Green Bio Energy
Producing and distributing innovative, eco-friendly alternative cooking solutions to customers
GBE is a young, award-winning social enterprise, which offers low-income Ugandan families access to cost-saving, eco-friendly and safe energy solutions. GBE started producing and selling Briketi Charcoal Briquettes, the first brand of eco-friendly charcoal in Uganda, at the end of 2012, and started producing and selling its own brand of energy-efficient stoves, Briketi Eco Stoves, in July 2013. GBE has also recently started selling small amounts of solar lamps and water filters, both relevant to reduce pollution and enable money savings. Finally, GBE provides individuals and organizations with trainings on topics such as micro-enterprise management or briquettes production, and sells equipments for small-scale briquettes production.
What makes GBE stand out is its vision and application of innovation, which it calls “humble innovation”, a middle ground between the Western technological expertise and the Local innovation capacity. It is first translating in its local content approach: GBE exclusively uses local human and material resources all along its value chain. For its supplies, GBE has built strong partnerships notably with charcoal retailers to recycle their charcoal dust, and with communities to process their organic waste. For the distribution of its products, GBE always favors its network of B-Points – independent micro-entrepreneurs that GBE trains to introduce and distribute its products in communities at the BoP (Bottom of the Pyramid).
This vision also encompasses the products development, for which GBE positions itself at the crossroad of the Western technological expertise and the local innovation capacity. Since its creation, GBE has followed a bottom-up approach, always including local communities in its design & testing process; as with the current development of a new prototype of cook stove (tested for significant improvements), and non-carbonized briquettes (best substitutes for firewood).
Throughout 2013 and 2014, GBE has developed its control procedures, has built-up a complementary team and has optimized of its logistics and distribution processes. At the same time, at GBE has developed strategic alliances, with local and international partners, such as the MIT’s Harvest Fuel Initiative, the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), Living Goods or BRAC.
These products, services and processes are collaboratively and innovatively designed for GBE to achieve its three goals of social change, environmental impact, and economic sustainability. Thus, in 2014,the sales of GBE’s products, over their full lifetimes, allowed its customers to save 726,000 USD, preserved 10.3 tons of trees and offset 33.81 tons of CO2. In addition, the company provided incomes to 150+ employees and value chain actors. Finally, GBE has a significant impact on women, who are its main end-users and the majority of its micro-entrepreneurs and supply partners.
GBE’s vision is a world where everyone can access affordable, clean and safe energy. To reach this dream, GBE needs to leverage the whole industry’s strengths to diversify its activities, optimize and scale-up its production, to progressively make the East-African population – starting with Ugandans, shift towards energy-saving solutions.
Harvest Fuel Initiative (MIT), offered GBE support for distribution at the BoP, provided the help of 4 volunteers, and has provided continuous technical assistance for stoves and briquettes.
Global Alliance for Clean Cook stoves provides in-depth information, technical resources and assistance, networking support and financial awards.
World Wildlife Fund gives regular support for the mitigation of climate change and carbon emission reduction.
Design Without Borders, a Norwegian non-profit organisation, provides technical support to improve the enterprise’s production process.
Global Village Energy Partnership provides market insights, networking support and advisory in investment contractualization.
Global Social Business Incubator offered a mentorship program for David Gerard, the Deputy Managing Director, from October 2013 to April 2014.
The 2014 SEED Low Carbon Awards are largely supported by the International Climate Initiative (ICI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
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