Last Mile for BoP is an early stage profit-for-purpose company based in Cape Town. Our mission is to distribute a wide range of life-changing products where they are the most needed in South Africa.
We act as a wholesaler of social products. We source the best-in class products that are either cost saving or income generating and designed for the poor: solar lamps, solar chargers, clean cook stoves, sanitary pads, fortified food, water filters, basic health services, training, etc.
We partner with existing organizations to distribute and sell these products in order to reduce the costs of distribution and expand our reach. Each partner is paid in a percentage of the sales (or takes part in our project as part of its CSR policy).
To test and develop our activity we are currently working on three projects.
1. Map of poverty related issues and existing resources to tackle it.
In order to choose the first areas where we should concentrate our efforts, we collect 4 types of data:
- poverty related issues. We are looking for the areas where people do not have access to electricity, to clean water, where they suffer easily preventable disease, where girls drop out of school when they reach puberty, etc.
- manufacturers that developed the best-in-class products to answer these issues. We favour local solutions when possible.
- potential distribution partners: we locate the companies that regularly deliver or collect products in these areas. They can be soda or bread distributors, dairy collectors, gas stations, postal services or logistics & delivery companies. They are the ideal partners to distribute our products in these areas.
- local organizations that operate in these areas and gained trust of the population like saving groups, spaza shops (local grocery stores), NGOs or local entrepreneurs. They are the best partners to sell the products to the final clients.
To use this data and make it available to the public and potential partners, we decided to display it on a map. This map will be used as a tool to foster partnerships, identify the best routes and calculate the costs to distribute any social products anywhere. We want it to be freely accessible on our website.
This map has been recognized as a World Design Capital 2014 official project.
2. Field research to collect data and be in touch with our final clients.
We run a field research in 4 communities in Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal.
We hire local women to administer surveys and organize Focus Group Discussions in order to collect precise data about our final clients, to understand their habits and needs, to select the social products that would be needed in each community and to raise awareness about these products.
We also collect data about local businesses to identify our potential local partners and to get valuable information about the cost of energy products, the cost of transportation of goods and people, the price of the 20 most sold products in spaza shops, etc.
We work on this project in partnership with Planet Finance (micro finance institution) and Save Act (saving groups organization).
We will expand this field research in 16 areas in other South African provinces by the end of the year.
3. Distribution pilot project to verify our assumptions and prove our concept.
We run a distribution pilot project in 4 communities in Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal.
We distribute and sell solar lights, clean cook stoves, water drums and sanitary pads during 3 months. We will use three main type of resellers: spaza shops (local grocery shops), saving groups and independent resellers (local community members).
This project pilot gives us the opportunity to verify our assumptions and to test and improve all the aspects of our business: sourcing, product catalog, management processes and tools to monitor the orders, the stocks and the deliveries, marketing techniques, training, distribution channels, local resellers, payment processes, financial solutions, after sales services.
We will expand this pilot project to 16 areas in other South African provinces.
While conducting the projects above, we will manage the start-up development; comply with all South African administrative, accountancy and financial requirements; conduct a campaign of seed funding; measure our social impact; and more generally build our brand and our culture.
Last Mile for BoP was founded in 2013 by Arnaud Blanchet and the team is composed of 3 interns. We work closely with partner organizations on the field.
4. Position description
The Junior Business Developer will be working in close contact with the founder on various assignments as needed. According to the availability of the candidates, the mission could be split between different persons. Specific responsibilities will include:
- Identifying and pitching our project to potential partners (distributors, resellers and clients);
- Participating in the selection and sourcing of the social products in our catalogue.
- Participating in the organization of the distribution pilot project (working each part of the marketing mix as well as on the operations) and the field research;
- Participating in the development of our sales;
- Working with the founder on other tasks according to the intern skills, motivation and aspirations (including participation to events linked with World Design Capital 2014 and to the pilot project of last mile distribution, development of the partnerships and organisation of the distribution logistic system).
We consider internships as a learning experience and we will make sure you learn new skills (you will participate in a lean startup workshop and we will suggest you attend different online social entrepreneurship classes) and slowly get more and more autonomy to run this project.
Candidates should share our values.
They should combine an analytical and an entrepreneurial spirit, be motivated by a fast-paced start-up environment and flexible in their work arrangements, be ready to take responsibilities and work under tight deadlines, have experience working in teams as well as independently, and show initiative and pro-activity.
They should feel comfortable with presenting their work to high executives, as well as organizing workshop with social entrepreneurs, or interviewing people “in the field”.
They should have a deep commitment to solving social issues and a good knowledge of Gugulethu.
More specifically, the intern will demonstrate the following skills:
- Excellent written and oral communication skills, including ease in conducting phone and face-to-face interviews, and ideally proficiency in preparing presentation;
- Strong quantitative skills, at ease with analyzing data and proficient in Excel;
- Attention to details, commitment to follow-through and self-organization;
- Excellent interpersonal skills, within a team as well as with clients and partners;
- Fluency in English – additional local language a plus (especially Xhosa or Zulu).
Finally the successful candidate will ideally have previous work experience (including internships) in a demanding corporate environment (top consulting firm for example), and at least one of the following:
- Work experience “in the field”, or stay (more than 3 months) in a developing country, or
- Personal involvement in social initiatives.
6. Work arrangements
The intern will work in Last Mile for BoP office in Cape Town. Our office is located in the Bandwidth Barn at the Woodstock Exchange, an ideal place to experience the start up vibe and get new connections.
Travelling might be required on specific assignments.
The internship will last at least 3 months, ideally starting in August 2014.
The internship is not paid, expenses will be reimbursed.
7. To Apply
Please send a short cover letter (including your dates of availability) and resume at arnaud.blanchet@lastmileforBoP.com, with “Internship Position – Junior Business Developer – S22014” in the subject line.
For more information on Last Mile for BoP, visit our website www.lastmileforBoP.com