The Solo Bag is brightening the future!
After the tragic loss of his cousin, Mike Bellot created the Solo Bag — an innovative school backpack that not only provides light for reading and studying, but power for charging and mobile phones and tablets too!
“While studying in Taiwan for my Master’s degree, I received a phone call that changed my life,” Bellot told AfroTech. “My cousin passed away because he was studying by candlelight and had fallen asleep. All of this happened because he didn’t have access to electricity to study.”
It was this tragedy that influenced Bellot to address the alarming problem in his home country of Haiti — lack of access to electricity.
“I started working on some ideas because in Haiti only 37% of the population has access to electricity,” said the 26-year-old entrepreneur.
His target audience was students so he began to work on a project that would address this issue for a specific group of people.
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“I thought a backpack would be the best approach because it could have multiple uses,” continued Bellot. “In the beginning we tried several ideas and after a lot of brainstorming we came up with the Solo Bag.”
Bellot shares that checking for visibility played a huge role in the process for building the bag. They wanted to ensure that the light generated would actually be visible for students to see.
He also stressed the importance of creating a product that was easy to use.
“We wanted to create something that was easy to use, so simple that people would not have to use a manual to figure out how to use it,” said Bellot. “You simply turn it on and off. It also charges itself, we wanted it to be extremely self-sufficient.”
After a lot of trial and error, the bag was launched in 2018 through a manufacturer in China before returning home to Haiti in 2019.
“Once we got the product patented and the first mass production going in China, we realized that there was another growing problem in Haiti,” shared Bellot. “Garbage waste. It was mainly from plastic and so we wanted to solve that issue too.”
Now, they collect the plastic, then clean and recycle it to create fabric that is used to design the backpack.
While the Solo Bag continues to thrive, Bellot hopes that other up and coming inventors will be inspired by his work.
“I hope that my invention will influence more people to get innovative about what they’re doing,” said Bellot.
For now, he continues to create a brighter future for students, one Solo Bag at a time.