In 2009 Shazia Khan, a Pakistani-American, created EcoEnergy (formerly EcoEnergy Finance), a non-profit that would be dedicated to distributing solar energy to Pakistanis in order to provide them with safer, healthier and more environmentally friendly alternatives to kerosene and wood that was leading to the massive deforestation of the country.
In 2010, Pakistan was hit by massive and devastating flooding. The non-profit responded by raising $24k and distributing 1000 solar lanterns to the flood affected. Only when Shazia was in the depths of the most remote rural areas did she fully comprehend the magnitude of the energy poverty villagers were facing and the difficulty in reaching them.
After a chance speaking at Wharton Business School she realized that re-organizing into a social enterprise and focusing efforts on building a distribution network allowing them to reach “last mile” remote locations would allow for a much larger social impact than what a non-profit could do alone.
In 2011 Shazia joined forces with co-founder Jeremy Higgs, an Australian living and working in Pakistan, who was as passionate about deploying clean energy solutions as a way to mitigate poverty across the country. With Jeremy leading the operations on the ground and Shazia projecting EcoEnergy on the world stage from Washington, DC, the social enterprise began a daunting duel exercise in collecting granular micro-level data on the energy challenges and consumption patterns of off-grid Pakistanis and the creation of a financially sustainable and scalable business model that would provide customers with solar energy solutions in a way that was affordable to them.
Since 2012 EcoEnergy has sold over 12,000 solar products across Pakistan, has won several prestigious grants, participated in 3 business accelerator programs, been featured in several media outlets including USA Today, the Huffington Post and Dawn. Both Shazia and Jeremy are widely regarded as experts in the field of off-grid solar. The company plans to operate across Pakistan and expand their distribution to other parts of off-grid South and Southeast Asian communities.