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Georgia — Akon Lighting announced the appointment of Growmore Group to assist with structured fund management and equity raising activities for its Black Sunrise Fund. Growmore Group is a regulated investment banking organization with branches in London, Dubai, CARICOM region and Zurich.

The Black Sunrise Fund (BSF) is expected to be a $5 billion, 50-year fund with a national initiative to help “bridge the gap” between the black community and clean energy opportunities while making a significant impact on social and income equality and industrial sustainability.

BSF will drive this initiative through the decommissioning of coal plants across the U.S. and recommissioning them to renewable energy (solar, wind, storage, etc.) alongside our industry partners at Orbital Solar Services (“OSS”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orbital Energy Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: OEG) (www.orbitalenergygroup.com) that was named as the engineering, procurement, and construction (“EPC”) company “of choice” for the newly-formed Black Sunrise Half Century Fund and Rick Borry, Ph.D. of One World Solar. BSF will also focus on the origination, development and construction of solar + storage projects to continue the race for a net-zero carbon future.

BSF will create community workforce development programs for black minorities and the underserved living in communities near the coal facilities being decommissioned, to ensure the local economy will continue to thrive and those displaced will have continued employment.

BSF will also offer a “solar installation” curriculum in partnership with local community colleges and HBCUs to create opportunities for black minorities to gain employment in the energy industry. (Currently, fewer than 8% of black minorities are employed in the energy industry). BSF intends to conduct this educational program, along with its chosen EPC partner, OSS, at the newly planned OSS headquarter “campus” in Central NC.

Raj Lakha, CEO of Growmore, commented, “We are delighted to partner with Black Sunrise Fund, with its dynamic and unique plans for green energy and social impact in the U.S. The Black Sunrise Fund is headed by two experienced and talented entrepreneurs, namely Brandon Martin and Akon Thiam, who have a solid track record in renewable energy. We are confident that BSF will become a leading player in promoting socially responsible and sustainable investments. So far, investor response has been considerable.”

Brandon Martin, CEO of Akon Lighting, stated, “This partnership with Growmore Group is an exciting and very important next step for the Black Sunrise Fund. It was extremely critical for us to find a fund manager whose vision aligned with ours and also has the reputation and track record for delivering large-scale capital to address social and environmental issues. We believe that under the leadership of Raj Lakha, the Growmore Group is committed to taking real action when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion and “together” we will build a cleaner and more equitable future for all.”

Akon, Co-Founder and Chairman of Akon Lighting, added, “I am very pleased with the Growmore Group and our partnership to deliver clean energy access to all and to create significant opportunities for black entrepreneurs, vendors and suppliers across the energy industry. I look forward to working with Raj Lakha and the entire Growmore Group as they lead the Black Sunrise Fund in fostering important change that we must have in our world today.”

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has 8+ years of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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