USADF, All On offer start-ups $100,000 in 2022 Off-Grid Energy Challenge

The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and All On, a Shell-seeded impact investor, has announced the official opening of the 2022 Nigeria Off-Grid Energy Challenge, which will provide up to US$100,000 in blended finance to each selected enterprise, they said in a release.

The Rockefeller Foundation, the anchor partner of the recently launched Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, is also providing support to the All On Hub for the program.

“We remain extremely encouraged that the Challenge is able to fund another cohort of strong winners in spite of a continued challenging Covid environment,” said Wiebe Boer, CEO, All On. “Eight of the 13 winning enterprises in 2021 include women in leadership roles, and we hope to see this number grow this year.”

The annual Challenge is a multi-year partnership that identifies and helps scale innovative off-grid solutions to “power up” unserved and underserved areas in Nigeria.

The Challenge is delivered through a five-year partnership between USADF, a founding member of the U.S.-led Power Africa Initiative, and an independent U.S. Government agency established by Congress to support and invest in African-owned and led enterprises, and All On, a Nigerian impact investing company seeded by Shell that invests in off-grid energy solution providers in Nigeria.

Entering the final year of the recently expanded five-year partnership, the parties will jointly provide funding to 100 percent African-owned and operated small and medium enterprises that improve energy access through off-grid energy solutions spanning solar, wind, hydro, biomass, and gas technologies.

Read also: CBN solar intervention to domesticate renewable energy technology in Nigeria

The Challenge has awarded funds to 37 companies to date, totalling US$3.7 million in blended finance. Since its inception, the Challenge has impacted an estimated 16,000 people, including 4,000 smallholder farmers, through clean energy.

“Insufficient energy access has stifled economic activity, private investment, and job creation in Nigeria, all of which is needed to lift more than 100 million people out of poverty there and set them on a path to prosperity through improved livelihoods,” said USADF President and CEO Travis Adkins. “We’re proud that this force multiplier partnership serves as a model for supporting African enterprises in finding innovative and cost-effective ways to deliver clean energy to underserved and marginalized communities across Nigeria while combatting climate change, consistent with the Paris Agreement and sustainable development goals.”

A key difference in the 2022 Challenge will be a focus on the intersection of agriculture and clean energy, an even more targeted focus on productive use applications than in previous years.

“We are extremely proud of the continued success of the collaboration between The Rockefeller Foundation, the newly launched Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), and the All On Hub,” said Joseph Nganga, Managing Director of GEAPP in Africa. “The Hub has been instrumental in nurturing Nigerian enterprises that are making a difference in communities throughout Nigeria, and this Challenge is an excellent opportunity to accelerate our shared mission to nurture green businesses and jobs in the communities that are most in need.”

The 2022 Challenge is intended to identify a range of enterprises with solutions that will solve pain points and challenges that ultimately improve livelihoods and local economies in Nigeria.

Eligible enterprises may be developers of their own technology and/or acquiring and implementing technologies developed elsewhere. All applicants must be legally registered in Nigeria, be 100 percent African-owned and operated, and demonstrate the capacity to track and manage project resources and operate in good standing with the local governments in their areas of operation.

Up to US$50,000 will be provided in the form of convertible debt from All On along with up to US$50,000 in grant capital provided by USADF and the Rockefeller Foundation through the All On Hub for each selected company.

Challenge winners will be selected based on their demonstrated abilities to increase sustainable energy access, specifically off-grid solutions, and extend the delivery of electrification to unserved and underserved communities throughout Nigeria.

Entrepreneurs wishing to apply have been invited to visit the websites of All On and USADF. The USADF is the U.S. government’s independent African enterprise development agency.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.