Kenyan company provides an alternative to firewood using agricultural waste

We speak to Chebet Lesan, CEO of BrightGreen Renewable Energy, a Kenyan company that reduces the cost of cooking by producing eco-friendly charcoal briquettes under the MOTO brand. The product is made from post-harvest waste.

Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in as a business owner.

One of the early challenges we faced was building a business case with almost zero data. A business plan is a set of assumptions and one of the ways to de-risk these is to base them on quality data. Quality data is up to date, relevant to the region and detailed; we had none of these. Charcoal and firewood are an informal market and processes are seldom recorded. We spent more than a year defining our market, trying to understand the customer, the product and the behaviour. It was an expensive, time-consuming process.

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