A costly problem becomes a profitable solution

Sector: Agriculture and Food

Year of establishment: 2010

Turnover 2015: USD150k-300k

Investment need: USD150k

Product, market solution and potential

Founded in 2011, the company sells biogas digesters and briquettes as alternative solution for firewood and charcoal. 80% of turnover is realized via the sales and installation of biogas digesters, that generate biogas from solid waste digestion (manure, bio waste, agricultural feedstock, human excrements). The biogas installations are primarily sold to schools, that benefit from cost savings up to 60% compared to using firewood. The company cleverly piggybacks on the existing distribution chain for charcoal, to sell its biomass gas briquettes to households in urban areas that previously relied on charcoal.

Entrepreneur & team

The company is owned by the two founders that are both PhD candidates on Aberdeen University; they are supported by a group of local and international professionals.

Turnover & investment need

Turnover in 2015 approached nearly USD1,000,000. The company is searching for an investment between USD200k-USD300kE, which will be used to pre-finance the sales of biogas installations to institutions to counter the barrier of high up-front investment cost. Clients will make an initial payment of 40% of the total cost of the biogas system upfront. The balance, i.e. 40%, is paid back in a period of 12-36 months, using the money that is saved by using biogas as a cooking fuel instead of firewood or charcoal.

Impact

The business has a positive impact in different areas:

  1. Environmental impact: Currently families rely on firewood for cooking and heating purposes, which causes deforestation. By offering a substitute (gas generated from solid waste digestion), the company contributes to reduced deforestation.
  2. Health impact: Firewood and charcoal cause indoor air pollution, posing a health risks. Exposure to

smoke is linked to pneumonia, lung cancer, asthma and chronic lung diseases. Concentrations of

indoor air pollutants can be significant reduced when switching from firewood to biogas (792mg/m3

to 67mg/m3)

  1. Economic impact: Providing economic support to rural and urban communities through job creation; when receiving the investment, the company looks to hire 74 workers.

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