Project Everest

Customer Segment

[FEB 18][COLLECTION] ERS Timor: Expansion Plan

Growing Up


Most people can relate to the age old expression “you’ve got potential”, it’s thrown around and never really considered. It’s something that more often than not goes in one ear and straight out the other. But it holds value, and it’s something everyone has whether they believe it or not. The frantic hustle bustle of life can take you away from your goals and ambitions but if you can acknowledge your future potential it provides a drive and passion unmatched by any form of external motivation.


The growth of any businesses is something often overlooked because of the pressure of operating, this has been especially apparent in Timor as many logistical issues have arisen following the recent employment of staff and acquisition of land to operate in. Largely, the focus for the February team has been to ensure all mitigations have been put in place to have the current model run until July. It has been stressful time for everyone involved. Every standard operating procedure has been delicately put in place to ensure structural stability but inevitably it’s Timor and shit happens. With this hurricane of uncertainty and the stress of getting the businesses operating over the last week one thing has become apparent: the lack of direction.


Although ERS itself has made leaps and bounds with prototyping, sales, networking and plethora of other facets, the struggle of pitching and expansion slowly peaked its head.

Over the time here on project ERS has networked with MDF and Timor Foundation as potential avenues for independent funding. Eventually, ERS will need to approach these sources with large scale solutions for Dili and the rest of Timor to even be considered for funding. It has been noticed that it is relatively simple to gauge and generate interest in ERS or Project Everest through pitching about what we have done and what we are planning on doing. This is because we are all dreamers and we get excited about a better future. As we all know, that excitement is contagious!


People with substantial amounts of money are different. Very different. Do not jump to the conclusion that they are all heartless money makers, that is not entirely true. In fact, from one of the meetings we had with such a person a suggestion made that we need to have an emotional story to help connect us with funders which tugs on their heart strings. This was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to critical advice.  It became very clear that to expand and acquire funding, we need to have a plan. Not for now. Not for one month from now. We need a plan for years to come.


Our current target market is a USD $66.9 million dollar hotel and hospitality industry and we have plenty of room to grow as a recycling and pickup service operating in conjunction with this industry. Now, how exactly do we tap into this industry and eventually into rural and residential services to completely own the recycling industry in Timor? With a plan of course.

Here is a quick snapshot of what we know about the segmented market.


Large Businesses – The larger businesses are generally expatriate owned.They have a lot of money to throw around and they also understand that in Dili there is no adequate waste removal and recycling service. There is a realistic estimation of eighty of these larger hospitality businesses in Dili. Although they are a great place to start as a means by which we can enter the market, there is a limit to how many we can actually service.

They are keen to sign up as pricing generally is not a major issue and they can present themselves as a businesses which participates in the waste removal from their beautiful city  and the local community.


Small – The small businesses are generally locally owned however roughly 30% of these are expatriate owned. These small businesses are very passionate about their local communities as most of them are family run and service a regular clientele. A cheap service such as Bag Pay is something a sizable portion have expressed interest in and due to time restraints trails could not be conducted. Segregation of rubbish is something they understand a lot of as their general waste goes to feeding animals and the leftover majority are the recyclables we want.


Residential – It should be immediately noted that no documented surveys have yet been conducted on potential residential service. Government supplied statistics show that in Dili there are 37,337 households and a total of 244,384 people in Dili, equating to an average of at least 6 people per household. The waste problem in Dili is not something people sweep under the rug. Everyone is aware of it. It should also be noted that there is strong sense of community and a potential local daily or weekly recyclable service is something that a lot of people would get behind.


Medium – The medium businesses are defined as the smaller local or expatriate run restaurants which are generally busy, charge higher prices and are very profit focused. Surveys we conducted demonstrated that they showed very little interest in a premium service, with a portion of them thinking that we pay them for a pickup service of their recyclables as they generally have a lot to get rid of. The potential solution for this segment would be provision of bins for them as well as more affordable tailored service which suits the individual business’s needs.


Rural – Little information is known about rural communities specifically, however, we have made contacts within these communities, which can be leveraged in the future to get these people onboard. Gathered from locals and smaller businesses in Dili, it can be assumed that a similar mindset is present in rural districts. This mindset is that of repurposing. The organic waste is segregated from general waste and fed to animals or composted. Cardboards and paper are used to light fires. Plastic bottles are used to store coconut wine and aluminium cans are a common source of income as there are facilities present which buy used aluminium cans.


