An Entrepreneurial Initiative for Distributing Energy Efficient Products in Low Income Communities

Energy TeamAlmost half the households in South Africa are regarded as energy poor, spending more than 10% of their income on energy. We developed an entrepreneurial initiative to help community members support themselves by selling energy efficient products in low income areas, expanding access to safe and energy efficient products while increasing livelihood opportunities. Our team collaborated with the City of Cape Town’s Office of Sustainable Livelihoods and product distributors to evaluate current distribution methods and possible locations. Together, we concluded that crèches, or preschools, are promising distribution locations to start distribution businesses in low income communities as they reach the target market, are established businesses within the community, and have crèche leaders who already lead entrepreneurial efforts. We developed a Business Model around crèches as the distribution location and provided business start-up resources in an Entrepreneurial Support Packet. We started pilot programs using the efficient Wonderbag cooking product at two crèches, one in a middle income neighborhood and one in a low income township, to evaluate and refine our Entrepreneurial Initiative so it can be replicated at other crèches. Additionally, we interviewed community members in the informal settlements of Langrug, Nyanga, and Flamingo Crescent to assess energy practices and needs. Based on this information, we developed savings-payment plans that are suitable for low income communities and created a product catalog. The crèche leader has an opportunity to expand their distribution business and improve the livelihoods of their community by bringing products needed to address health and safety risks.


Learn More

  • Our research prior to arriving in Cape Town can be found on the Background page
  • The planning behind our project can be read on the Planning page
  • Information about the Energy Team and the people we are working with is on the Partnerships page
  • Our Acts and Scenes can be read through the Project Narrative page
  • The team’s findings are reported on the Outcomes page
  • The Bibliography for our project can be found on the References page


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You can also contact the Cape Town Project Center at