On January 15-19, the World Economic Forum was held in Davos. During the event, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship announced its annual list of social innovators. Ms. Li Xia, Founder of Shenzhen Power Solution Ind Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Power Solution”), was honored with the “Outstanding Social Entrepreneurof the Year 2024″ award, making her the only Chinese recipient this year and the first Chinese female entrepreneur to receive this prestigious accolade.
As the sister organization of the World Economic Forum, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship presents the “Social Entrepreneur” award annually to inspire entrepreneurial pioneers with a sense of social responsibility committed to addressing societal and environmental challenges. Li Xia, the recipient from China, founded Power Solution in 2004, dedicating efforts to providing practical, durable, and affordable clean energy products and services for low-income populations, particularly those in off-grid areas in Africa. Currently, 20% of the products meeting the VeraSol quality standards under the World Bank are designed and manufactured by Power Solution.
Over the past 15 years, Li Xia and her team have been dedicated to brightening the lives of people in off-grid areas, especially in Africa, by offering lighting, education, and employment opportunities to promote local economic and sustainable social development. The initial business focus of Power Solution shifted in 2009 after Li Xia’s eye-opening trip to India, where she realized the challenges faced by areas without electricity. Determined to make clean energy affordable and accessible to the Base of the Pyramid (BOP) globally, she transformed the company’s main business, establishing a factory to control product design and quality from the source. Through continuous innovation to reduce costs, Power Solution has introduced dozens of solar products tailored for off-grid areas in Africa. In 2022, Power Solution launched the Solar Media project pilot in impoverished and off-grid areas of Kenya, using solar energy to illuminate local lives while providing knowledge and survival skills training to increase income for local impoverished populations.
As of December 31, 2023, Power Solution has cumulatively provided affordable and reliable solar product services to 7.83 million households and 54.87 million end-users in off-grid impoverished areas across 66 countries worldwide. The accumulated power generation is 72.42 million kWh, saving over 130 million yuan in electricity expenses. The cumulative reduction in carbon emissions is approximately 6.7 million tons, equivalent to planting 368 million evergreen trees (according to the algorithm published by the national carbon trading market; 1 ton of carbon dioxide requires planting 55 trees for absorption and neutralization).
This award recognizes Li Xia and her team’s unwavering commitment over the past 15 years to the path of social entrepreneurship, focusing on providing sustainable products and services to people in off-grid impoverished areas. With a focus on overseas markets, particularly in Africa, their next goal is to further expand influence and scale. Over the past 15 years, Power Solution has established a comprehensive distribution and service network in the African market. Building on strong product capabilities, influence, and credibility, the company collaborates with large enterprises to provide scalable and rapidly implementable frameworks and platforms in the fields of ESG and social responsibility, especially in Africa.
Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-founder of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship at the World Economic Forum, mentioned, “The work of social innovators continues to be not only relevant,effective, and impactful, but also fundamental in changing the status quo across many aspects of daily life.” Li Xia stated, “We hope to continue our efforts to further reduce the energy costs for low-income populations, transforming the darkness that shrouds impoverished communities into a beacon of hope and progress. We will continue to innovate, illuminate their nights, and give them a brighter future.”
Li Xia has led her team for fifteen years, anchoring the company’s vision in improving the quality of life for the Base of the Pyramid (BOP) and advancing global poverty reduction. As an outstanding social enterprise, Power Solution has previously received various awards, including the Chinese “Golden Social Enterprise.” Li Xia’s recognition with the Schwab Foundation’s “2024 Social Entrepreneur of the Year” represents the emerging strength of Chinese social enterprises on the international stage. In today’s world, more than ever, pioneering individuals committed to addressing social and environmental challenges are needed, along with more social entrepreneurs capable of genuinely making the world a better place.