Sustainable entrepreneurship

Energy is still today a universal need, but one that is not yet met for a large part of the global population. For instance, around 2 billion people do not have sufficient energy access to cover their primary needs, such as access to water or other domestic utilities. In addition, 1.6 billion people still have no access to electricity.

Energy is therefore a key issue. Using biomass with limited renewal capacity increases deforestation and land degradation. Exposure to smoke from combustion is a pollution factor particularly harmful to human health.

In economic terms, energy is intrinsically linked with local or national economic development. It is estimated that electricity shortages cost sub-Saharan countries up to 2 points of GDP every year. Moreover, while providing the same service, traditional or individual energy access solutions have an environmental, social or financial cost far exceeding that of collective infrastructure solutions. Energy access and efficiency therefore offer huge potential in terms of economics and scaling up.

The service we offer

The GERES approach

  • Strengthen local entrepreneurs’ production systems with a view to generating better access to energy at a lower environmental and economic cost
  • Invest as a priority in existing markets and practices to enhance the potential for ownership by local producers and consumers
  • Foster territorial development, in liaison with local or national authorities and drawing on existing resources

The cross-cutting approach of the ECODEV program

  • Support and capacity-building for project teams
  • Training and support for entrepreneurs
  • Capitalization, sharing and publication

In the 4 areas of operation

  • Demonstrating that productive use of electricity is a vector of viability for energy suppliers and a driver of local economic development in Mali
  • Successfully scaling up the domestic cooker sector in Myanmar
  • Confirming in Tajikistan that energy management and saving in housing is a growth sector, job creator and basis for endogenous economic development
  • Industrializing the production of efficient, safe gas ovens in Morocco

Our references in sustainable entrepreneurship

  • Monitoring and training for four field projects: Morocco, Mali, Myanmar & Tajikistan – 2015/16
  • Study of funding mechanisms for energy retrofitting of hammams in Morocco – 2016
  • Establishment of trading accounts for informal very small and medium enterprises in Mali and Myanmar – 2016
  • Financial modelling of an Electrified Enterprise Zone – Creation and operation– 2016
  • Organization of a capitalization workshop on business-related topics – NGO/Business – The funding of very small and medium enterprises – 2016
  • Participation in a conference on funding energy efficiency – COP 22 – In association with KFW and Carbon Trust – 2016


Download the Green Business Area brochure

ECODEV – Energy, a vehicule for economic development

The team

Romain Cres

Romain, who holds a Master’s degree in SME management, is in charge of ECODEV, a cross-cutting GERES programme on the theme “Energy access and economic development”. His role is not only to provide technical assistance to projects on the theme of supporting entrepreneurship, but also to co-ordinate participatory analysis and capitalization work with a view to learning lessons from the field to help improve the relevance, efficiency and sustainability of energy-related development projects. Having managed several SMEs over a period of 10 years, Romain then took part in the management and strengthening of rural micro-finance institutions in Africa, before joining GERES in 2016.

Camille André

The holder of a Master’s degree in development project analysis, Camille is a trained economist specializing in development economics. Since 2014, Camille has developed particular expertise within GERES in the field of advocacy and awareness-raising concerning the fight against climate change within the framework of the activities of the Climate and Development Committee of Coordination SUD. In addition, Camille has worked in Afghanistan on the “climate” theme, organizing the planet-wide citizens’ debate on climate and energy in Kabul, in partnership with the local GERES team and putting together the content of climate and environment training for various local stakeholders. He is presently working on a variety of topics within the “Expertise” team: capitalization, training and support for cross-cutting programmes.

Jean Billant

Jean Billant is working within the programme ECODEV on innovative practices and solutions in the fields of Private Sector Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship in sustainable energy projects. He is notably looking at business development support activities for MSMEs, innovative access to finance schemes, business modeling and impact evaluation in energy access projects.

Jean studied Social Entrepreneurship in Kedge Business School before joining the GERES where he has worked for three years on sustainable energy and economic development projects in South-East Asia, Europe and Africa.


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