The Growth Chart

The bars of gold indicate at which stages of the project we will need funding. Grey boxes indicate strategies or service models that should be explored as a means of targeting new segments of the market.

The proposed growth model utilises the the premium service as the backbone to support the exploration of other models which can be tested in order to reach the other segments in the market. When reaching out to new markets, comprehensive surveys need to be conducted to understand the needs of the customers as well as their financial limitations.



(Disclaimer, this expansion plan is based on the current stage of the business and the current expansion options we have available at this time, the market and consumer assumptions are from sample surveys we have conducted during our time in Timor. The more exploration that goes into further growth strategies, the more vague the details become. This is because of the exponential levels uncertainty and mitigations that need to be put in place. Dream a little while reading this)

1st   ERS is about to move into the first stage of growth. The ‘innovator’ larger businesses, which are the expatriates have already been targeted. These understand the importance of recycling and have the money to afford larger pickups and the associated $10 price tag.


Provided that our current solutions for aluminium, glass and plastic bottles can handle an increase in quantity the expansion should be focused towards the following:

- A continued push for new clients.This should include trekkers on the ground conducting surveys as there are many large business options that are local and not available on google. One such example is the Acait Food court, which burns their rubbish right outside their premises.

- Improving the quality of service. This includes reliability and communication between our current clients, old clients and new clients. It is indicated with our current acquisition rates that there are 40 large businesses that are interested in our service, 22 of these 40 businesses statistically would be happy to pay for trials and potentially turn to customers. Of the remaining 40 estimated in the population 18% would switch if we had a regular service which was rolled out. 27% could not be contacted due to the manager not being available. 23% spoke too little English or had poor communication (probably due to trekker turnovers). The remaining 31% were not keen on the service at all. If the reliability of the service is improved and communicated effectively there could be as many as 68 clients interested in doing business with ERS.

- In these early stages its critical to trial new forms of pickup services, the BagPay pickup model is one such avenue which targets smaller businesses. The initial valued price was 50c per bag however people were willing to  pay 1$ when approached. The idea was to collect businesses waste bags on a similar weekly service to the premium service.The businesses would pay for the amount of bags that we pick up from them on the given day. Note the bags we would be picking up are only recyclables. Other waste such as food scraps gets repurposed by the business already. The immediate strategy for the rollout was to target business along the current pickup routes in order to maximise potential revenue and trial the new service without incurring many extra costs. This works for the premium pickup service as it can subsidize the driver and segregator costs already incurred. The premium clients would be benefitting from a new 1$ model as their bag quantity would exceed 10 bags making it more expensive than their current service price of 10$


2nd   The second stage is targeting the large business early adopters and the small business innovators. Having acquired these two segments of the market, external funding can be gained in order to have the capacity to test the waters with a service for residential communities. A strong connection with the government and local residences needs to be established in order to move forward, these two players are key in moving towards the first stage of funding. Detailed surveys of households regarding their daily waste and their financial capacity to contribute to a pickup service need to be conducted. Government networks need to be heavily considered at this stage as the current communal concrete bin solution being implemented is unreliable and not servicing the needs of the community. A potential solution would be to encourage those bins to be filled with recyclables and have them cleared up by ERS.

A large portion of the larger hospitality and hotel businesses should be serviced at this stage as the market is relatively small. Strategies for moving into different markets such as retail or construction need to be looked into as these markets are significantly larger.

The next growth option for BagPay is to move away from piggybacking off the premium service pickup runs. The financial viability of running a solely BagPay pickup run should be explored and tested. BagPay should be a viable service on its own so it can scale to a larger audience without needing to rely on the premium pickups as a backbone.

Funding at this stage is essential. We currently have the capacity to recycle large quantities of aluminium however we only have small scale solutions for glass and plastic. This is where the funding kicks into gear. In order to justify a move into the residential market ERS needs a sustainable way to profit off glass and plastics through aggregate and pelletising solutions respectively. This stage of funding will be geared towards these solutions. Having additional and scalable revenue streams will improve ERS’s capacity to move into solutions for poorer communities. This is the first stage of funding.


