entrepreneur turns waste into energy
When Benard Makachia decided to start a business, he wanted something that was both profitable and socially conscious. He was first motivated to help mitigate climate change, but also inspired to create jobs for youth. A community advocate and non-profit founder, Bernard took a first step into the business world when he launched Chabri Energy Company in 2019. Watch this short video and meet Bernarnd.
Bernard was committed to find a way for families, businesses, and schools to cook without contributing to destruction of the environment. In light of extensive deforestation in Tanzania, this was a great idea. Usable biowaste was readily available to manufacture his product, called 'Kuni Smart Briquettes.' However, Bernard soon learned that having a great idea is only the first step as an entrepreneur.
When Wesley College launched Tukuwe, its business incubator, Bernard was one of the first participants, during its pilot phase. Through Tukuwe, businesses are paired up with mentors* to help them move their ideas toward success and sustainability.
Through the pilot, Bernard gained skills necessary to create markets for his product through community education. Sales increased 15%, and the company moved towards wholesale contracts. He trained retail distributors in the key selling points of clean briquettes.
With the help of Tukuwe, the company increased production, hiring nine staff members and growing capacity to over 20,000 tons of briquettes each year. Chabri Energy now envisions becoming a leader in clean cooking energy and expanding distribution to more major cities in Tanzania. Currently, their primary market is schools. When asked about his plans for the near future, Bernard told us:
"In the next two-to-five years, we see ourselves venturing into small industries that use fuel for their boilers. We will want to venture into that, because they are the biggest destroyers of our trees. In order to get one ton of firewood they have to cut down 20 trees. So every time we produce a ton of this briquette, we are actually saving 20 trees. And it is easier to save a tree than to plant one."
We are excited about the future for Bernard, Chabri Energy, and the environment of Tanzania. This is an example of what is possible when Tukuwe partners with local businesses to help them grow their reach, increase profitability, and prepare for larger investments.
*One key mentor for Bernard was Kimberly Watson, a UMC Mission Volunteer. Read her story here.