Scaling Social Businesses at the Base of the Pyramid – 25 Years of Lessons Learned

Identifying and understanding the challenges of scaling up social businesses is key for technology-for-development entrepreneurs. At every stage, the startup has to tackle external and internal barriers, ranging from changing a customer’s mindset, expanding reach or establishing meaningful partnerships, to accessing financing or building in-house expertise. Based on the experience of Antenna Foundation (Switzerland), this webinar will feature presentations of initiatives at every stage of the social business development. The session objective is to draw general lessons that will benefit stakeholders active in various social businesses and to identify the key factors young entrepreneurs should keep in mind when designing their own business model.

Join this webinar to:

  • Understand the philosophy of the Antenna foundation
  • Get introduced to two different technologies (a solar power kit and a device for an improved access to safe water) leading to sustainable approaches for the base of the economic pyramid
  • Learn about successful business models that enable innovative solutions to reach the customers (last-mile distribution) with affordable technologies.


Grégoire Castella


After completing his PhD in Life Sciences in 2008, Greg got out of the lab and joined the International Committee of the Red Cross. He served in the field as a delegate and manager in Central African Republic, in Ivory Coast, in Afghanistan and in Colombia. After returning to Switzerland, Greg joined Antenna, an innovation-for-development foundation, which has successfully brought to the market innovative products to meet the basic needs of people living at the BOP. As deputy director, he is managing two projects in the fields of energy and safe water. OOLUX Ltd, a social start-up, was recently launched in order to market our solar kits in off grid regions of Africa. The WATA technology brings a local solution for people without access to safe water.


Joel Jeanloz


Joel studied international affairs at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. In 2013 he traveled to Cameroon for several months where he wrote his master thesis on “Social Business at the Base of the Pyramid”. After his return, Joel launched together with different organisations a project to promote solar energy in developing countries. The core of the project was the development of a leasing and distribution system for portable solar kit. Today it has successfully been transformed into the social business OOLUX SA.  Joel also co-founded the local company “African Solar Generation” in Yaoundé installing smaller and bigger photovoltaic systems. Joel Jeanloz has already worked in different African countries where he helped launching solar companies.


Jérôme Voillat


After studying international business in Reims (France), Jerome worked in various positions in large private companies before getting fully involved in the non-profit sector since 2008. He was first appointed as project manager for a rural development initiative in Cameroon and then as coordinator for a civil society programme in  Lao PDR. Back to Europe, Jerome managed a European Union cooperation programme related to maritime public policy making in the horn of Africa. He joined Antenna early 2015 where he works for the Water and Hygiene department. Responsible for a portfolio of water and sanitation projects, he is also in charge of business and training strategies for the WATA technology.

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