A Bowmanville man who spent the last few years running a solar power business in Africa is now setting up shop in Canada. Joe Scarpelli has more.
That’s how Adam Camenzuli would begin his sales pitch to his Swahili speaking customers in Tanzania. He was selling solar powered pucks which have two primary uses.
“I can use my lamp like this (turns light on) to light my room and also I can use it to charge my phone.”
It all started in 2010 when Camenzuli graduated from York University and volunteered to help young entrepreneurs in Africa. At the same time he got his own entrepreneurial juices flowing once he noticed the need for power.
“A lot of communities didn’t have energy.”
After returning home to Bowmanville, he came up with the idea of a portable solar powered device. In 2013 Camenzuli found himself back in Africa but this time as a businessman.
“Quit my job, took my life savings and that was it.”
Mama Oliver and Mama Asia run a shelter in Tanzania to help kids who are sick and can’t afford medication. They’re constantly coming up with ways to make and save money. The ladies became one of Camenzuli’s first customers.
“Solar power is an easy way to get income to help our people.”
Now 28, Camenzuli is now working on selling his product in Canada. He says the Canadian version will offer the option to wall charge the puck, whereas the current version sold in Africa is limited to solar power. A package of two pucks is sold for 40 dollars. Camenzuli says pucks sold in Canada will likely cost more but the extra money will go towards helping entrepreneurs and families in East Africa. Camenzuli hopes to have the pucks available online in the next few months and possibly in stores one day soon. More information can be found at karibusolar.com.
“One of the best words I like in Swahili is ‘karibu’ which means ‘welcome’ and that’s why we called our company Karibu Solar Power.”