Hotbox project contributes to bigger picture

Parkdene Civic Centre, George, 13-17 November 2017

Back from left are George Municipality strategic services portfolio councillor David Willemse, George Business Chamber Chairman Dr Willie Cilliers, iThemba Lobomi community coordinator Zameka Dyantyi, Sustainable Energy Africa training coordinator Peliwe Jubase and (front from left) George Municipality electrotechnical planning department official Steyn van der Merwe, Green Business College trainers Mamosweu Tsoabi and Dineo Tsoabi, and George Municipality manager economic development Pedro Oliphant


This 5-day training course aims to improve the energy welfare and livelihoods of low income urban communities in George, through the provision of skills relating to the manufacture and business development of the Hotbox/Smanga Bag, an efficient and clean alternative household energy technology. The course will be undertaken by the Green Business College in partnership with Sustainable Energy Africa (a not-for-profit organization supporting cities and other institutions with sustainable energy transitions) and funded by Heinrich Boell Stiftung, a German development foundation.

Included in the course are the following:

  • materials required to make a Smanga bag
  • personal manual
  • certificate of completion
  • membership to the Green Business College

What to bring to the course:

  • entrepreneurial spirit and lots of energy!

About the hotbox/Smanga Bag

The Hotbox technology is an insulated cooker made up of two cushions/bags of heat resistant material filled with an insulator such as polystyrene discards, into which a pot of food brought to the boil is removed from the stove and placed between the two cushions/bags. The hotbox uses the principle of thermal insulation to continue the cooking process without requiring additional heat. This technology works with any meal that involves simmering over a low heat for an amount of time; rice, stews, porridge and vegetables are all suitable. Hotboxes are very simple, effective, convenient, and save a substantial amount of cooking energy – tests show that between 50% and 60% of cooking energy is saved. The hotbox also has the potential to significantly reduce cooking time. In the many low income households where paraffin, wood or coal is typically used for cooking, a direct improvement in indoor air quality can be expected from hotbox use. Hotboxes are relatively easy to make, and thus lend themselves to decentralised small business production in low-income areas, and can be made using low-cost, recycled materials.


The course programme is as follows:

  • The first two days will focus on teaching participants how to construct the hotbox
  • The last three days will focus on imparting business skills on how to create a sustainable hotbox business

Welcome and Introductions – Peliwe Jubase (Sustainable Energy Africa) 

Keynote address – Portfolio Councilor (TBC)

Participants will be taught how to construct the Smanga Bag and in a manner that yields a product of high standard – high durability and good retail quality.

The content of the training will cover the following:

·         materials required for the construction of the Smanga bag

·         learning about calculating dimensions of the product – how to take measurements and make calculations to construct various sizes of the product

·         designing patterns of the product –  imparting skills on drawing, cutting and pinning sewing patterns

·         learning how to cut fabric and sew the product by hand and using a sewing machine 


The content of the training will cover the following:

·         continuation from DAY 1 of cutting and sewing fabric by hand and machine

·         sewing the lid component of the product

·         demonstration of how to use a Smanga bag

·         awareness of the energy savings associated with using a Smanga bag

·         determining the costs of making a Smanga bag 


This component of the course will take participants through the necessary steps to turn their products into a business. A very dynamic and practical approach is used to give participants maximum hands on experience as they develop their own individual, business plan. Participants are given the opportunity to explore and develop their own networks.

The training content will cover the following:

·         how to start a Smanga Bag business

·         understanding assets, stocks, cash and credit

·         development of a balance sheet

·         quality and value add skills


The training content will cover the following:

·         how to market ‘My Product’ 

·         learning about production, sales and costs

·        developing an income statement

·         managing cash flow

·         growing ‘My Business’

·         Afternoon sales exercise: Participants will be given the task of selling their Smanga bags in their communities or wherever they perceive they would be able to sell their product. The outcomes and their experiences from this exercise will be discussed in Day 5. 


The training content will cover the following:

·        Reflection from the sales exercise

·        Vision & values exercise

·        5 Step Ultimate Success Formula (Tony Robbins)

·        Being organised (Your Daily 5)

·        Mastering sales (7 step sales process)

·        Your elevator pitch

·        Starting with WHY (Simon Sinek)

·         Business model canvas exercise 

About the organizations involved in running the Hotbox/Smanga Bag training course

  1. The Green Business College 

The Green Business College is dedicated to building ‘green’ entrepreneurs by uniting green skills with business know-how. The Green Business College was established in 2017 as a social enterprise by SEED Community ( Inspired by the BOOKBRIDGE model (, it has been founded with the support of the HILTI Foundation (

The vision the Green Business College is to be an inspiring and innovative hub of learning, fostering a community of successful ‘green’ entrepreneurs and be replicated in communities across Africa creating a network of centres, trainers and ‘green’ entrepreneurs.

The core offering of the Green Business College is affordable, short courses where students are taught practical ‘green’ skills accompanied with business skills and provided access to sales channels where they can sell their products. As part of our offering, we provide students with ongoing business coaching and mentor support. By course end students are able to establish their own small ‘green’ business, which will not only provide them with financial autonomy but also form part of a sustainable solution to the environmental, economic and social crisis South Africa is facing today.

Manager of the Green Business College: Dorah Marema
Dorah has been director of SEED Community in South Africa since 2014. Alongside her passion for the social and economic empowerment of young women, Dorah holds a wealth of experience in the environmental sector in Africa spanning 20 years. She received an award by the United Nations for her work in this field in 2015. Harnessing her talent for community development, her passion for the environment and the economic and social empowerment of the community at large, Dorah is the ideal manager for such an initiative.

Tel No.:  +27 (79) 0680789 Email:


  1. Sustainable Energy Africa

Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) is not-for-profit organisation that has been working in area of sustainable urban energy development with local government for the last 18 years. SEA promotes equitable, low carbon, clean energy development in urban South Africa and Africa. Through our work we promote energy efficiency, the transition to more sustainable energies such as solar and wind power and access to safe and affordable energy services for all. We do this through research, capacity building, policy engagement and information dissemination.

South Africa is in an enviable position with regard to natural energy resources, particularly renewable energy sources. SEA is at the forefront of promoting sustainable, efficient and cost-effective energy whilst at the same time addressing poverty, climate change and environmental issues.

While SEA works with all three spheres of government, we focus particularly on local government as this is the seat of delivery, and where capacity shortages are greatest. Sustainable energy transitions require that municipalities take a more proactive role in energy management if the country is to meet the challenges of sustainable development.

The team from SEA responsible for the running of this training course are:

Yachika Reddy –

Peliwe Jubase –

Simisha Pather-Elias –

Contact details: 021 702 3622


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