Nuru Energy Rwanda, has won the grand prize of the Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Seattle, USA, the company said in a statement.
Nuru Energy won the award after presenting to the competition its solution to the lighting crisis that is facing millions of Rwandans – the Nuru Light.
“We are really excited to win this prize because we were facing tough competition from around the globe”, says Charles Ishimwe, who heads sales and marketing at Nuru Energy Rwanda
The company has mission to replace kerosene as a source of lighting with affordable, clean, safe alternative lighting sources.
The Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC) is a leading international social venture plan competition, where student teams from around the world propose creative, commercially viable business plans aimed at reducing poverty in the developing world.
According to the statement, out of 11 semi-final teams selected from a pool of 161 applicants from 36 countries, Nuru Energy won the Grand Prize of $10,000.
In addition Nuru also brought home the Trade Show Investor’s Award worth $500 and the $2,500 Global Health Prize.
“It means that people believe in us and support us in our mission to replace kerosene”, Ishimw said.
Nuru - meaning ‘light’ in Kiswahili consists of portable, on-demand (POD) lights that can be recharged by a pedal generator. The POD light shines for up to 40 hours while producing no harmful pollutants.
Currently, 90 percent of residents in Rwanda use expensive kerosene fuel to light their homes. These lamps expose residents to fumes which are the equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.
Additionally, 25 percent of households in Rwanda have reported kerosene-related accidents in the last 12 months, including fires and skin burns.