One of the most difficult tasks that I have engaged in over the past 18 months is finding the fiance/funding for my business. I have submitted applications to banks, to investors and to individuals. No luck yet. I am not naive and I had to ask myself a simple question: If so many people say “NO” than I must have a crappy product, or I must be useless at pitching or I must be delusional. All these ideas did cross my mind, and yet I still continue in my pursuit, surely I must be mad, insane, of my rockers, or am I?
The reality is that I have just spoken to the wrong people! I have to and I will find the right investor or supporter. Why am I so confident? It’s really simple, I think that the people or organisations that I approached just don’t get it! I am not being unrealistic, simplistic or naive, but just read my pitch below and see if I am right (or mad).
South Africa is struggling to meet its energy needs. The national grid has less than 2% reserve, that is capacity over demand, the norm is 10%. Our country is one of the top 10 polluters in terms of green house gas emissions, most due to energy production from coal. The government is on record of saying that we will reduce our CO2 emissions by 30% (President Zuma speaking at COP16 Denmark). The govt is committed to renewable energy to reduce reliance on coal and to reduce GHGs. There is state support in the form of subsidies and rebates for green/energy saving products.We all have to find ways top reduce our energy consumption. Additional energy is getting very expensive in South Africa. The price has doubled in the last 5 years and is set to double over the the next decade again. Energy efficiency requirements for new buildings is now written into the building code via new legislation already passed. Energy efficiency, and renewable energy is going to be a huge opportunity
Elevator pitch: I want to expand the heat pump market in South Africa by selling 1000 units per year. This is energy saving device that saves up to 35% of the energy bill of households. This product will save consumers and businesses money, it will cut energy consumption and reduce green house gas emissions (reduce your carbon foot-print). I also want to sell solar systems to people who are currently energy poor/off-the grid so to speak. South Africa has one of the highest solar resources (solar radiation or insolation) in the world. This is a free energy source and it is a travesty that we still have people who don’t have access to electricity in South Africa and surrounding regions.
I believe that this is an opportunity that is worth pursuing and that is exactly what I am doing, notwithstanding ALL those who have already said no to me.
Note: I have listened to all the constructive input from the various parties/banks/funders and I have incorporated relevant enhancements into the business proposal. So I am listening and thus not ignoring the contributions of said people. (Just in case someone accuses me of arrogance or inflexibility)
Link to my business selling heat pumps: www.zerocarbon.co.za
Link to my business developing solar projects: www.enerlogy.co.za
Zero Carbon is proud to announce that it has joined The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership that seeks to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions.
Alliance Mission and Goals
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves seeks to mobilize high-level national and donor commitments toward the goal of universal adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels. Its ambitious but achievable goal is to foster the adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels in 100 million households by 2020. The Alliance is mobilizing support from a wide range of private, public, and non-profit stakeholders.
To Achieve Those Goals The Alliance Will:
Partner with nations as well as public, private and non-profit organizations to address the production, deployment and use of clean cookstoves in the developing world following these three key steps:
1. Address the global needs to reach large scale adoption
2. Targets countries that emphasize market-based solutions
3. Coordinate a global plan across all key sectors
How the Sector Will Succeed
This worldwide effort calls for a multi-faceted, market based approach that addresses the challenges associated with traditional cookstoves, encourages innovation, and learns from within and outside the sector in order to effectively catalyze and develop markets for self-sustenance and continued growth.
The Alliance will measure progress and success while addressing evidence gaps and promoting continuous quality improvement. Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a core component of the Alliance’s ability to measure progress achieved in the following areas: 1) number of households adopting clean, safe, and efficient cookstoves and fuels; and 2) our mission statement: saving lives, improving livelihoods, empowering women, and preserving the environment. The Alliance plans to design, develop and implement an M&E system that is interactive and easy to use for both users and contributors across the value chain.
In urban areas where property is at a premium, the harnessing of roof space is an attractive option for energy generation. Roofs that are reasonably flat, free of shade, and at a suitable angle provide ideal sites for solar PV energy generation. Solar PV rooftop installations are becoming one of the more feasible and reliable ways that solar energy can be exploited for small scale generation in cities.
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I am attending an event hosted by the M&G’s Critical Thinking Forum called CARBON PRICING: What would the impact be on South AFrican Citizens?
Quite a lofty question indeed. Should I even care? Should any of us care? Carbon pricing, carbon trading, carbon anything is at the moment under discussion in various fora (forums) some where in the world. It may seem out of timing, what with COP 17 a distant memory.
The question is however a serious one. The introduction of a carbon tax will affect everyone, rich, middle class, and the poor. Allowing debate, listening and engaging in conversation is essential for the argument to gain intensity.
So, I ask again should I care, just a little bit, if at all?
I will attempt to answer that question over the next hour or two. read the next post
If it’s true that small businesses account for a significant portion of job creation and contribution to the economy then why is it so difficult to start a small business in South Africa?
The red tape, the myriad of forms, licenses and application is such a daunting task that one could easily give up if one as without a certain amount of tenacity.
It seems as if officialdom is totally opposed to assisting small businesses to get started. It seems as if they consider small business somewhat of an irritation rather than as a boon to job creation and economic freedom.
A more small business friendly approach is not difficult to adopt. With some creative thinking a fast track system could easily be implemented using online systems, the Internet and virtual offices.