Thinking Outside the Box

Thinking Outside the Box


Entrepreneurs and their accompanying small and medium businesses are crucial to the development of South Africa’s economy and improving the unemployment situation. With vast swathes of the country considered rural, finding a place to open and operate a business from is a challenge.

See four American college students with eyes set on changing the world. Gabrielle Palermo set out to study medicine so she could help people in need. But when she and her co-founders of G3Box, James Tyler, John Walters and Susanna Young realised they could make a difference by constructing low-cost and mobile medical clinics using shipping containers, they set their sights on changing the world by providing spaces to do good.

A sustainable solution

Competing with other student projects, that included Doc in a Box – to turn steel containers into clinics – and Project Local – that designs maternity wards for women in Kenya, G3Box won funding to take their initiative to the next level and asked its competitors to join the cause. With nearly $25 000 now available to them, G3Box is refining the business model and completing their first prototype.

While the aim is to provide these units to charities, the company is hoping to also sell the container spaces for a cost of around $20 000 by the end of 2012. Each unit is made from a durable, securable, modular steel shipping container that can be modified to suit individual customer needs, including on grid/off grid electrical power system, ventilation, air conditioner, insulation and interior design, and access to potable water.

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