3rdThe third stage of growth is aimed at expanding into the early majority of large businesses in Dili, consolidating the BagPay model for the early majority of small businesses and prototyping services for residential communities.


The solution for residential communities has not been explored. Community pickups using the existing concrete bins or offering an affordable household pickup service could be subsidized by the profits made through other means such as selling on processed recyclables.

The expansion into the early majority should target large businesses outside the realm of hospitality. Timor Plaza, for example, has expressed interest and could potentially be a huge client. Consolidation of the BagPay model as a standalone income stream is essential for this model to work on a larger scale. More businesses need to be acquired in order to justify more routes to further areas in Dili. First stage funding should allow ERS to explore new business models by profiting off the collection of plastics and being able to run pickups with a cheaper price point. This should assist with creating a more viable model for targeting residential households. From here, the more ‘difficult’ medium businesses need to be approached and surveyed. Medium businesses are approached later because of their low profit margins and their large pickup requirements. If we can profit off the acquisition of large quantities of plastic and glass, medium businesses become more approachable because their large pickups become financially viable. It should also be noted that a flexible service should be available for these businesses as many of them have very different requirements.

The goals for funding is to ensure we can facilitate growth throughout the entirety of Dili, as each of the segments of the market require a different service additional trucks and a larger processing facility are required to meet current demand and the future recycling demands of Dili.


4thIn the fourth stage of growth, the entirety of Timor Leste needs to be considered.

The premium pickup service will target the late majority of larger businesses. BagPay will start servicing the early majority of small businesses. A prototyped model for residential pickups will be rolled out as a standalone model and a flexible service for medium businesses will be in the stages of prototyping.

The rural communities are the 5th and final segment to complete access to the entirety of Timor Leste’s recyclable waste. Second round funding should be enough to service the needs of Dili. The residential service should be gaining traction within the local communities and several medium businesses should be signing up for services which satisfy their needs. At this point a full scale rural expansion plans need to be thought through and established before going in for the third stage of funding. Community surveys and connections need to be made with larger towns like Baucau in order to set up recyclable storage facilities which can be emptied either on call or as a weekly / monthly service depending on the requirements of that large community.


Funding Strategy

Whichever organisation ERS approaches for funding, the pitch has to be big, approaching the solution from a small scale perspective doesn’t display forward thinking or business strategy. The pitch should be for the total amount of $1,500,000 which will service the entirety of Timor Leste, not just the waste problem in Dili. Following the large claim justify the cost into a three stage funding breakdown. How much and at what stages does ERS ask for funding. The most important thing investors will want to see is how we prove that we are capable of this monstrous task. By simply breaking down a huge goal into achievable chunks. Each new segment we tap into proves we are capable of seeing the bigger picture solution in Dili and have a focused way to achieve the goals effectively.


First Stage Funding $250,000

  • Truck
  • Shredder
  • Glass crusher
  • Pelletising production line

Second Stage Funding $500,000

  • 3 trucks
  • Large facility

Third Stage Funding $750,000

  • Injection moulds
  • 6 Trucks
  • Storage / pickup facilities.

All Grown Up


It takes time to understand future potential and it can take even more time to get excited and motivated about large scale plans that as an individual seem impossible. It’s not impossible however, as a past, present or future member of ERS taking the time to look at your direction on project will allow you to make a substantial mark on the business for years to come.


Thanks for reading xx

edited on 16th January 2019, 09:01 by Rose Gooding

Khoen Scott Feb 23, 2018

It is of paramount importance to explore future expansion and scaling options right now, especially since ERS is so close to independent operation. Setting up the July team for success is critical, but so is having a detailed plan for all future ERS teams. This post provides both insight and detailed action points that can guide future teams for years to come.

BagPay is looking to be a very likely next step in the expansion of ERS in Timor-Leste. BagPay is a very simple idea in theory, but application and logistics are much more complicated. It would be very interesting to discuss how the BagPay model could be adapted to fit in other countries where ERS is being worked on, as well as its applicability in countires where recycling assessments have not yet taken place.

Top notch work Darcy!

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Andrew Vild Jul 2, 2018

Status label added: Customer Segment

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