Energy Access in Africa
In 2015, my family and I visited Tanzania and Kenya. It was my third trip to the continent but it was the first time that I fell in love with Africa. We went far outside the cities and visited an orphanage, a school and a remote village of thatched huts. There was no electric grid and almost none of the conveniences of modern Western life. The people we met were happy and they embraced us like friends. One young Samburu mother invited us into her hut to show us how her family lived. I was struck by the ingenious solutions she used to feed her family. But I was also struck by the smoke and fumes from the small fire they used for light – within minutes my eyes and throat were burning. Through the translator, I asked her how they dealt with it. She shrugged and said they were used to it.
Over 500 million people in Africa are energy poor – they have little or no access to electricity. According to data compiled by the Acumen Fund, 10-25% of African household income is spent on energy, usually in the form of dangerous and expensive kerosene. Millions of Africans die each year from fires and indoor pollution, much of it caused by kerosene lamps and other indoor flames.
My family and I are devoting some of our time and resources to help accelerate energy access in Eastern Africa. With the deepest respect for the culture and desires of the local people, we hope to be able to play a small role in providing them with energy options that can help them live even happier and safer lives.
Clean Energy Start-Ups
Across Atlanta, the US and the world, there is a growing wave of startups that are bringing innovation, creativity and a deep entrepreneurial spirit to the 100-year-old world of electricity. Through my role as an investor, board member and as the Energy Entrepreneur-in-residence at Georgia Tech’s Atlanta Technology Development Center (ATDC), I am working with a handful of small companies to help them grow their businesses and become market leaders in their segments.
My Own Clean Energy Startup in 2018
The Freeing Energy book is just the first step. My plan is to build on the insights from the many brilliant, visionary people I have interviewed and assembled all my learnings into a new business in 2018.
Writing, Speaking, Boards
Outside of clean energy, I continue my career-long commitment to work with extraordinary entrepreneurs and other business leaders through board roles, investing, public speaking and mentoring. Check out my blog, NusseyNotes and my LinkedIn profile.
In late 2016, I gave my two sons a gift – a book I had written for them called the Nussey Principles for a Life Well Lived. The book contains 34 lessons and stories that I have compiled over the last 20 years. The many friends that helped me through the writing process urged me to consider getting it published. Based on their feedback, I am working with a professional writer to rewrite the book into a less personal form with the goal of publishing it in late 2017.