Incubating clean energy distribution enterprises in the last mile

ENVenture is an incubator that empowers rural community based organisations (CBO) in Uganda to learn business skills to launch their own sustainable enterprises selling high-impact clean energy products. Through leveraging existing community structures, ENVenture opens up distribution channels through innovative financing for locally-run sustainable enterprises, which allows low-income consumers to access clean energy technologies.

Focused on solar products, improved cookstoves, briquettes, and water filters, ENVenture upskills CBOs to become last mile distributors that build markets for clean energy products.

ENVenture works with CBOs to enable them to set up shops in their localities, thereby also creating livelihoods for locals, as well as increasing the revenue base for the CBO’s ongoing charitable work. It does this through a dedicated capacity-building curriculum delivered through a series of bootcamps and one-to-one advisory services through its Business Development Fellows programme.

TRANSFORM is supporting ENVenture to formalise its Uganda operations and to test the model with 50 CBO partners over the course of the project’s duration.

Specifically, TRANSFORM has supported the establishment of a dedicated in-country team and the capitalisation of a revolving loan fund to provide loans to CBOs with the start-up capital needed to establish their enterprises. To further support the success of the last-mile distribution model, ENVenture will develop and test a mobile app to allow shopkeepers to better track their sales and orders.

Over the next five years, ENVenture aims to grow the organisation’s footprint to work with 250 CBOs across Uganda, impacting an estimated 750,000 beneficiaries. Learnings from the pilot in Uganda will test assumptions for creating a viable model for scale that can subsequently be scaled to other countries.

Aneri Pradhan, Founder and Executive Director of ENVenture said, “TRANSFORM is a really remarkable program that encourages the testing of new early-stage distribution models to reach low-income consumers. TRANSFORM understands that innovation is truly needed on the delivery of new technologies, not just the design. ENVenture is thrilled to leverage the expertise that Unilever has to offer on distribution, as well as the support from the UK’s Department For International Development.”