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The East African : May 12th 2014
The EastAfrican OUTLOOK MAY 10-16,2014 Investors going for broke in EA social enterprise S By JULIUS BARIGABA The EastAfrican ocial enterprise is the new buzz in East Africa. The region’s social entrepreneurs — who are mainly from the younger generation — have come up with projects that make money while furthering social welfare. Unreasonable East Africa, an organisation that helps young people to adapt the world to their environment in order to improve it, will from June 25 to July 31, Unreasonable will host 24 social entrepreneurs, who run 14 ventures in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, at the Unreasonable Institute in Kampala. During this period, the 14 delegates will network, share ideas, source capital and be mentored by 50 world-class entrepreneurs to turn their start-ups, most of which have existed for less than three years, into life-changing enterprises. These are expected to solve social and economic challenges such as food security, access to electricity, financial literacy, household incomes and health care in East Africa. Boot camp The five-week boot camp in Kampala is modelled on the Unreasonable Institute in Boulder, Colorado, but it attempts to create projects tailored to the East African context. Joachim Ewechu, chief ex- ecutive officer and co-founder of Unreasonable East Africa, said that with mentoring and financing networks, the 14 chosen businesses are expected to grow into social enterprises and eventually scale up to meaningfully change the lives of more than one million people. “We will work with them in the markets in which they operate and derive solutions from those markets,” he said. Aa couple will pay $4,000 while an individual will fork out $3,000 for the programme, which will feature Iranian-born venture capital specialist Kamran Elahian. Initial public offerings Mr Elahian has built 10 companies, four of which were sold for between $70 million and $700 million. Three of his companies have raked in over $1 billion in their initial public offerings. The fellows coming into the Unreasonable Institute are expected to draw inspiration from other social enterprises that have transformed societies in the past decade. Uganda’s coffee brand, Good African Coffee, is a good JACK O’REGAN AND TYLER GOODWIN Smartlife, Kenya Smartlife rides on the sale of affordable, clean drinking water and health products to lowincome families through retail locations and a subscription service. In less than a year, they have sold 88,000 litres of water, making over $15,000. place to start. In 2003, the proprietor, 44- year-old Andrew Rugasira, left a career in marketing for a social enterprise that engaged 14,000 coffee farmers in Kasese district, western Uganda, to sell their crop to his com- REBBECA AND ERIC KADURU Proprietors of passion fruit venture KadAfrica, Uganda This couple own KadAfrica, one of the enterprises coming into the Unreasonable Institute, run a passion fruit farm in Kasese district, near Fort Portal. Eric Kaduru, 29, was a public relations and advertising practitioner before switching to farming. Now the Kadurus work with outgrowers and more than 1,500 girls who dropped out of school for various reasons. Their project started in 2013 in partnership with Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Fort Portal under a programme called Girls Agro Investment (GAIN). “We provide outgrowers with free seedlings, basic inputs and a ready market for passion fruit. We combine the outgrowers’ produce with our own from the five-acre plantation. We also ensure that our outgrowers get a fair market value for their fruit,” said Rebecca, 27. GALEN WELSCH AND ALFRED EDAKASI Jibu, Uganda Jibu gives its affiliate entrepreneurs tools that include advanced water filtration systems, refillable bottles, packaging material, points of sales and branding to sell clean water. From its businesses, Jibu has generated $9,000 with their business-in-a-box model. They encourage entrepreneurs to reduce prices for the bottom 10 per cent of the market through subsidies funded by donors and carbon credits. MYLES LUTHERAN AND COSMAS OCHIENG Eco Fuels, Kenya Eco Fuels produces and sells biofuel and organic fertilisers made from croton nut, which grows naturally across East Africa. The product is environmentally sustainable, as it restores organic matter into the soil, leaves no waste and uses low-energy manufacturing. Since inception in March 2012, Eco Fuel has sold more than 10,000 litres of biofuel and 100 tonnes of organic fertiliser, earning over $50,000. SACHI DECOU AND OLIVIA NAVA Juabar Design, a solar phone charging franchise, Tanzania American-born Sachi DeCou, who lives in Tanzania, has a power solution for a country where 60 per cent of the population uses mobile phones, but only 12 per cent have consistent access to electricity. Before starting Juabar, Ms DeCou did the maths: Tanzanians spend 13 per cent of their total phone costs on travelling to charge their handsets. Then she provided a solution. “We start each of our franchises — Juapreneurs — with a phone-charging business via our solar charging kiosks, which is a straightforward revenue source,” said the 35-year-old designer and artist. Eco Fuel employees