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.

  • kyle055

    Considering this was from over a year ago, what are the updates on these projects? Sounds good and hopeful with a great cause toward reaching out to families in need.

  • ReneeBinder

    I think what they are doing is great. It is helping people out and it is also better for the environment. I really like their idea.

  • Morgan H

    Sounds like a this company is helping families biggest problems in Uganda! I’m curious if this is a non-profit organization or if the product is just sold at a reasonable price? Since your distribution is most of your costs, do you get the money from donations? Hope your company continues to make a huge difference, great work!

  • Nlund1

    I had no idea that cooking could emit so much greenhouse gases, I just never thought about it. It’s great to see so many companies looking to help so many people.

  • ali Alamri

    I really like when people looking for helping other people

  • Kaila Witthun

    This is so cool. Good for them. It is amazing what some people coming together with a common goal can do. I see that their goal was for 2015 and well it is 2015 and I wonder if they reached their goal. I hope they did.

  • Cameron Morrell

    I also wonder if the company is a non profit, because it changes how the company functions. Its interesting to see how distribution plays into products, and access to these services that many people take for granted. Really makes you think about how money plays into the problems of the world today.