Air pollution has been named as a major environmental hazard that has contributed to some respiratory diseases and illnesses. The initiation of clean energy and environmental conservation has spurred a lot of eco-friendly approaches to curb pollution.
As a response to this, Kenneth Guantanai, a 34 year old University of Nairobi Alumni who has a great passion for environmental protection formed Auto-Truck East Africa. The company develops battery-powered electric handcart (LIF) with a trans-axle DC motor and controller system. The device is more efficient than traditional manual handcarts used by small-scale farmers, hospitals, airports, and industrial users. It can help to reduce back and muscular injuries caused by the use of these manual hand carts.
So far, Kenneth and his team have secured first sales of the hand cart, selling 10 products to test the market before launching the device at full scale. So far he has made sales of over to Ksh. 1,000,000 after receiving positive feedback from the market.
Due to his invention, Kenneth was appointed as Head of Innovation, Technology and Enterprise Development at the National Youth Service (NYS) In November 2018. The appointment helped him gain government support for his innovation which enabled him to secure a Ksh. 5,350,000 grant.
With the support of his coach, Kenneth has been speaking with three potential supply chain manufacturers in Europe for his motorized handcart. He has also signed a legal agreement with a major vehicle manufacturer in Kenya to create a production line for Auto-Truck East Africa’s products which is expected to lower their mass production costs. He has also secured an agreement with a major government engineering company for local component production for the products.
Additionally, in recognition of his work, Kenneth and his team won the Transformative Urban Mobility project funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). He is also on 2019 shortlist for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
“LIF has made me develop very strong business skills that I believe will be the key to drive my company to prosper LIF also built my confidence enough to initiate high ranking partnerships with established companies like KVM. It also allowed me to convince high ranking government officials for favorable business policies with a successful debate in Parliament where my products were earmarked for tax waiver and issuance of an assemblers certificate,” said Kenneth.
— Rico! 🏴 (@kijanafulani) April 10, 2021