YGAP - Your General Access Point

YGAP - Your General Access Point: Bringing clean energy, health and comfort to everyone everywhere

Kampala, UgandaUganda
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

YGAP supplies energy efficiency and health products to rural communities in Uganda. The periodically returning sales-van brings products to customers doorsteps and is an one-stop-shop for all energy needs.

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

What if every home could be smoke free, lit up by a solar lamp and equipped with an improved cook-stove? Why does there have to be a gap?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

More than 80% of Uganda's population has no access to modern energy. Millions of families rely on smoky kerosene lamps for lighting and inefficient three stone fires to cooking. Smoke emissions are a common source of respiratory diseases, while the inefficiency causes high fuel expenditures. Solar lamps and improved cook-stoves are great solutions, however widely not accessible for people because of supply chains not reaching out to rural areas.

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

YGAP supplies energy efficiency and health products in rural Uganda. Improved cook-stoves, solar lamps and water filters are the main goods. The sales-van as the people's “General Access Point” is selling products on village market days, visiting social communities as well as supplying goods to local shops. Trading routes are fixed and guarantee a regular return of the van to ensure continuous after-sales services. The sales-van's mobility allows YGAP to reach remote rural areas and to serve simultaneously a big customer basis cost efficient. Moreover YGAP is giving training on spot and engages in awareness building. Through winning customers confidence and making products available on spot, YGAP is overcoming the markets main barriers.
Impact: How does it Work

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

Today Edward, YGAP's sales person, arranged his products at Lugazi market. Solar lamps on the table in front of the van, cook-stoves stacked right of it, water filters left. He recognises a woman, who visited him already weeks back. It was her first time to see a solar lamp. The price of 14$ scared her off. Now, that she came back Edward uses the chance, demonstrates the solar lamp again and can convince her from the advantages. Later the day Edward receives Moses who ordered 5 gasifier-stoves to restock his local shop. Half a year back Moses started selling them. Word spread about the low firewood consumption and now they are very popular in his neighbourhood. Moses is happy to generate some additional income by improving people's lives.

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

YGAP's regular operations started in August 2015 with a first sales-van as minimum‑viable‑prototype. Prior to this, sales personnel was trained, trading routes identified and the product range adjusted to customers needs. In October 2015, the sales steadily increased by 10% per week. YGAP is confident to reach cost coverage in early 2016 by selling 30 solar lamps and 50 stoves per week. The lifes of more than 100 families will be enhanced week by week. Every product sold, sustainably increases the health and economic perspective of a whole family and is adding comfort to their lifes. Enabling children to study in the evenings with clean solar light, reducing women's time spent on collecting firewood to a fraction and improving the whole family's health through the ban of smoke. The fuel savings not only pay off the products quickly, but also allow investments in education and health.

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

YGAP has the vision of becoming the leading sales and promotion platform for renewable energy and health products in East Africa. Being the customers preferred and trusted one-stop-shop nearby. In parallel being an esteemed partner of industries and development agencies for promotion and awareness building. Within the next five years YGAP wants to scale up to cover the whole of Uganda with its sales network, servicing all the four administrative regions with 15 sales-vans. Making sustainable products available through bringing them to people's doorsteps in will enhance millions of lifes.
Sustainability

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

The main revenue will be generated from product sales. The business model is very well suited to overcome the lack of consumer trust and product availability as main market barriers. Moreover the bundling of products and the mobile approach will allow to continuously serve a large customer basis. The network as an awareness building and promotion platform for manufacturers and development agencies will be an additional revenue stream.

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

Manufacturers distribution networks as well as retailers have the same objective as YGAP, selling products to customers. However the last mile distribution and to reach the rural poor is a challenge to many of them. Through the flexibility of the sales-van and the wide product range, YGAP will be able to serve even remote places continuously and cost efficient. YGAP does not want to compete with established structures, but much more to fill blank spots on the distribution map. Moreover partnering up with YGAP will be an attractive and efficient way for manufacturers to retail their products.
Team

Founding Story

The foundation of YGAP was laid having a cold beer in down-town Kamapla and passionate discussing the solar lamp and cook-stove market. Not only the conclusion that intersectoral many renewable energy products share the last mile distribution problem was drawn, but also the discussion how to tackle this challenge entered immediately. Watching the hustle of countless numbers of mini-buses finding their through the chaotic old taxi park right the bar's terrace, the idea of YGAP's sales-van was born. Why not stocking such mini‑bus with a variety of products, travelling the country and selling the goods right next to customers doorsteps?

Team

The different backgrounds of YGAP's founders combine various strengths and skills complementing each other, while forming a strong international team. Together the YGAP team is completely determined to bring their vision of bridging the last mile distribution gap to life. Dr. Andreas Schuler is bringing many years of managerial experience as an energy expert into the YGAP team. Currently he is heading the risk organisation in a major European electricity and heat producing utility. Moreover Andreas is co-founder of the German solar lamps manufacturing company Energy and Comfort GmbH. Nolbert Muhumuza is a passionate stove expert and award-winning entrepreneur and since four years successfully running the gasifier-stove producing company Awamu Biomass Energy Ltd.. Hence he is a sales expert, very knowledgeable about the Ugandan stove market and well connected in the countries renewable energy sector. Fabian Dold was researching on off-grid solar-PV systems, associated business models and market development at the Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation in Kampala. This work unleashed Fabian's vision of fighting energy poverty as an entrepreneur. Currently he is a Physics master student at Vienna Technical University attending supplementary studies in entrepreneurship and innovation. Fabian's vision is to dedicate himself completely to YGAP after finishing his studies next year. Patricia Lalamu holds a bachelors degree in Pharmacy and worked for the United Nations World Food Programme before. Through her work for the United Nations World Food Programme she is experienced in project work and knows very well about the needs of rural communities. Patricia is in full time leading YGAP's operations and bringing the idea to live by puzzling together all the pieces on the ground. Patricia's daily ambition is to improve YGAP's services for making customers happy.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Newsletter

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

co-Founder, head of operations

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]

Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?