Willem Malherbe's New Entry

Willem Malherbe's New Entry: Developing a sharing economy as alternative to consumerism

Stellenbosch, South AfricaCape Town, South Africa
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our aim is to introduce sharing options to a predominantly consumer driven society. For affluent groups, the idea of sharing has become lost as their sense of community cohesion lessened. The green revolution has enlightened such groups, while both affluent and non-affluent stand to benefit.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if you would never have to throw out food, clothes or books again, but instead make it available on a network where the environmentally conscious and needy would gladly take it off your hands?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

South Africa has a relatively small group of the population who have vast financial means and a large group of the population who has limited means. These groups are also disconnected from each other, with little means of the latter group to communicate their needs to others. There has however been an increase in the environmentally conscious populace who are willing to give the extra that they have but require the means to do so.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Technology provides the answer through an application which connects all groups, while a transport service or drop off area will supply the means for physical exchange. The application will have three target groups: those who are willing to give away goods, those who are willing to receive goods, and those who are willing to exchange goods to the benefit of both parties. Goods can be categorized into groups, similarly to those seen in online shopping, with the difference being a drop down choice of either "seeking", or "providing" the goods, while a further drop down menu will provide the option to "exchange for" other goods else or "donate".


Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Students leaving university may wish to rid themselves of textbooks which have are outdated but still relevant to courses. As textbooks are extremely expensive in South Africa, and probably elsewhere, there would always be others who may not be able to afford such textbooks and would therefore accepting of such offers or willing to exchange something for it. Food could be donated similarly, where someone goes on a sugar free diet and decides to donate sugary products to a household who would be saving in expenses by receiving such a donation.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

No impact to date. Projected impacts are the creation of extra disposable income with both affluent and, importantly, non affluent households by providing them with goods such as school clothes, books, or food which would have to be bought otherwise. This also promotes the reuse of goods and a move away from the high level of consumerism present in modern society.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Application software development will be a timeous stage of the project to ensure a user friendly and workable application. An online platform for the application will also be developed simultaneously. Once sufficient, distribution of the application will be done through NGO's who have established presence in informal settlements. Expansion to the major city centres in Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth for office and transport services exist, while application dissemination to the rest of Africa will be targeted.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Transport services to physically move goods from one user to another provides income generating potential to sustain office infrastructure. Application development to comprise the major project expense and therefore no expenses to prevail after software development is complete.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

An application exists is the US which is called Yerdle. It has however not been made available in South Africa and the specific handsets used by the populace.

Founding Story

This project idea was developed after the realization that I would not be using my school books again and not knowing how to get them to students who would be able to make use of them. Also in consideration was the increasing environmental consciousness and willingness of people to reuse goods.


At this stage I am the only team member. I am currently a MSc candidate, aiming to finish my thesis in 2016 and work part time on this project. A software developer will be employed to build the application and online platform.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:


Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:


Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Responsible Consumption and Production.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Four years experience of working with and chairing an environmental education program called Wildreach (facebook.com/wildreachproject), while also being awarded an academic merit award in 2013.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?



Moses Karmali's picture

This is a pretty great organization and I like what you stand for. Keep up the great work and I wish you all the best in 2016