Solar­Pocha is a solar-pow­ered out­door work­space where stu­dents and pro­fes­sion­als can con­nect to both elec­tric­i­ty and the Inter­net and work com­fort­ably out­doors. The idea came about as part of a cre­ative group com­pe­ti­tion, and Oluwa­to­bi Oyin­lo­la lat­er decid­ed to put it into prac­tice in Nige­ria. After fur­ther devel­op­ment, Oyin­lo­la installed the first device at his old uni­ver­si­ty to make it avail­able to students.

The work­sta­tion can be placed any­where, allow­ing peo­ple to work in a vari­ety of envi­ron­ments with­out hav­ing to be near a pow­er grid or Inter­net con­nec­tion. They are ide­al for schools, uni­ver­si­ties, parks and even restaurants.

In regions where pow­er is unre­li­able and data costs are pro­hib­i­tive, stu­dents and pro­fes­sion­als can­not take advan­tage of the glob­al dig­i­tal econ­o­my. As a result, devel­op­ing regions are fur­ther dis­ad­van­taged, and stu­dents in par­tic­u­lar have a dif­fi­cult time com­pet­ing for aca­d­e­m­ic hon­ors, oppor­tu­ni­ties, and knowledge.

The Solar­Pocha is wheel­chair acces­si­ble and has enough space for all eight peo­ple and their per­son­al lap­tops. Oyin­lo­la has also devel­oped an online book­ing sys­tem that allows users to reserve a seat at the table for the dura­tion of their need.

Oyin­lo­la’s expe­ri­ence with pay-as-you-go solar sys­tems and var­i­ous Inter­net of Things (IoT) star­tups made Solar­Pocha a nat­ur­al fit. For this project, the ser­i­al con­trac­tor part­nered with a local crafts­man in Ibadan to ensure the work­sta­tion was built to a high standard.

Main­te­nance of the sys­tem is min­i­mal, and Inter­net is pur­chased in bulk, both of which are financed by the book­ing fee paid by users.

With more than 200 uni­ver­si­ties across Nige­ria, Oyin­lo­la’s ini­tial tar­get mar­ket offers the oppor­tu­ni­ty to reach thou­sands of young peo­ple and pro­vide them with a reli­able place to work, col­lab­o­rate and con­nect with the world.