The African Enterprise Challenge Fund has announced a $1.2 million Innovation Fund to unlock the potential of renewable energy to create new business opportunities.
Businesses and entrepreneurs from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Mali, Liberia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Burkina Faso can apply as the fund is aimed at strengthening market willingness of developing innovations, as well as to get financial, technical, and networking support for taking existing proven prototypes to scale.
The Fund seeks to support solutions that the harmful impacts associated with the use of traditional cooking options both at the household and institutional levels, build climate change resilience among Africans and support productive uses such as agro-processing, water pumping, cooling, and refrigeration services.
When applying, entrepreneurs and businesses will demonstrate how their proposed innovations will change the livelihoods of low-income households through the creation of jobs among others.
With the Sustainable Development Goals, the world has set a target of ensuring universal access to reliable and sustainable energy by the end of the decade.
However, with half of the African continent lacking access to electricity, and two-thirds lacking access to clean cooking solutions, additional investment is needed to accelerate innovation and the uptake of modern energy.
The Innovation Fund builds on the African Enterprise Challenge Fund’s Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies (REACT) initiative, which was launched to aid the private sector develop and expand its clean energy technologies to Africa’s rural communities. The Fund will invest in technologies that meet market needs as well as fast-tracking the development of current solutions to better serve African communities and not technologies in the prototype stage.
Victoria Sabula, Chief Executive Officer, AECF said: “The Innovation Fund is key to enhancing large scale transformation within local communities. Investing in affordable and accessible renewable energy solutions can create jobs, grow economies, and build more sustainable livelihoods. Through the fund, we hope to unlock new ways that renewable technology, be it domestic, communal, or commercial – can be used to generate income and create jobs.”
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