African Solar Rise

Started: 2010, completed: 2011. 

“Being engaged in SIMagination project African Solar Rise was an essential part of my studies at the University of St.Gallen. On the one hand it provided me with the opportunity to make a contribution and to make the world a better place, by bringing electricity to small, off-grid Tanzanian villages. Visiting one of those villages was truly a rewarding experience. On the other hand, the project allowed me to put into practice the theoretical knowledge I acquired from my SIM courses, thereby deepening it further. I am thankful for this great opportunity.” Benjamin Harder, SIM7, Switzerland.

African Solar Rise (ASR) seeks to establish newer, more effective and culturally accepted forms of development cooperation with the African continent. The goal of ASR is to inspire business and eco-nomic growth, chiefly by providing African communities with access to dependable and environmen-tally friendly sources of electricity. ASR’s award-winning financing model includes providing commu-nity authorities with interest-free loans, which are used to set up solar-hybrid community power plants. Profits generated from the power plants are then used to fund the development of the vil-lage, as well as to finance new plants in other communities. Founded by four SIM students in Sep-tember 2010, ASR is now a non-governmental organization with 17 members of seven different na-tionalities, all from top-ranked institutions such as University of St.Gallen, HEC Paris, and ESADE Bar-celona. The ASR concept has won the nation-wide “Herausforderung Unternehmertum” competition in Germany, the 2011 HSG Social Entrepreneurship Award, the 2011 AT Kearney Create a Difference Award, and the 2011 Bearing Point Sustainability Award. ASR’s website can be visited at