PHOTO CREDIT: © VINCENT L LONG
Small and growing businesses are diverse, from tech startups in Kenya, to coffee cooperatives in Nicaragua, to social enterprises in India.
CAJOU ESPOIR - TOGO
Cajou Espoir is Togo’s first cashew processor. West Africa produces half of the world’s cashews, but exports over 95% as raw nuts. Cajou Espoir was founded in 2004 by entrepreneurs who saw an opportunity to develop local processing capacity, and to create jobs in an area where the majority of people live on less than $1 a day. Cajou Espoir launched in 2004 with less than 30 employees, but has since grown to employ over 500 people. The facility processes over 2,000 tons of cashew annually for US and European buyers. Cajou Espoir plans to develop a second facility in Togo.
CDS provides access to water and electricity services for all, especially those in the isolated zones of Northern Mauritania. In 2014, they provided 20,000 people with access to drinking water. The company has created 25 permanent jobs. CDS’s activity is threefold: public service delegation of water and electricity in partnership with the State and local authorities, installment and maintenance for electro-mechanic works and distribution of water and electricity equipment, based on renewable energies.
Fonkoze - Haiti
Good building infrastructure and safety can literally be a matter of life and death. In Haiti, increased access to finance is helping local entrepreneurs produce quality, disaster-resistant cinderblocks, creating jobs, and scaling their businesses in the process.
IOT breeds sea cucumbers, an endangered species. With a team of Malagasy scientists, the company has developed an exclusive growing technique and partners with neighboring fishermen who raise them to maturity, before re-selling them at a good price to IOT to be dried, packed and exported. IOT pursues a dual objective: preserve marine wildlife and improve living conditions of local fishermen. In six years, the company created 185 jobs, 76 of them on a permanent basis.
Microclinic Technologies - Kenya
Microclinic Technologies specializes in health care management and health systems development, focusing on improving affordable, quality care to the most rural parts of Kenya. For young mothers, especially, this kind of care becomes a matter of life and death for themselves and their children. Microclinic Technologies uses ZiDi, a tablet-based software program, to look at data and create a management system that will help the clinic make good decisions, and help pharmacies keep better inventories to reduce the shortage of essential medicines and prevent people from turning to illicit sources for these medicines.
Simpa Networks - India
Simpa Networks provides electricity to off-grid communities and trains local entrepreneurs to install and maintain solar rooftops. For the 2.6 billion people worldwide without reliable access to electricity, solar-power is a cheaper and cleaner alternative to fuels like kerosene. But poor households and shops in rural India cannot afford the up-front cost of these systems. Simpa Networks tackles that challenge through a two-pronged approach: a progressive payment model that makes solar affordable for base-of-the-pyramid customers, and developing and working through Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs). Simpa equips its products with pay-as-you-go technology that unlocks the system as the customer needs it. As part of its operating model, the the company, a social enterprise, trains and works through VLES to improve field delivery to their customers. Simpa has plans to expand to install one million solar rooftops by 2020.
Soppexcca - Nicaragua
SOPPEXCCA creates opportunity for women. SOPPEXCCA is a Nicaraguan coffee cooperative started in 1999 by 68 enterprising coffee farmers. The cooperative has since grown to represent 650. The nearly 200 women members of SOPPEXCCA have created a separate, high-quality brand called “Las Hermanas” that they sell directly to buyers in the US and Europe. The female manager of SOPPEXCCA has led the way in helping women in her community increase their income and economic empowerment.
Threads of Freedom - India
What if there were a market-based solution that could bring girls who have been rescued from sex trafficking back into society and independent living? What if that solution already exists? Threads of Freedom is a social enterprise based in India that helps victims of sex trafficking reclaim their sense of agency through meaningful employment and social support.
Wecyclers is a social enterprise aiming to improve waste management in informal settlements in Lagos, Nigeria. The enterprise carries out collection using delivery tricycles known as Wecycles. The waste is then sorted and delivered to local recycling plants. Wecyclers rewards families with household objects depending on the volume of waste collected, helping integrate a culture of recycling in the communities. Wecyclers has more than 3,400 partner households, has created 50 jobs and collected 525 tons of waste.
Learn more about this and other African SGBs through the dedicated Small is Powerful project >