Baobab Express: Business with impact

February 23, 2016 | Christophe Fauconnier

For more than 20 years, Fried, the CEO and Founder of the 3D printing company Materialise, ran CSR projects in Africa, supporting local hospitals. But in 2012, he spotted an opportunity to change the approach.

Five African countries top the global list of highest road fatalities. Transportation systems, in Benin, combine a derelict, dangerous float of vehicles, inefficient service, and poor road infrastructures. Fried realized that rather than supporting doctors, what needed to be addressed was the root of the causes of the accidents.

Because of the larger scale of the project, using a charity approach would not work, the best model to apply in this case would be social entrepreneurship. But how do you build a social business from the ground? Materialise, Innate Motion, and our partners changed the paradigms in public transport in Benin, starting up a business for social impact.


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