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Meet Tom Osborn, The Founder and CEO of GreenChar in Kenya

At the age of 19, Tom Osborn has already been recognised as one of the world’s top entrepreneurs.

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GreenChar is a clean energy start-up that produces charcoal briquettes for cooking purposes that are both healthier to use and last longer.


The coals he produces from recycled agricultural waste such as sugarcane, which studies show emit 90% less smoke, and have 60% more energy than the normal charcoal used for cooking.  Now that is clean energy there.

Tom’s company is causing a buzz because of his innovation, thats not only a business but is also environmentally more friendly. Forbes has named him one of the  global ’30 under 30′ social entrepreneurs, including many other accolades.

Health concern

It all started when Tom realised how smoke affected his mother as she cooked and he set out to change all that. One day, in school, he came a report that stated “charcoal killed more people than AIDS, Malaria and TB combined,”. That cemented his resolve to come up with a solution, leading to the birth of GreenChar.


Having a good idea wasn’t enough, it had to be marketed , since it was a new product he had to introduce it to people first. People will usually not pay for a product they don’t know, so Tom decided to give free samples first for people to spread the word. Next he had to compete with traditional methods of energy, which he decided compete by lowering price with the added benefit of healthier choice and eco-friendliness. The strategy worked.

Growth through Partnership

Greenchar increased productivity by re-investing their sales revenue into the business. To realise added capacity, the company had to hire more stuff so they decided to diversify by partnering with Envirofit, a global manufacturer of cookstoves that ensured optimum efficiency of his Eco-friendly charcoal briquettes.

Now Greenchar is selling the products in a bundle, stoves and charcoal,  ensuring reoccurring custom. His message to aspiring young entrepreneurs

Just do it, START,

Know how to tell your story, think about how to sell your product.

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