Today we are looking at a business that supplies alternatives to electric powered products and equipment. So products that can be used by hand and products that can be charged by solar or electricity (when available).
In this series
Start a Generator & Inverter Rental Business
Start a Solar Power Business
Start a Load Shedding Solutions Business
Start a Renewable Energy Company
Start a Gas Appliance Company
Start a Solar Panel and Geyser Supply & Install Business
Due to the rate of regression South Africa is experiencing and the poor financial situation of most South Africans, at this stage we need to look at anything and everything that can be replaced by a manual/hand powered or battery powered alternative. Due to deteriorating electricity availability and the high cost of fuel, paraffin and gas, we are way past replacing electricity we are now onto replacing the electricity replacements with cheaper alternatives so people don’t have to sell their bodies on the corner to survive.
There are two main opportunities
Consumer and Business.
Look into every home what can be replaced with a manual alternative.
Manual blenders and choppers like the Twista should come back in fashion. Flimsy ones start at R139 but I intend getting me a hand blender because power cuts are now popular in the evening. We might also see a resurgence in manual washing machines such as the Sputnik Wonder Wash not only due to electric availability but also high cost of electricity and water (automatic machines use a lot of water).
Look into every industry.
While there are manual clippers, my barber has moved full time to battery powered clippers. This is an interesting development, as I was so used to seeing Wahl equipment, now they using other battery powered brands.
Read up on human-powered equipment it is used to generate, and sometimes to store, electrical energy for use where no other source of power is available. These include the Gibson girl survival radio, wind-up or (clockwork) radio and pedal radio.
Vintage style poster of Andre de Ruyter holding out a candle flanked by a laughing Ramaphosa and Mantashe.
Tagline: Electricity is a western concept – try this.
Power cuts are a regular occurrence in South Africa and we are heading to a daily cut of 2 to 2 and a half hours minimum (which can happen during peak work hours and evening as you arrive home). Not only can Eskom (which supplies 95% of current electricity) not keep up with current demand but it cannot keep up with electricity demand caused by 1. population growth, 2. the illegal foreigners that are here. I say illegal foreigners as most of them are not counted on any official registrar (census, refugee) and when you don’t know how many people you have in a country you cannot prepare adequately and with our porous borders it is a bottomless pit.
This situation won’t change soon, the correct time to build a new power-station was 20 years ago. Then you have the political nature of the fossil fuel vs. renewable debate. We see how that played out in Germany who listened to the tree-huggers and gave up their fossil fuel and nuclear power stations only to become dependent on natural gas from Russia. With Germany’s economy now dependent on Russia for their energy needs they are Putin’s bitch and Greta Thunberg is nowhere to be seen. But the positives of Germany’s economy collapsing will be less overpriced and overrated cars in the world so it’s not all bad.
We will be in our current situation for a long time to come still, opening the doors for this business. It is patently clear that our power stations including the R234 billion black hole Medupi is skorokoro and cannot be fixed. Government don’t want to admit it to avoid panicking the market. If it could be fixed it would be fixed by now, it is not rocket science: coal-powered power generation is 140 years old this year (since 1882). It will also take many years for new power stations to be built; tender process, environmental assessments, tree huggers going to court on climate change grounds, losing bidders going to court to stop it due to bribery allegations is a given and almost guaranteed and will only delay any new plans to build new power stations.
Get out there and make come money!