“D-Prize was our first outside funding. They gave us the confidence to grow.”
Co-founder of Altech
70 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo lack electricity. Washikala Malongo and Iongwa Mashangao know this firsthand. Raised in DRC, they met as youth in a refugee camp in Tanzania and bonded over a shared desire to improve life back home. After earning degrees from the University of Dar es Salaam, they returned with a plan.
In 2013 they founded Altech and opened three outlets selling solar lights. Altech quickly helped the poorest people save nearly $240 every year on kerosene. But growth stalled. Malongo and Mashangao didn’t have a network to provide funding to finance anything past a small operation.
Then in 2014, they won a $15K D-Prize award. They expanded to their first new province and doubled in size.
“Before winning, we relied on profit alone to fund us, and profit was small,” says co-founder Malongo. “Thanks to D-Prize, we could scale and have access to loans and grants.”
D-Prize catalyzed Altech’s growth. Today Altech’s 36 outlets have sold over 100,000 solar products reaching almost half a million people. And they’re just getting started, with plans to sell 60,000 solar products next year.
The most successful D-Prize winners follow this path. Most are locally led and lack the resources to launch anything other than a low-scale community operations. Winning D-Prize transforms these leaders into the next generation of social entrepreneurs delivering proven interventions that will change the world. To learn more visit altech-rdc.com.
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