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Center For Innovation, Science and Technology (CIST) Africa Limited
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Center For Innovation, Science And Technology (Cist) Africa Limited

Quick Info

Tel:  +254 723 624 744

Email:   ochikarwa@yahoo.com

Industry:  Renewable Energy

Funding Raised: Secured KES. 2.95M inseed funding

Funding Required: The business requires an investment of KES. 5.625M to scale up

Use of Proceeds:

  • Purchase of machinery and equipment
  • Automate processes
  • Marketing
  • Improve production capacity

 

Revenue Forecast:

2018

2019

2020

100,000

300,000

500,000

Number of Employees: 12

 

Business Description

Centre for Innovation, Science and Technology – Africa (CIST Africa) began as a school-based initiative in 2009. The enterprise deals with the manufacture and sale of bio ethanol fuel from water hyacinth feedstock blended and stabilized for cooking and lighting. It is located in Siaya County

Problem/Solution

Households in Kenya spend at least Ksh. 85 to purchase kerosene or charcoal daily. At least 3 hours are wasted on cooking an average meal using biomass, 2 hours lost in fetching wood fuel, denying girls a chance to remain in school and women to pursue productive work. In addition, water hyacinth covers more than half of Lake Victoria, impairing all economic activities in the lake. Few tangible commercial uses of this weed have been identified and it therefore remains to be seen as a curse by the locals. There is a need to sustainably manage it. Green bio-fuel is an eco-friendly, clean, reliable and affordable alternative aimed at addressing these challenges to meet household energy needs.

Products/Service

Thebiofuel produced by CIST is Ksh.15 cheaper than kerosene and charcoal and cooks faster and for longer (boils one liter of water in 3 minutes; burns continuously for 5 hours on high power knob) emitting neither soot nor smell. It will also save the women and girls time that would otherwise be spent on fetching wood fuel.

Market

At least75% of Kenyans live in rural areas. This group forms our largest target market. We also target the semi-urban and informal settlement dwellers that currently use fossil fuels and fuel woods to meet their energy needs. In addition, CIST Africa has identified a potential niche market in the over 2 million refugees and internally displaced persons in Kenya. These displaced people often do not have access to modern forms of clean energy mainly due to the high costs.

Competitive Landscape

The energy sector in Kenya is dominated by petroleum and electricity, with wood fuel providing the basic energy needs of the rural communities, urban poor, and the informal sector.Many of the target markets currently use firewood and kerosene which is quite readily available in the rural areas and is thus CIST Africa’s biggest competitor. However, currently there are no other players producing green biofuel using water hyacinth.

Business Model and Distribution Channels

The bio ethanol fuel is distributed directly to the customers in the village. We also use wholesalers, retailers, kiosks, where they extend the chain to the final consumers. We also sell through our Facebook page when customers make places orders. We sell at competitive prices where 1 liter retails at Ksh. 70 while kerosene retails at Ksh. 85.

Traction to Date

CIST-Africa has purchased equipment and is currently producing biofuel leading to an income estimate of 1.8 million in 2017. 12 people have been employed in the business. 200 households (about 1000 people) are directly benefiting from the use of clean energy. Currently the business has a test certificate, and is undergoing legal business registration process with assistance from legal services from National Environmental Trust Fund.

Competitive Advantage

  • Relatively cheaper and Clean producing neither soot nor smell
  • Strong heat (boils one liter of water 3 in minutes)
  • Highly stabilized hence burns longer and produces low emissions
  • Packed in different volumes with flexible sizing to fit demand

Management Team

  • Richard Arwa – CEO
  • Ochanda Okongo – Operations Manager
  • Anne Odundo – Finance & Admin Officer
  • Irene Juma – Marketing Officer