Report from Uganda: Scaling Improved Cookstove Companies
Improved cookstoves (ICS) have great potential to reduce the negative effects of cooking emissions, and products can be beneficial for users ranging from rural villagers to high-end consumers. However, despite the high potential for social impact, ICS manufacturers and distributors struggle with low margins, poor customer adoption, and lagging business growth. To tackle these issues, the MIT D-Lab’s Off-Grid Energy Group has conducted a research study of Ugandan improved cookstove (ICS) companies, with the goal of further understanding the growth of these businesses.
The study analyzed how the growth of Ugandan improved cookstove companies depends upon the expertise and resources of the founding team, and why local and international founders can face different challenges acquiring resources. From this analysis, low-risk pathways are outlined for business growth, addressing why company opportunities and growth rates differ between international and local founders, and proposing actions to increase opportunities for local founders.