Louise Williamson is founder of the Mashesha Stove Project. ©

Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), South Africa.

Louise Williamson is founder of the Mashesha Stove Project, an innovative social enterprise that addresses environmental issues in rural communities across South Africa. 

The environmentally-friendly stove is a result of Williamson’s work in rural communities and environmental education for over 15 years. She specialises in community projects that enable environmental sustainability and cleaner, greener energy. 

"I am most proud that I, a female designed the innovation and started the social enterprise."

Williamson was chosen as a finalist out of 230 social entrepreneurs in the Festival of Ideas Competition, a social enterprise competition that works to stimulate collaboration between entrepreneurs and start-ups in South Africa and the UK. The competition is co-hosted by the British Council and a number of partners (GIBS, SAB and Barloworld). 

“Through my experience with the competition, I was able to glean a clearer understanding of my business model,” said Williamson.

Her two-minute pitch won her the top prize and a trip to the Enterprise Summit in Ghana where she exhibited her social business idea and networked with other African entrepreneurs and UK businesses. 

For more information about the Festival of Ideas Competition, read here.