Meet Bayonle from Oyo State in southern Nigeria.
Bayonle is married but her husband lives and works quite far away in the northwest of Nigeria. Bayonle works as a typist and takes care of their four children in a lower-income community in Ibadan. Her circle of friends and family are doing business but are also low income earners.
Overcoming the doubt
When she started her Solar Sister energy business, people were discouraging her, telling her that community members can’t afford to buy the products she was trying to sell. So Bayonle decided to reach out to local religious heads and mentors for help. With their support, she was able to make some sales. She also used her contacts in the police barracks close to her work, to get more people interested in clean energy and increase her sales of solar products. Gradually she was able to overcome the doubt that she couldn’t do this business!
Bayonle started meeting with market women that sell pepper and meat on the roadside in her community. she convinced them to switch from the usual kufi lanterns (small kerosene-powered open flame tin lamps) to solar lamps. These are women whose entire owned goods does not reach 5,000 Naira (USD$14).
Bayonle worked with them to start a kind of “thrift” payment plan. The women would pay small amounts into their account with Bayonle and when the money reached the price of a solar lamp, she provided the lamp.
It was so motivating to me when I realised that more than 10 women in the market were using solar products at night to sell their goods, that on a normal day would not be able to afford it. – Bayonle
Bayonle is making real impact in her community. She is also generous with her experience. She shared her methods with fellow entrepreneurs at Solar Sister’s recent sisterhood meeting and some have adopted it.
By Abisola Adeoye, our Customer Service and M&E Associate.
Abisola is also a great storyteller! She interviews our entrepreneurs in Nigeria and writes stories about their experiences.