Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured
When we started in June, 2010, we had two major goals: to design a solar-powered briquetting machine and to design a business model that will deliberately create millions of alternative green jobs for people at the base of the pyramid. We have so far achieved both goals.
We successfully made the world’s first solar-powered briquetting machine from locally available and recycled materials. This machine will be used by millions of rural people to set up small-scale businesses making organic charcoal from agricultural waste.
We have also succeeded in creating an innovative business model that will create millions of green jobs for poor women, youths and rural farmers in developing countries.
We measure our success basing on two factors: sustainability and impact created at the base of the pyramid.
We use customer surveys to receive feedback about the impact created. We also keep records of all new jobs created as a result of our project. Already, we have helped to start two small-scale organic charcoal making plants in rural Uganda employing 10 people each directly and indirectly creating jobs for many other poor people in villages.
We have also trained and empowered 15 women to start small-scale distribution franchises for the organic charcoal made by us or by our entrepreneurs.
However, while statistics are an important measure of our success, it’s the individual stories of the poor people whose lives have changed who are our most important achievement. For example, Namubiru Sarah is a single mother in Uganda with two beautiful children. Before she enrolled for our entrepreneurship-training program, she had no job because she lacked any marketable skills. Today, she runs a successful organic charcoal distribution franchise and she is able to feed her family. Our dream is to give millions of other people like Sarah an opportunity to a better future.
How will your project evolve over the next three years?
We are still operating in only Uganda now but we plan to extend to all the five East African countries in the next three years.
We are also designing a strategy to include people with disabilities in our business model especially in our distribution chain. Our dream is a world where all people have equal opportunities.
In addition to equipping people with skills and helping them to access the machinery needed to start small-scale business, we hope in the next three years to have formed enough partnerships with microfinance companies to be able to help our entrepreneurs access micro-loans as well. This will enable them to turn their businesses into sustainable ventures that create jobs and meet local energy needs.