package their products. JOHN BUSINGE AND ROBERT MAKUNE Forever Sanitation Ltd, Uganda Forever Sanitation provides sewerage services where there are none — in the slums of Kampala. The company uses unique equipment to empty pit latrines in low-income residential areas that are not accessible by the city’s waste removal vehicles. The business has created a healthier environment for 250 households in Kampala, and generated about $10,000 in revenue. ABUBAKER MUSUUZA Village Energy Ltd, Uganda This firm assembles and distributes solar energy systems for off-grid households, businesses and institutions in the rural areas. They also train individuals as solar technicians to install and repair energy kits in the communities they supply. They reached more than 4,000 customers since 2010, earning over $90,000. pany in an arrangement that would see profits shared 50: 50 between the producers and the company. At the end of 2012, Good Af- rican Coffee posted a $1.3 million profit. From phone charging alone, each franchise earns $75-$175 per month. EMMY WASIRWA AND BERNARD MOGAKA KINARA Wana Energy Solutions, Uganda Wana Energy sells affordable gas for homes and businesses, which comes with delivery, installation and safety training. The gas is cleaner, cheaper and more environmentally friendly than charcoal and firewood. Since 2008, Wana has made over $1.65 million by building a customer base of more than 4,000 households who, on average, save about 25 per cent on cooking fuel costs. CHANTAL HEUTINK, I-Care Pads, Kenya Chantal Heutink, 45, who lives in Kisumu, western Kenya, began producing and selling high quality but affordable reusable sanitary pads aimed at schoolgirls. Besides producing I-Care pads for more than 20,000 poor schoolgirls, her venture also provides training in menstrual hygiene management. Heutink, a Dutch national, said her ambition is to reach a million I-Care users in 10 years. Officials at Unreasonable East Africa said that this venture has not only broken the taboo around menstruation and reproductive health but also generated over $12,000 in revenue and reduced the percentage of girls missing school due to menstruation by 30 per cent. VINCENT KIENZLER AND DAVID GERARD Green Bio Energy, Uganda Besides consultancy and training in microentrepreneurship and briquette production, Green Bio also sells fuel-efficient stoves, solar lamps and carbonised biomass briquettes, the cheaper and ecofriendly alternative to traditional charcoal. The firm has reduced about 400 customers’ energy bills by a cumulative $30,000 and generated over $150,000 in revenue. GIDEON EMORUT AND LILIAN EMORUT Geel Enterprises, Uganda A Wana employee delivers gas on his motorcycle. This firm provides quality health care services in eastern Uganda and western Kenya, and helps reduce preventable deaths in the two countries In the two-and-a-half years of its operation, Geel has evolved from a small clinic into a hospital offering radiology, prenatal, dental, orthopaedic, gynaecological and physiotherapy services. It has served 10,000 patients, earning about $130,000. 35 CHARLES NICHOLS AND SAMIR IBRAHIM SunCulture Kenya Ltd SunCulture, which designs and sells solar-powered irrigation systems, has eliminated the need for expensive grid electricity, making it cheaper and easier for farmers in Kenya to grow high-value fresh fruits and vegetables. Samir Ibrahim, the SunCulture CEO, studied finance and international business at the New York University Stern School of Business. He worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers before leaving his corporate job in New York for the irrigation enterprise in Kenya. In Kenya, he teamed up with Mr Nichols, a fellow American, who studied mechanical engineering. Both are 25. “We’re excited to leverage revolutionary technology like the SunCulture agrosolar irrigation kit to bridge the yield gap with solar power and water-saving drip irrigation,” Mr Samir said. SunCulture’s kit uses 80 per cent less water than the furrow irrigation method. CAROLYNE KIMARI GrabABook, Kenya This project promotes a reading culture among children in rural and slum areas by establishing school libraries. GrabABook is new and still trying to raise funding. But, since May 2013, it has successfully set up two libraries in Kenya. MAALIK KAYONDO AND IRENE KAYAGA NDAGIRE Telesat International Cottage Industrial Development Institute, Uganda This venture provides training to the jobless and underemployed to build skills that can lead to selfemployment. Telesat also provides information on the market and low-cost investment opportunities. It has trained more than 40,000 people since 2006, and earned over $400,000. HOW THE UNREASONABLE FINALISTS WERE CHOSEN Unreasonable East Africa initially received 160 applications from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The entrepreneurs were interviewed on their understanding of the target market, business model, impact and the teams. From this, Unreasonable selected 47 ventures to advance to the next stage — a 30minute phone interview. “We then selected 27 for the final interview round – the expert interview,” said Unreasonable CEO Joachim Ewechu. The experts chose the final 14 businesses. The entire process took three months.
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