This is the second RIWIK Newsletter just before the new year. 2012 will be an exciting year, best wishes for all of you.
Bart graduated in Sustainable Energy at Delft University
On 2 December 2011, Bart graduated at the department of Sustainable Energy Technology at Delft University of Technology. He now holds a Master of Science and his graduation subject was ‘The production of affordable small wind turbines in rural Kenya’. His score was a very good 8 (out of 10). So now he is ready to start RIWIK’s operations in Kenya. On the picture prof. dr. ir. J.C. Brezet congratulates Bart with his graduation; also dr. J.C. Diehl and Prof. dr. G.J.W. van Bussel (Head of the Wind Energy group) were formal reviewers.
Hans Lipman becomes Financial Manager of RIWIK
Hans Lipman (51) has joined our team as financial manager. Hans is a registered accountant, is partner of an accountancy office in Leidschendam (The Netherlands) and he is also an entrepreneur in sustainable energy. He is experienced as CFO and auditor in several industries.
RIWIK Wind Energy B.V. formalized
On 23 December 2011 Bart, Hans and Eric signed the final papers to establish RIWIK Wind Energy B.V. at the office of notary Van Zwart en Hoevenaars in Leidschendam, The Netherlands. The Dutch B.V. (in English a ‘private limited company) will act as the holding of our operational activities in Kenya and potentially other African countries. Early next year we will start up our Kenya branch in Nairobi. Our bank account is at Triodos Bank.
Financing in progress
From the end of October we started to actively approach potential investors in RIWIK. Our approach is to attract private financing from different sources, like certain investment funds and private persons and to supplement this with public grants and subsidies for the start-up phase. We intend to finalize the process with private investors mid January with the signing of a shareholder’s agreement and the new share distribution.
We are very happy with the participation of a few people who want to be actively involved in the development of our company.
We have a so called Confidential Information Memorandum available for people with a serious interest in investing at least €10.000 and who signed our Non-disclosure Agreement.
SNV-Kenya (SNV is a Dutch development organization) supports us to get some financing with public money. We have sent applications to Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and REACT, an organization ‘Funding Innovation for Business in Africa’. These are processes that can take up to one year to be completed. In general they request a company to invest a minimum of 50% private money in a project. Until we have our funding completed, we will apply for other grants if the opportunity comes along.
First price for a pitch at ‘Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen’
‘Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen’ (Doing Business Without Borders) is an initiative of RABO Bank, the Investeerdersclub, BidNetwork and others. They have a program to stimulate people starting a business in developing countries. On 3 October 2011 we attended the final, where Bart was invited to pitch for a small group of investors. Bart finished as the best pitcher out of twenty candidates. Apart from the consultancy cheque worth €2000, wine and flowers, this was another good publicity.
BNR radio interview
On 4 November 2011, Bart was invited to do his RIWIK pitch in the radio program ‘Zaken doen met’ (‘In business with’) of BNR (Business News radio). This was a good promotion, as quite some people approached us afterwards. Some of them are seriously interested in investing in our business.
You can listen to this broadcast via our website.
Co-operation agreement with SNV
On 21 September 2011 we signed a cooperation agreement with SNV-Kenya. SNV-Kenya has over 40 years of experience in developing countries and since 1998 they introduced biogas in several developing countries. Their business model looks very much like ours with respect to the ‘local-for-local’ approach. For SNV it is of interest to see how we will make a profitable activity of the production of small wind turbines in Kenya.
SNV assists us with grant applications (see ‘Financing in Progress’), market studies, contacts and much more.
RIWIK operations start in February 2012
Bart Fugers and Tim van Wageningen will fly to Nairobi on 8 February 2012 to start up RIWIK’s operations. Tim, who plans to graduate from Delft University on 24 January 2012, will join Bart as technical manager. He will overview all technical details of the small wind turbine production and propose improvements if necessary. Initially he will stay for three months, with a potential extension to one year.
Also Marijn Wouters, an aerodynamics student from Delft, will join on 8 February. He will stay for a three months internship and focus on the implementation of a new blade design.
RIWIK’s website is renewed by Niels van Dijk. Pay a visit at www.riwik.nl, we are interested to hear you reaction.
Lynn research results
From 8 September until 25 November, Lynn Vanheule stayed in Kenya as part of her graduation project on the SWT (Small Wind Turbine) sector in Kenya. Lynn’s research gives us some short term practical information and valuable contacts, but even more she gives us insight in the future growth path of RIWIK in the specific environment of rural Kenya. Her key findings for RIWIK:
there are already various local craftsmen (jua kali) in Kenya who have built wind turbines, and some of them even have a small business going on. This greatly underpins the potential of local craftsmen to produce and sell small wind turbines independently.
several Kenyan universities and non-profits have also recognized the jua kali business potential for SWTs, and are now setting up R&D and training programs to support them. This definitely offers possibilities for RIWIK to collaborate in these initiatives.
the majority of Kenyan craftsmen are united in so called Jua Kali Associations, a kind of union. This could be a very suitable way for RIWIK to recruit its production units.
RIWIK in Rotterdam mid January 2012
During the final period of his study, Bart constructed a prototype of our small wind turbine. Actually this is proven technology, based on the open source Hugh Piggott design, with some practical improvements. We changed the tower from a tube to “Eifell Tower” (easier for construction and maintenance), better protection of the blades against erosion and better, cheaper electronics.
The foundation Creatief Beheer in Rotterdam is interested to place our turbine as an educational project in ‘Proefpark De Punt’. Creatief Beheer intends to bring rural life into the city by involving people in ‘green activities’. Our wind turbine will generate electricity to illuminate the small park.