First two ventures ready to go
My co-founder Jochen and I went to Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda right before the lockdown and negotiated Letters of Intent for the creation of Impacc Stoves Ltd. in Ethiopia and MakaPads impacc in Uganda. In Ethiopia, practical testing for the “Noah stoves” has been completed by inventor Marius Bierig and his team, and it confirms both the technical readiness of the product and an astonishing 90% willingness to buy among the target group. In Uganda, Paul Kimera, the manager of the company his late father set up that produces MakaPads, has agreed to establish a joint venture with us in order to sell MakaPads on the open market – as opposed to the old model of selling to charities who would then distribute them for free. Corona has slowed us down – we were meant to travel to Uganda this month to develop a marketing and sales plan for MakaPads, and to select a General Manager for our stove business in Ethiopia. But at least we made great progress in developing plans for our first two joint ventures which are now ready to be executed as soon as we can travel to the region again.
Anne Lawi joins the team
We are thrilled that we could win Anne Lawi to join our team. A Kenyan national, Anne has extensive experience in Business and Startup Development, having supported more than 300 startups and SMEs across Africa. She has designed and implemented more than 50 Pan African acceleration, incubation and innovation programs. On top of that, we could win Oli Brown as Strategic Adviser. Oli has been a long-time policy officer with UNEP in Kenya with a focus on the environment in fragile contexts. He brings environmental expertise to the team to make sure that the jobs we create are part of a green economy. Gianni Sommer is a businessman from Hamburg, and he has agreed to support us in the areas of project management and finance. He will co-host Impacc in his new office space in Hamburg and share some admin resources.
Money from SIEMENS
We are happy to report that SIEMENS Foundation has decided to support the start-up of our sanitary pads venture in Uganda. Together with our private donation fundraising, this will allow us to register our joint venture in Kampala as soon as the situation on the ground is more relaxed again. On top of that, we have been lucky to win the pro bono support of many firms that believe in our approach. Freshfields and White&Case are doing all the legal work for us. Dr. Röh & Partner and Berthold Gertler are doing our taxes and keeping our books, respectively. Award-winning design agency kw43 in Düsseldorf has developed a logo and visual identity for us. Naturally, they are all feeling the heat of the lockdown, and while this has meant we had to slow down our pace somewhat I am grateful that they are still with us. Thank you!
Located right in the heart of Hamburg‘s alternative and quirky “Schanzenviertel”, it is the new home to Impacc Germany. We did the renovations ourselves and got all our office furniture donated. Good deal!
Our logo (see above in the header) was developed by design agency, KW43. The idea: currencies have been invented to serve the people. We create a new currency that puts people back at the center – the Impacc. The logo symbolises our approach: use the tools of business for social change. You like it?
We spent the last few months setting up impacc as a charitable company in Germany and finding the right venture ideas in East Africa. With that done, our focus now is on institutional fundraising with proposals being written to organisations like GIZ, German Development Cooperation. We have put private donation fundraising on hold for the moment as we felt people had other things to worry about. But now that we seem to be getting back to a new kind of normal, we will ramp up fundraising efforts again from June/July onwards. But most importantly, we are looking forward to getting back in the field to help make our stoves in Ethiopia and our pads in Uganda a success.
All the best and stay safe, Till