It is high time that I get you up to date again on all the latest developments at Impacc: I used a moment of calm in Covid-19 numbers to work in Africa where our team has grown, and funding is secured. And in Europe, spreading the word has brought first results.
First two ventures fully funded, more to come
I have just come back from Ethiopia and Uganda, and I come back full of energy and optimism. It was refreshing to ride through Kampala on a Boda (the local motorcycle taxis) again and to feel the buzz of Makerere University that hosted me. But it was even more satisfying to drive down to Oromia in southern Ethiopia and talk to users of our clay gasifiers and shop owners who are willing to store them. They all confirm the massive need for a stove that burns with a clean flame and that produces charcoal in the cooking process. And I finally got the chance to meet the two entrepreneurs who are piloting stove production in the country: Danny Woledetensay runs a seed-ball production on his farm in Wolkite, while Aklilu Kasa has an established charcoal stove business in Awash and now wants to branch out into gasifiers.
Ethiopian consumer connect
We are very grateful for SOS Children’s Villages who have just granted us €200,000 to set up 8 stove production facilities to benefit vulnerable communities in SOS locations.
This arrived pretty much at the same time as a further €200,000 from the Swedish government to ramp up our sanitary pads business in Uganda.
With both our “first generation” ventures now fully funded, it is time for us to widen our reach. Our “Call for Entrepreneurs” closed yesterday, and we are happy that more than 300 entrepreneurs from 23 African countries applied; our offering of patient capital for social businesses is clearly meeting a need. With the pro bono support of Allianz Consulting, we will now start the due diligence process to narrow that list down to 3-5 ventures for which we will start fundraising soon. Watch this space for some incredibly energetic entrepreneurs and their ingenious ideas that serve bottom of pyramid markets.
Team Africa is on the rise
As I predicted in my last newsletter, the team has grown again. After we achieved gender parity last year, I am really happy that our presence in Africa now matches that in Germany. Lidewij Rouhof is proving invaluable in building our MakaPads venture and getting our message out in rural Uganda. She has recently shared her experience of Menstrual Hygiene Day in a blogpost.
We have just opened up a new hub in Nairobi (headed by Anne Lawi) and welcomed Yego Kevins into our team. An accomplished coder turned web developer turned designer turned researcher, Yego will be instrumental in shaping our digital platform that helps our franchisees grow.
Matthias Rauthmann has just arrived in Accra to assume the role of Social Venture Builder for WashKing Ghana, the maker of biodigester toilets for slums. And Jochen is about to hire a Social Venture Builder in Ethiopia to accelerate our work there.
Our message is getting out
The last two months have seen quite some media activity. Our campaign has aired across Hamburg, Cologne and Berlin because Ströer SE, one of the big outdoor marketers in Germany, have donated their roadside and train station screens to the value of €500,000. After a first wave in June, a second and third will follow in September and November, respectively.
We have also received some press coverage (mainly in German, sorry) from various German newspapers, magazines and podcasts.
I am in Kenya as we speak to help create the first draft of our scale-up platform for franchisees in Africa. Watch this space for more.
And we are beginning to present our idea to potential supporters such as Rotary and Lions Clubs; if you have an idea on how we could get our message in front of some “crowds”, drop me a line at email@example.com.
Africa is full of opportunities. For local talent to seize them, we believe it takes eye-level partnerships and some support along the way.
Thanks for sharing our ideals and stay safe,