Envirofit is the first clean cookstove company to reach 1 million customers. This milestone was achieved on a journey that started in 2007 selling a single stove model in India. Today we have established and scaling operations in India, East Africa, West Africa and Latin America that produce an industry-leading line of over a dozen low cost, high performing clean-energy solutions.
Here is a summary of the lessons we learned along the way that have helped prove a clean cookstove company can be sustainable, and by sharing them we hope to help other social enterprises overcome common barriers to market entry and scale.
The full report is available here.
The 5 key lessons learned are:
1. Adapt, Innovate and Respond to Consumer Preferences
Shifting the perspective on product development for the BOP from beneficiary-driven to consumer driven allowed us to develop a high performing and highly aesthetic modern stove appliance that drove a 330% increase in sales.
2. Centralized Manufacturing Ensures Quality and Creates Local and Global Jobs
Pioneering the use of both centralized and local manufacturing, Envirofit improved production capacity from three stoves per day to one stove per minute. This model has helped to establish five local manufacturing facilities, create direct jobs for 480 people globally, and build a worldwide reputation for quality.
3. Scale at The Right Pace to Maximize Impact
Building a sustainable cookstove market for low-income consumers requires multi-level partnerships in design, manufacturing, and distribution. Shifting from Business-to-Consumer to Business-to-Business distribution let us scale new markets based on local demand while reducing operating costs by 75 percent and doubling sales.
4. To Reach the Last Mile, Behavior Change Needs to Be Incorporated From Design to Delivery
Selling a push product requires developing distribution channels that address willingness-to-buy objections in culturally relevant ways. Establishing our Women’s Empowerment Program helped rural female sales agents to outsell male agents three to one by equipping them with entrepreneurial skills and the confidence to use them.
5. Cookstoves are a Tool to Reach Programmatic Impacts
The delivery of clean energy products for the base of the economic pyramid needs to shift from aid- based donations to the development of consumer driven markets that deliver a range of social, economic and environmental impacts.
Click here to download the full report Cooking in 1 Million Kitchens – Lessons Learned Scaling a Social Enterprise
To learn more about the impact clean cookstoves can create for large-scale and household interventions contact firstname.lastname@example.org