Catalyzing the Sector: The Catalytic Small Grant Program
Global financing mechanisms alone are not sufficient to foster thriving clean cooking markets in the Alliance’s focus countries. There is a need for country-specific mechanisms that fund capacity building and growth of start-up and venture stage companies, particularly those that are locally owned and operated.
The Catalytic Small Grant Program is a new initiative by the Alliance to provide companies with funding to improve their operations and implement growth initiatives to better position themselves for future investment. Recipients are selected after undergoing an investment readiness analysis to identify key internal capacity development and growth initiatives. The Alliance has launched the program in Ghana and will it out the other focus countries in Phase 2 (2015-2017).
Five Ghanaian companies will be the first to receive a Catalytic Small Grant beginning in August 2014. One common factor among each of the companies selected for funding is the presence of a strong leader who has in-depth knowledge of the market. One such leader is Suraj Wahab, the CEO of Toyola Energy. Suraj, a serial entrepreneur, founded Toyola Energy in 2006, and was named the African Energy Personality of the Year by the Africa Energy Awards in 2010. Toyola Energy has an effective distribution models, utilizing an extensive network of over 250 door-to-door sales agents. Toyola Energy also employs a simple, but innovative form of consumer financing- providing loans to consumers to purchase their cookstoves, while also providing money boxes to store savings from reduced purchases of charcoal to pay back these loans. Toyola will use their Alliance Catalytic Small Grant funding to expand their managerial team and increase production capacity. This, in effect, will help scale the enterprise and position it for follow-on investment capital.
Another commonality among the Catalytic Small Grant recipients is their potential to scale both in financial sustainability and social impact. Man & Man Enterprises, founded in 2006 and formally incorporated in 2013, has substantially grown in revenues and production without the use of carbon financing. Man & Man Enterprises has provided improved cooking technology to close to 200,000 individuals over two years, and will use the Catalytic Small Grant to strengthen their distribution channels.
Other companies in the Catalytic Small Grant portfolio include: Ghana Cylinder and Manufacturing Company, CookClean Ghana Ltd., and Montals Engineering Enterprise. To learn more about the Catalytic Small Grant Program, contact Stevie Valdez at email@example.com.