Bonergie – Good energy and big goals
Today, there are almost 600 million people in Africa without access to electricity. Due to the large distances between villages, a centralized power supply is extremely difficult to setup. This lack of power causes many problems throughout the continent, such as food preservation and health care provision; both having a huge impact on the lives of locals.
After a long and successful career, and experience as an IT entrepreneur, Gabriele Schwarz felt the need to make a change and to help transform the world for the better. During her many trips to Africa, Gabriele began to realise the impact that a sustainable supply of energy would have on the people there.
From there, she developed an idea: she thought – maybe the production and distribution of solar products such as lamps, water pumps, fruit dryers and solar home systems could help people to help themselves. She was beginning to transition from IT entrepreneur to charity entrepreneur. During this time she drew inspiration from one of the big thinkers and activists of our time: Muhammad Yunus, considered to have developed the concept of the Social Business.
Profit for a good cause
And so Bonergie (based on “good energy”) was born in Senegal. The goal of a social business is not to maximise profits, but to provide a solution to a social problem. Although profits are generated, they are not distributed to stakeholders, but exclusively reinvested, to increase the effectiveness of the company. Thanks to Salesforce.org Bonergie can use more of its revenue to grow the business, rather than use it for the procurement and implementation of software.
Users of Bonergie’s products are not aid recipients, but customers with maintenance contracts, warranty claims and flexible payment models. Bonergie has to manage customer data efficiently, which is where Salesforce comes in. Thanks to Salesforce.org Gabriele Schwarz and her team can access Salesforce technology, and also the required manpower for consulting, setup and customization. Now Bonergie can be fully transparent. For certain products, even remote maintenance functions are integrated, triggering GSM fault messages in Salesforce. Small problems can frequently be solved by phone, meaning the technician saves a long drive.