Innovation pilots

After a rigorous application and selection process for our first Innovation Challenge, GDC members voted for the most exciting ideas to pilots, which are explored below.

Bidhaa Sasa: An assessment tool to scale distribution models in new regions

This tool guides last mile distributors in their plans to scale activities. The approach requires minimum capital and therefore reduces operational risk compared to more traditional, linear approaches to achieving scale.

The tool will help last mile distributors to arrive at an understanding of their readiness to scale, as well as the most appropriate strategy for doing so. It will allow them to manage their own plan for scale and learn from Bidhaa Sasa’s experience of using the tool.

Watch Bidhaa Sasa’s webinar for more information.

SolarAid: Energy microfinance cooperative: for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs

FEBCO is an energy cooperative that creates a credit facility by pooling entrepreneurs’ own funds to leverage additional funds from external sources. This goes beyond the reach of banks and MFIs, allowing entrepreneurs to access working capital finance at affordable rates and enjoy business support services such as training, tailored apps and peer-to-peer learning.

This idea will equip other GDC members with a how-to-guide to replicate this unique access to finance model, whilst also enabling solar entrepreneurs for SolarAid’s social enterprise SunnyMoney, to grow their businesses and extend the reach of their own agent networks.

Watch SolarAid’s webinar for more information.

Ecobora: Inexpensive ‘rent-a-shelf’ solar retail kiosks

These kiosks allow distributors to track and manage inventory and access data from untapped rural markets. Costing just a few hundred dollars, the kiosks come with solar power and internet, and are built by the community, for the community, using local materials.

At the kiosks, local women entrepreneurs can sell their agri-produce, and other last mile distributors can ‘rent-a-shelf’ to sell products such as solar lanterns and fast-moving consumer goods.

This idea allows other GDC members to sell through ECOBORA’s kiosks at optimal costs and/or to replicate the solar kiosk model for their own business.

Watch Ecobora’s webinar for more information.

Mwezi: A digital training facility for the sale of solar-powered drip irrigation systems

This digital training facility for solar drip irrigation (with brand-agnostic tools) is being developed by Mwezi, to train their sales teams on how to specify, sell and service appropriate drip irrigation systems to smallholder farmers. This bespoke training is important because adding drip irrigation products to LMDs’ product mix requires very specific knowledge that sales teams may not currently hold.

These tools will be made open-source so other GDC members interested in solar drip irrigation can use them to whether this is an appropriate product to sell and if so, the best approach to sourcing, selling and servicing.

Watch Mwezi’s webinar for more information.