Acumen, the nonprofit social venture fund has today announced a $800,000 investment in equity in Green Energy and Biofuels (GEB), a Nigerian company creating cooking solutions for West Africa’s low-income households.
Green Energy & Biofuels manufactures and distributes an innovative, smoke free cook stove that utilizes an environment friendly fuel gel. The bio gel, developed from cellulosic ethanol made from water hyacinth and sawdust is safer, cleaner and cheaper than kerosene and burns more efficiently, giving families not only a safer cooking environment.
More than 40 percent of urban households and a staggering 92 percent of rural households in Nigeria still depend on biomass for their cooking, contributing to the roughly 1.5 million deaths worldwide caused each year from indoor air pollution.
“We are excited to support Femi Oye, our second Nigerian entrepreneur, to scale up Green Energy Biofuels and meet the growing demand for this critically needed cleaner and cheaper alternative cooking fuel for Nigeria’s low-income communities,” Mr. Godfrey Mwindaare, Acumen’s West Africa Director said. “Despite their vulnerabilities, it is sad to see the rural and urban poor spend a huge chunk of their incomes on inefficient and dirty fuels for their cooking needs.”
To date, Green Energy & Biofuels has already sold more than 400,000 cook stoves, impacting the lives of more than three million people. Acumen’s investment will help the company to provide management support services, build its technical assistance and ramp up its production to meet the demands of its growing customer base.
“We started with a mission to build Africa’s foremost Waste to Energy Enterprise with the gut to challenge the status quo and redefine why Clean Energy must be accessible, available and free,” Mr. Femi Oye, CEO of Green Energy BioFuels said. “We are happy to have Acumen as a friend. Today we are not only receiving an investment but Acumen is also bringing love and support into our business. We welcome on board a partner that will help stimulate and accelerate GEB to becoming a social enterprise that delivers innovation, prosperity and new energy for the future.’’
Since 2011, Acumen has invested over $6 million in West Africa. The organization has five active investments in sustainable, scalable businesses delivering affordable products and services to both rural and urban low-income communities. Acumen’s recent investments in the region include Esoko, a technology platform that connects African smallholder farmers to markets via mobile phones and PagaTech, an innovative financial services platform that enables low-income customers to manage their money using mobile technology.