Our vision

We develop needs-based business models for the poorest and most remote areas of the world in order to raise the standard of living of the local people. In this way, we give the poorest people in particular a fair chance to participate in global economic progress in their own country. On the one hand, our sustainable, life-improving products must be cheap enough for every household to afford them, but on the other hand, it is necessary that the business models are profitable. This is the only way they can be scaled indefinitely.

The name Villageboom is derived from the idea: "to start a business boom in a rural village".

Our Story

Since its founding as a social business in 2010, Villageboom has implemented almost a hundred pilot projects with our partners in the most remote villages in Africa and Asia. Today, more than half a million people use Villageboom's bright solar light and our customers have increased their income by more than USD 3 million. Of all the distribution methods we have tested, the most successful so far has been installment purchase through self-managed women's groups.

Using this method, we achieved a purchase rate of over 90% among members of women's groups in areas without electricity. Since most women in Africa belong to a women's group, we can reach more than 50% of all households in sub-Saharan Africa using this method.

Current challenges

Unfortunately, this method no longer works because our customers, who are usually very poor, have become even poorer, first because of Corona and now because of global inflation. In addition, there are another 90 million people who were previously connected to the electricity grid but could no longer pay their monthly electricity bill and are now also without electricity.

Villageboom Solarlight Women’s Group Campaign 2.0

We are counteracting this by further strengthening our women's group campaign: we are now helping our customers to reduce their firewood costs by improving their cooking stoves. These savings mean that many more people can once again afford bright solar light and later other life-improving products and working methods, such as drip irrigation systems and solar pumps. By comparison, these two cooking stoves, built locally from mud bricks, save around 50% on firewood. Accordingly, considerably less wood needs to be purchased. For us, it is a small measure, but for the local people it has a big impact.

Financial strengthening of our campaign

To finance our women's group campaign, we are currently developing a global e-commerce business for products with social added value. We use the profits from sales to finance our social projects in Africa.

The products purchased through Villageboom help make the world a better place and give more and more people the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of bright solar light and later many other life-enhancing products.

Our portfolio is constantly expanding, here is the start:

Every purchase supports our social projects in Africa.

The situation

In the countries around the equator, it is dark from 7 p.m. all year round. Almost 1 billion people live there without access to the electricity grid. In the evenings and at night, most of them have only makeshift lighting in the form of candles, kerosene or battery-operated flashlights. The flashlights use only disposable batteries, which are replaced monthly for around $1.00. This creates large amounts of battery waste that cannot be disposed of properly. And the light is not particularly bright.

Petroleum is even more problematic as a fuel: petroleum poses a particularly high fire risk; huts and entire houses burn down, and people are killed or disfigured for life in these fires. The constant inhalation of emissions from the combustion of petroleum in houses and huts (200 kg CO2/year/lamp) means that people are particularly likely to fall ill. The light from a petroleum lamp is so dim - it illuminates a radius of 30 to 40 cm - that more demanding activities cannot be carried out. The women and men cannot read or work, and the children who go to school during the day and help their parents in the fields or with housework cannot prepare for the next day of school in the evening either.

The product

The possibilities that solar light can offer you are completely different. Over the years, Villageboom has developed a lamp that is 30 times brighter than kerosene light and 80% cheaper in the long term. The Modular Solar Home System can be purchased step by step, one lamp at a time, to electrify the entire house.

The team

Thomas Ricke, founder of Villageboom. Even as a student, he was fascinated by the enormous potential of economically undeveloped or barely developed countries. Due to this affinity, at the age of 34 he went to Africa as a manager for his then employer, Procter & Gamble, and stayed there for a total of 8 years at the Sanaa, Cairo and Lagos locations, most recently as CFO of P&G West Africa. With Procter & Gamble he developed new sales models that for the first time gave the rural population access to basic consumer goods. Here he experienced for the first time that sustainable business ideas can significantly improve the living conditions of the disadvantaged rural population. Inspired by this success, he founded the social enterprise Villageboom in 2008 with the aim of making bright solar light so cheap that everyone - no matter how poor - can afford it. Bright solar light extends the day and gives everyone who is not connected to the power grid more productive time, our most important resource.

Dr. Claudia M erdausl-Ricke, Legal Counsel and Marketing.

She initially gained experience in the areas of investment banking, IPO, corporate and structured finance at DZ-Bank, Frankfurt aM. In 2001, she and three other partners founded the business law firm Wirth I Collegen (lawyers, auditors, tax consultants) in Münster, Westphalia, and established an interdisciplinary consulting concept for medium-sized companies there. Within the firm, she was responsible for 17 employees. In 2010, Claudia Merdausl sold her shares in the company and left the firm. She has particular expertise in the areas of corporate and company law, M&A, corporate financing and restructuring. She is now using her extensive experience from working for her clients from a wide range of industries for Villageboom.

Ghana South, Fred Obuo

Solar Light Women’s Group Campaign in the Diocese of Kumasi, Ghana South

Ghana Central, Edward Osew

JV for Solar Kiosks - Solar Charging Stations

Ghana North, Joe Osei

Solarlight women’s group campaign in Northern Ghana

Benin, Chantal Aidji, MD Villageboom Benin

Pilot project with the ADICH stove - an improved cooking stove that saves 50% firewood.

Nigeria, Arajulu Olatubosun (ex colleague from Procter & Gamble Nigeria)

Solar Light Women's Group Campaign Ajibade, Nigeria

Uganda, Jude Kigozi, MD Luk Solar

With Kefa Eliezer, Sales Manager VB Tanzania

Pilot project for the Villageboom Solar Light Women's Group Campaign 2.0: We are testing whether we will accept firewood as a means of payment in the future so that everyone can afford solar light.