How 1 Company is Bringing Clean Energy to Underserved Communities in Africa

On an otherwise reasonable evening in July, over 1000 people packed an auditorium in Boulder Colorado for the culmination of the Unreasonable Institute. They came to watch 12 ventures, tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges, take the stage and share their plans to help define progress in our time. This is one of those talks.


The entrepreneur in this video, Mark Mutaahi is the Uganda Country Director of UpEnergy. They are distributing clean cookstoves in Africa, increasing the availability of cooking stoves to underserved populations.

What is the urgent social or environmental need you’re addressing?

500 million households worldwide still use inefficient cooking methods such as three-stone fires. These methods emit nearly 1 billion tons of greenhouse gases per year and cause 3.5 million premature deaths each year from smoke exposure. Additionally, hundreds of millions of households lack access to clean water and use dangerous kerosene lamps for lighting. We can change that.

Over the past decade, high-quality technologies have been designed to address these issues. However, few companies have been able to deliver these products in large quantities and at affordable prices to geographically dispersed populations with limited disposable income.

What is your solution to this need? Describe your business strategy.

UpEnergy delivers life-changing technologies like high efficiency cookstoves and solar lights to underserved households. As a technology agnostic distribution company, UpEnergy selects suppliers that manufacture high quality and locally appropriate technologies for its markets. UpEnergy supports distribution through its channels with social marketing, logistics and after-sales service.

About the author

Unreasonable Institute

Unreasonable Institute

The Unreasonable Institute arms entrepreneurs creating solutions to the world’s biggest social and environmental problems with the mentorship, capital, and networks they need to do so.