Tanzania and Kenya July 17th-23rd 2017
Tour Purpose: Test feasibility of launching an off-grid technology center in east Africa.
Project Vision: We wish the establish an off-grid technology center, similar to the one we have working in the Arava, that will employ approx. 10 developers dealing with energy, water and food challenges of the developing world. East Africa is our initial target market. This project is aiming to include local marketing and training for the included technologies.
Tour Details: We were introduced to the east African energy market, and the local companies, organization and investment firms that make potential project partners.
The first three days of our tour in Nirobi we held nine meetings with a vriaty of potential partners – off grid marketing advisors, cook stove startups, two venture capital companies specializing in the developing world, Israeli ‘Amiran’ company and two non-profit organizations dealing with micro-grids, one of which is an American-African-based company.
The last three days we were in Tanzania, where we held more meetings and a few tours in potential demonstration sites. We met with a large non-profit for the benefit of health in rural Tanzania. We met with a local solar marketing company and local entrepreneurs working in hydroponic agriculture for the tourism market. One the more notable tours we held was in a deaf orphanage as a potential site for our project with the goal to build agriculture co-ops around the premises.
Conclusions: The African market is very complicated. In the assumption we wish to manufacture technologies that has a real positive impact on local population we must join to a local partner or more. We also must find a work site and foreign funding.
The east African culture is frugal and minimalist. Citizens money resources are scarce and thus any business plan must rely on international financial support, preferably from a company that is not profit driven and can withstand long term ROI’s.
Our chosen partner must be one with the financial ability and the experience to help us not only with funding and a work-site establishment but also with local personnel and local government procedures.
In our work we must maximize our demonstration center to include technologies both to the domestic and the commercial-industrial market. We must have at least one commercial-industrial client that is a large infrastructure (water or energy) consumer.
Our goal is to develop both the Arava and the African demonstration villages simultaneously.
Next Step: For the first step post our tour we will present our work and findings to the Eilat-Eilot board of directors. Once our project is approved we will start the process of choosing a partner and hold in depth focused meetings with the proposed partner. Project schedule anticipates legal documents with a partner to be signed by the end of 2018 and finding a financial partner by the end of the first quarter of 2019.
If all goes well, we will be grateful for the opportunity. For us the sky is the limit!