#7  Energy Innovation - WiBox

Brian Vhutali Gadisi and his co-founders at Arion – the creators of the wiBox, are solving a small but important part of South Africa’s energy crisis – continued connectivity to the internet for work and study during load-shedding (planned power cuts).
What started out as a university project and a challenge to beat a running record for the most money made from a business on the programme, quickly turned out to be the catalyst for the invention of an ingenious product, the wiBox, a mini-UPS designed to power your router and fibre during a power outage, and the establishment of Arion Power as a formidable start-up business in the South African market.

While load-shedding may have affected their work and study schedules, it was the boredom of not being able to binge watch series, use smartphones or laptops, and not having any internet access during power cuts, that frustrated the co-founders enough to consider the possibility of alternative solutions.
“There were no affordable products in the market when we started. You can’t afford one of those big inverters as a student, so we started thinking about what it is we actually needed, and the answer is simply a running Wi-Fi connection in order to access your phone or laptop. That was the concept behind the WiBox,” shares 24-year-old co-founder, Alan Gie.

Without any technical study backgrounds, one could describe the story of Arion Power as a perfect storm scenario. A classic tale of the right people being in the right place at the right time.

With the success of the wiBox, the team have already begun plans to launch a number of other products to aid in providing affordable access to alternative power solutions.

In this seventh episode of Freedom Pioneers of Africa, Brian presents his concept, which was broadcast across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. Listers give their thoughts on the projects presented by upcoming innovators and whether the initiative would work in their environments.
Jolenta also discusses her initiative with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.

Featured community radio stations in order of appearance are:
Radio Dialogue, Triple FM, Underground and BCR FM.
Featured languages are English, Kishwahili, Siswati.