5 social entrepreneurs leading innovation in the last mile logistics space in Europe.

5 social entrepreneurs leading innovation in the last mile logistics space in Europe.

October 1, 2020

Fully Charged workshop in London

As consumers, we are constantly demanding more. We want faster delivery, logistics and services to our door. To satisfy this demand, there is a huge focus in the investing space on “last mile” - finding the cheapest and most efficient way to serve the furthest to reach places. The last mile is the most expensive and time-consuming part of the delivery process - meaning it holds the largest room for innovation.

But during a pandemic, when delivery services are more important than ever, it’s vital that the sector benefits everyone - not just the lucky person receiving their package! In such an unregulated field, delivery workers face some of the poorest working conditions. How do we secure worker’s rights and stop the further pollution of our cities and the degradation of our environment? Let’s take a look at five of the most innovative social entrepreneurs building the logistics social businesses of the future.

🚴‍♀️ K-Ryole, France 🚴‍♀️


What do they do? K-Ryole develop smart electric bike trailers that can carry up to 250 kilos behind a bike without any effort from the rider. They can be used for heavy deliveries without the need for a polluting engine! The business is currently producing 5 different models with specifications for cooling and bulk delivery.

Why is it exciting? The fact you can simply clip on the trailer to the back of your bike and it means the rider’s carrying capacity is hugely increased. It’s such a simple idea (backed by some complex mechanics) that saves a huge amount of energy!

📦 Carton Plein, France. 📦


What do they do? Starting eight years ago in the North of Paris, this social enterprise offers a broad spectrum of eco-friendly services around removals while helping vulnerable people get back to the job market. Carton Plein collects, cleans, and reuses old cardboard boxes that customers can then buy online or purchase as part of a whole removal package, performed by bike. This is a powerful combination of circular economy principles and socio-professional inclusion, realised via tailored, on-the-job training for people excluded/distant from the job market

Why is it exciting? This business model is totally inclusive, managing to address customers' pain point in both social and sustainable way, - this is what the future of business should look like!

🚐 XYT, France 🚐


What do they do? XYT develops ultra-functional and modular electric vehicles. Their tertris vans are highly flexible and easily repairable - according to XYT’s research, yearly maintenance costs are cut by more than half compared to a diesel light commercial vehicle. Similar to a smartphone, the car has a multitude of business applications from a delivery truck, a food truck, a pick-up, a workshop or even an ambulance!

Why is it exciting? You can customise the vehicle like Lego to suit your usage and they are built to last - with an inclusive economy in mind. The lightweight car is delivered as a kit made of only 600 parts (at least 10x less than a standard electric car) where the customer can choose the size, colour and shapes.  

Simon Mencarelli, Co-Founder of XYT brainstorming at the MAN Truck & Bus Headquarters

🙎‍♂️ Koiki, Spain 🙎‍♂️


What do they do? Koiki saw an opportunity to improve the inefficient urban delivery services and bring the maximum number of jobs to vulnerable communities. Their inclusive and sustainable last-mile delivery network has three important goals:

i) Provide jobs for marginalised individuals in the last mile delivery of goods, helping them to acquire skills

ii) Cut CO2 emissions in cities, by delivering the goods mainly on foot or bicycle

iii) Follow a sustainable economic model so they can scale their impact and create more empowering opportunities for the marginalised

Why is it exciting? Research suggests people with disabilities are half as likely to find a job. But Koiki are training and working with hundreds of ‘Koikos’ delivering around 12,000 parcels per month, from 40 Koiki Centers in 20 different cities across Spain. Even better, 70% of Koiki deliveries are on foot, 20% by bike and 10% by electric car (only for the too far or heavy parcels).

🚴🏿 FullyCharged, UK. 🚴🏿


What do they do?

The business raises awareness of electric bikes and their benefits to counteract the unprecedented levels of traffic congestion and pollution in our cities. They see the e-bike as the obvious answer to solving these problems.

Why is it exciting? The London-based independent e-bike retailer was offering free e-bikes to NHS workers for three months. To help key workers in need to travel to work in a safer way than on public transport.

It’s so important to champion businesses imagining the new economy we want to live in. Want to see more examples of social innovation and entrepreneurship in larger companies? Check out our Business As Unusual research project.

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