ProjectEnergize the BoP!

Project Context

Access to clean and affordable energy is important for economic and human development. Reliable energy supply can boost the productivity of micro-enterprises. It also helps to save time: Three billion people use wood for cooking and heating. Collecting wood takes a lot of time that could be used more productively. Bright, electric light enables people to work and study after sunset.

Many people in developing countries do not have access to clean and affordable energy. 1.4 billion people have no access to electricity. Energy from kerosene or batteries is expensive. In fact, people in rural areas often spend half of their income on energy. Moreover, burning kerosene produces unhealthy fumes that cause about 1.6 million deaths per year.

Sustainable energy consumption is essential for resource and climate protection. Energy consumption is increasing rapidly in developing countries due to rising economic activities and growing populations. Carbon emissions contribute to climate change, while deforestation lowers nature’s capacity to absorb CO2. Desertification and loss of biodiversity are further negative effects.

Project Objective

The objective of the project was to enable companies through know-how to develop sustainable energy business models in low-income markets. Therefore, the research project looked at two main questions:

  • Business Development: What steps should be taken to develop an inclusive business model? What are the necessary assets in each phase of the business development?
  • Solutions at the interface with the customer: Which steps like sales, distribution or billing are important for the customer interface? What are the challenges for companies in these processes? What promising options exist to organize these processes?

Project Output

The study identified promising options for establishing energy business models by looking at a wide range of existing documented cases and analyzing 30 of them in depth. The research focused on the interface of the business with the customer from marketing and sales to the end-of-life phase.

The results of the study were captured in a practical tool. The ‚Inclusive Energy Business Model Generators’  provides various design options for each of the business model elements. The tool can thus be used as a framework to develop new business models.

The results were published in a printed study and are the basis for a practitioners workshop being repeated on demand.

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