VIA invests in poverty-alleviating micro infrastructure projects in rural villages of developing countries via 1-5 year loans.
Project implemented: 2012 - ongoing
VIA’s goal is to help 1 million people gain access to sustainable micro infrastructure within 10 years (by 2022).
Australian entrepreneurs can tap into new multi-billion dollar cleantech markets while helping our neighbours develop.
Show communities what technologies exist to help reduce fossil fuel use and maximize local renewables, and quantify demand.
Create project investment descriptions to mobilize public/private capital to fund it, and fill technology gaps if some exist.
Order equipment, streamline logistics, import and install the equipment, and train local entrepreneurs on the business model.
Monitor project performance, replace non-performing project partners and encourage best performers to improve sustainability.
Scale up pilot projects to larger break-even scale (10,000 households/country), using GIS mapping to plan universal access.
Once all project assets have been paid for, transfer these assets to the local entrepreneurs and either withdraw or repeat.
Almost total elimination of kerosene lamps, diesel mills and manual food-processing labour by women, saving tens of thousands of hours of work that can be used more productively, and reducing CO2 emissions and expenditure on imported fuels.
Dozens of entrepreneurs trained in productive use of renewable energy using world-first technologies, and enhanced micro business skills.
Apparently, our solar powered cassava grater even improved the taste of the national dishes of Vanuatu (laplap, tuluk and simboro)….! Next step, Masterchef….!
VIA has invested in solar powered lighting, milling, water pumping and refrigeration projects in Vanuatu, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Honduras, with expansion into the African market likely in 2019. These micro infrastructure projects, often less than 1kW per village, are usually bringing electricity to the village for the first time in their lives. VIA and its partners have developed new, world-first technologies like solar powered flour mills, rice hullers, corn shellers and coconut/cassava graters. VIA uses a blend of public finance and private finance to reduce risks of investing in such areas, and via a lease-purchase contract, transfers the assets to the village once it has been fully paid off. VIA also helps others in many countries to develop similar projects, with support mostly from outside Australia such as USAID, AFD, GSMA, IRENA, OPIC, GIZ, World Bank, Duke Energy, SIDA, IDB and SDC, but also from DFAT, Rotary Melbourne and a number of angel investors.