Supporting budding green entrepreneurs in George

In July 2018, SEA in partnership with the Green Business College convened a 3-day advanced hotbox business skills training for the George local community to further upskill the budding hotbox entrepreneurs.

 In November 2017, SEA together with George Municipality and the George Business Chamber convened the first ever hotbox entrepreneur training course in George as means of supporting local economic development and raising awareness on clean alternative energy technologies. The course trained 35 participants from low-income households on how to manufacture and market these hotboxes under the ‘Africa’s Energy Future’ project funded by Heinrich Boell Stiftung, a German development foundation. Read more...

Following the training, SEA conducted a 6-month follow-up with the participants to determine the progress made. Based on the preliminary findings, it was found that significant progress was made by several participants who received the training – many of whom had teamed up established informal hotbox businesses operating from their homes, some participants went on to train others who then joined their businesses. However, much work remains to be done. Despite the successes, the long-term sustainability of the hotbox businesses is uncertain. Lack of general awareness in George of the hotbox technology and its significant benefits along with lack of sewing machines and advanced business management skills are among the key factors that contribute to the uncertainty around long-term sustainability of this enterprise. Very little awareness of the benefits of the hotbox technology was cited as the foremost challenge hindering participants from securing a reliable market for their hotbox businesses.

In response to these challenges, in July 2018, a 3-day advanced hotbox business skills training was provided to further upskill the budding hotbox manufacturers. The course focussed on coaching participants on how to secure capital, manage cash flow, develop business models and promote the benefits of the hotbox– critical skills identified for the successful establishment and running of a business. Participants highly valued the course as it allowed them to identify their weaknesses and transform them into strengths and sharpen their existing skills. In an effort to galvanize these training initiatives and help create a market for the entrepreneurs, SEA facilitated the spread of awareness of the hotbox technology and the entrepreneurs throughout the greater George through the local media using the George Herald, a popular local newspaper, and Eden FM Eden FM, Women on Fleek Entrepreneur Expo, as well as the Eden Green Energy Summit. These events have catalyzed the hotbox manufacturing industry in George through increased interest.

This initiative attempted to empower communities of George to be the agents of change towards a clean energy transition. An important element towards achieving this was through developing strong partnerships with local community NGOs and the municipality.