Wanted: aspiring business owner

Quentin BAYART is lately seen running around with Carlo Figá Talamanca, a consultant engaged by GERES to help craft a most feasible and investment-attractive business plan for a new improved cookstove (ICS) technology and product developed by GERES a little over a year ago, tentatively called the Khmer Rocket Stove (KhRoS). Quentin – as everybody else who has business sense and who has seen the current business plan – is convinced of the viability of the enterprise and the massive potential of the market. The real challenge, Quentin says, is finding the right and willing person or organization to take over the social business.

People who are familiar with GERES works will likely see a pattern to how the organization works – 1) invent a climate-friendly, life-changing product – 2) make a business out of it for faster and sustainable dissemination, and to provide livelihood and income to many people along the way – 3) hand over the enterprise fully to a skilled and willing entrepreneur/organization – and, finally, 4) step back and enjoy the view of how a fully independent initiative transforms lives and helps make Cambodia a better place to live in little by little..

The first two steps are pretty straightforward; they are GERES’ areas of expertise after all. GERES, through its Technical Research & Development and Biomass Energy Laboratory units, consistently develops new technologies –and then, to ensure quality, tests these and other technologies proposed by others – to keep up with changing and growing demand in Southeast Asia. Considered the ideal stove for urban users, the Khmer Rocket Stove is made of an insulative ceramic for the combustion chamber, a concrete bottom, and an additional insulation made of high-temperature wool. It features a cast iron grate and an air-inlet adjustable door to allow the user to control the heat easily, and according to tests, is around 25 percent more efficient than the earlier ICS models developed by GERES.

Moreover, in planning towards creating the business, Quentin is getting help from Carlo who advises him on analyzing the market, coming up with a distribution strategy – generally, on how to make the business attractive among potential investors.

Quentin says they are looking at approaching impact investors, or those that invest in businesses whose goal to turn in huge profits is only second to the primary objective of doing social good. (read more on impact investing here). Once the business plan is finalized, the parallel work of finding and approaching: a) investors, and b) somebody to take on the business, begins.

Finding the right person/organization to take over the KhRoS business is a bit tricky. It means finding one with the right balance of two things – one, a sufficient level of skill to be able to manage and grow a not-so-simple business such as KhRoS, and two, the willingness and commitment to devote energies and time to develop and cultivate the business.

Quentin and his team are hard at work passing around news of this search for aspiring business owner among industry colleagues, friends, both established and new entrepreneurs, indeed, anyone who might be interested. Whoever this person/organization might be need not fear either; GERES, as it had done and continues to do with the other businesses –Sustainable Green Fuel Enterprise and Sovannak Palm Sugar – that it had earlier started and turned over to new owners, commits to support and advise the new business until it fully blossoms and flourishes.Quentin, himself, would not take on the challenge. “It would take somebody who will stay in Cambodia for a very long time to see through the maturity of the business,” he says.

If you are interested to take on the challenge – or to just know more about KhRos – please contact Quentin, the Project Manager, at q.bayart@geres.eu.