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VidaGás: delivering better health to Northern Mozambique with LPG

  • Courtenay Sprague Stu Woolman
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    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to document the manner in which a pro-poor company can deliver ongoing health benefits and improve environmental sustainability in a manner that addresses child and maternal mortality (in line with millennium development goals 4, 5 and 7). Design/methodology/approach – Field research in Mozambique including 12 in-depth interviews with key personnel from December 2006 to January 2007. Findings – First, clear threats to the success of VidaGás' pro-poor business model encompass insufficient liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supply and storage facilities; poor industrial and commercial infrastructure in Northern Mozambique; inadequate training of retailers in LPG use; and inadequate consumer knowledge of the benefits of LPG. Second, key innovations employed by VidaGás to overcome these obstacles consist of the introduction of a novel cold chain to safeguard medicines; a complex supply chain to ensure timely delivery; and the exploitation of local knowledge and expertise to expand the uptake of LPG by Mozambicans. Practical implications – The case study focuses on a business problem with significant development implications. The challenge is to ensure a reliable supply of LPG in Northern Mozambique. To meet this challenge, VidaGás must achieve its stated goal of becoming a revenue-generating entity within three years. In order to create a viable market for LPG, VidaGás must not only increase the uptake of LPG by poor consumers, it must expand LPG market access to commercial consumers, while raising additional capital. Originality/value – The paper contributes to the literature on social entrepreneurship and demonstrates how to link for-profit business imperatives with development goals.

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    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (January)
    Pages: 41-57

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:jecpps:v:3:y:2009:i:4:p:41-57
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