We believe that many of the world's poorest communities are prevented from engaging effectively in trade and building their prosperity by fundamental gaps in the market or breakdowns in value chains.

TechforTrade works at the interface of technology, trade and entrepreneurship. We support concepts that use the latest thinking in technology and apply it to a trading challenge.   Working with local entrepreneurs, we turn these concepts into sustainable social businesses that improve the livelihoods of the poor.

Bringing fresh thinking to some of the world’s oldest problems.


3D Printing for Development

3D printing could do for distribution what the Internet has done for information

For millions of the world’s poorest people, obtaining basic staple items that we take for granted is simply impossible.  Most developing countries have little local product development or manufacturing capability, while poor infrastructure drives up the cost of imported goods, putting them out of reach.

If a product can be conceived, it can be designed and sent down the wires to a 3D printer anywhere in the world.

Our vision is to release the power of 3D printing by creating a network of sustainable Digital Blacksmith businesses, combining the ethical creation and sale of 3D printing supplies (printers and filament), skills training and, of course, manufacture of goods most needed by their local communities.

Find out more about Digital Blacksmiths

Improving the lives of 1 million people within the next 5 years


TechforTrade is building the 3D Printing for Development ecosystem to support this disruptive innovation

These are a couple of our achievements:


The world’s only fully open source 3D printer built in Africa, constructed from e-waste, 3D printed components and parts easily available in developing countries.


A process for manufacturing 3D printer filament from locally sourced waste plastic, using our low cost, open source 'Thunderhead' extruder, designed by TechforTrade.

If you are a social investor and you would like to find out more about how you can help us grow the Digital Blacksmith venture, please contact

Open Book Trading

Reinventing the role of the middleman in agricultural value chains in East Africa

Years of mistrust have tarnished the reputation of middlemen, preventing farmers from reaching markets and getting a fair price for their produce. Open Book Trading has been testing a business concept, supported by an online platform that opens up the value chain, bringing transparency and rebuilding trust. Our innovative finance model enables informed decisions to be made that can support credit distribution to previously unbanked micro, small and medium-sized agri-enterprises – the engines of economic growth in developing countries.

Open Book Trading is now seeking social investors that recognise the benefits that might arise from addressing this market gap. Benefits that will make a significant contribution to poverty alleviation. Further investment will allow Open Book Trading to finalise its business model, and establish the working capital loan fund that will support the venture.

Improving prices to smallholder farmers by over 10%

Waste to Value, the M-Taka Concept


Waste pickers in developing countries face many health risks when working and living on waste disposal sites. In addition, pickers are unable to earn enough money to improve their livelihood in any meaningful way. Working with a team of volunteers, we have developed a conceptual framework that may eradicate some of these problems.

The framework is supported by a mobile platform that will offer waste pickers the opportunity to collect high-value waste and deliver directly to recycling plants. Not only will this remove them from the hazardous environment of the landfill sites but also give them access to higher-value recyclable materials with knowledge of the type and source of the waste.

We are now seeking support to enable us to establish a field trial to validate the concept.

The trial scope will include:

  • Minimum viable product (MVP) to be tested in a small area of a single market.
  • Platform will have a basic mobile-app for recyclables sources to use (e.g. Embassies).
  • A trial pool of c40 waste collectors will be recruited. Waste collectors to be sent a text message to notify
  • Delivery to existing list of recyclables buyers
  • Trial run in for minimum four month period
  • Focus on signing-up sufficient suppliers (Embassies / hotels/ international company local offices) to ensure demand.

We’re currently seeking a funding partner interested in this innovative waste to value concept.

If you can help, please contact

For general enquiries, please contact us at

TechforTrade has been supported by

working with logos

TechforTrade | UK registered charity No.1137802