International and they still follow the model we established with them. It is very exciting to us when we receive progress reports that show the outgrowth of the work we did in the past and is being continued to this day. Have you taken our products to the mission field, used them for disaster recovery or humanitarian situations? Send us your impact photos to share on Facebook and our social media channels today!

As a social enterprise, our focus at Business Connect is on building a distribution network that sells life-enhancing products to the poorest people in the world. The Stanford Social Innovation Review shared how getting these products to the last yard of the last mile will create the most sustainable and positive social change IF you have the sales experience to reach the right customers and close the deal. If you would like to learn more about our needs-based approach and how we use our years of business experience to create relationships to fight global poverty, read “Social Enterprises Closing the Deal.”

During a recent visit to the Humanitarian Outreach of the Mormon Church at Temple Square in Salt Lake City and World Vision in Federal Way, just outside Seattle, Lou took time out to visit the City of Rocks National Reserve in Idaho where old granite spires tower out of the desert. The Reserve protects a portion of the California Trail where emigrants marked their passage with the axle grease at Register Rock. As he walked around and imagined what it might have been like to ride in a wagon train crossing this stretch of land 175 years ago, he wondered about water, because there was none to be seen in this barren landscape. The average person in the developing world uses less than three gallons per day. In the U.S. alone, the average consumption per person per day is just over 100 gallons. We hope this gives you “water” for thought and you are willing to help us expand our reach to create a more sustainable world!

Until Next Time,
The Business Connect Team

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How Can You Help Expand the Reach of Your Mission?

How Can You Help Expand the Reach of Your Mission?

Business Connect continues to bring new life enhancing products to the market around the world.  We are committed to being a solution source for water problems.  We have sold well over 10,000 water filters this year.  But water is just one challenge.

We partnered with Haitian Artisan Products International (HAPI) putting together a package of products: a water filter, high-efficiency charcoal stove, and a solar light with cell phone charging capacity.  Our initial survey gave us surprising results.  Most people wanted the solar for charging their cell phones.  Families living in the mountains take a day trip to walk into town or pay someone to take their phones in for charging.  This little solar light provides light in the home and will charge their phone in the evening.  The weight is only eight tenths of a pound.  Our retail price is $43.73…less if you are a distributor.

Now Business Connect has another exciting product we are bringing to market.  This is a three light unit, 160 lumens each, with a 36 foot cord. This unit can run for two days (four hours per day) on one battery charge.  It also has a USB port for charging your phone.  We have 200 units in stock and will ship anywhere in the world.  Total weight is seven pounds and can fit into a small cardboard case, 11” x 14” x 4” including the solar panel.

We have 200 solar kits ready for the market and would like to have them sold by the end of December.  Our retail price for these units is $138.17…less if you are a distributor.

If you are planning on taking a mission trip, this would be an incredible gift to leave with your host family or to leave for the school or orphanage you might be partnering with. For more information on how your gift may help others, review an article on our work written by Mission Network News.

Thank you for all you do for the least of these around the world!

With gratitude always from the Business Connect team,

Jan, Jereme, Pam, Natalie, Jeff, and Lou

Help Us Bring Light to Dark Places With Goal 7: Access to Affordable and Clean Energy

Help Us Bring Light to Dark Places With Goal 7: Access to Affordable and Clean Energy

GGPoster-7RenewableEnergy1“Energy is fundamental to economic growth and environmental sustainability. Sustainable Development Goal 7 — ‘Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all’ — recognizes that energy underpins progress in all areas of development. But 1.1 billion people still live without electricity, and another 2.9 billion live without modern fuels for cooking and heating.” wrote Anita Marangoly George, the Senior Director of the World Bank Group’s Global Practice on Energy and Extractive Industries, in a recent Huffington Post blog.

We need to dramatically accelerate these gains. For renewables, despite enormous strides driven largely by lower technology costs, we need to see annual growth of 7.5 percent a year, up from 4 percent in 2012. We need to improve efficiency and lower the world’s energy intensity by at least 2.6 percent a year. And regions with the greatest energy deficits — Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia — need our help to improve energy access.

Currently over one billion people live without access to electricity in the developing world. They rely on harmful kerosene lanterns for light or diesel generators for AC power. Both options are extremely expensive, with people in some parts of Africa spending more than 25 percent of their income just on kerosene for lighting. But more importantly, burning fossil fuels in a confined space leads to serious health issues, especially for children who breathe in the toxic fumes on a daily basis. According to the World Bank, 800,000 people die every year from indoor air pollution.

Setting an example for the developing world, Africa has progressed quickly to mobile phones and it now has the opportunity to change the future landscape of its infrastructure with clean energy and distributed power. And this is where Business Connect comes in. As an international distributor of clean energy products in 36 countries, we focus on reaching the poorest people of the world. Our “bottom up” approach allows the most remote communities to have clean solar lights, clean cookstoves and renewable power to recharge their mobile phones and tablets.

We equip an eager community development leader with the products and knowledge and mobilize these new entrepreneurs to reach the local people with an array of clean resources. And we need your help. Please contact us for more information on how you can get involved.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post, “What’s Working: Sustainable Development Goals,” in conjunction with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The proposed set of milestones will be the subject of discussion at the UN General Assembly meeting on Sept. 25-27, 2015 in New York. The goals, which will replace the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015), cover 17 key areas of development — including poverty, hunger, health, education, and gender equality, among many others. As part of The Huffington Post’s commitment to solutions-oriented journalism, this What’s Working SDG blog series will focus on one goal every weekday in September. This post addresses Goal 7.

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