Solar Sister – Empowering Women Entrepreneurs with Data Science

Access to Capital


Solar Sister


Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania

In sub-Saharan Africa roughly 600 million people lack electricity and 890 million cook with harmful fuels. To address this acute energy poverty, Solar Sister recruits, trains, and supports local women entrepreneurs to deliver clean energy directly to homes in last-mile, underserved African communities. 

Harnessing the Power of Data:

Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge Impact Report

After receiving data about where future entrepreneurs were likely to be concentrated and training on data analysis techniques, Solar Sister field staff experienced a 25 percent increase in the number of new entrepreneurs they recruited, as compared to the same time period the previous year.

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  1. 1

    Finalized Profiles of Entrepreneurs and Customers

    Fraym’s data analytics, in partnership with Solar Sister’s on-the-ground perspective and gender lens, produced new insights on where Solar Sister customers and future entrepreneurs are likely to be concentrated.

  2. 2

    Fraym Dashboard Launch

    Using the recruitment and customer profiles, Fraym built a dashboard allowing Solar Sister to explore the data at multiple geographical levels. The platform has allowed headquarter staff to make more informed decisions about where to focus resources, how to structure programming, and how to better understand beneficiaries.

  3. 3

    Field Staff Data Training and Deployment

    Solar Sister field staff received training on basic data analysis along with their first set of data on potential hotspot recruitment locations. Field staff were empowered to determine which areas to prioritize for recruitment based on their own analysis of the shared data, using newly acquired skills.

  4. 4

    Solar Sister Entrepreneur Data Delivery

    Solar Sister Entrepreneurs received data-based recommendations on ideal customer hotspots via SMS — the first time in Solar Sister history that entrepreneurs gained access to external, data-based information about their communities to help them make decisions about their businesses. Entrepreneurs reported that this helped them learn about new communities to market and sell to that they previously would not have known about or considered.

Looking Ahead

Fraym has already expanded the dashboard to display profile data for Kenya, where Solar Sister recently expanded operations. This dashboard included additional contextual variables that will allow Solar Sister to make targeted decisions about recruitment of new entrepreneurs and sales to new customers as the work in Kenya scales in the coming years. The next step along the data journey is to further the data literacy of both Solar Sister field staff and the entrepreneurs Solar Sister serves. Their ultimate goal as an organization is to empower more people to use data at every level.

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To date, Solar Sister has helped more than 6,000 women become entrepreneurs. The organization hopes to train 10,000 women by 2023 and is actively exploring new markets in Africa. The key to their expansion plans is using data to help their entrepreneurs make better buying and selling decisions.