13 start-ups win $100,000 in All On/USADF off-grid energy challenge
Thirteen energy enterprises have emerged successful winners in this year’s edition of the annual United State African Development Foundation (USADF)’s Nigeria Off-Grid Energy Challenge, in partnership with All On.
The annual challenge is a multi-year collaboration between USADF and All On to identify and scale innovative off-grid solutions to “power up” unserved and underserved areas in Nigeria.
The winners from the fourth edition of the challenge are: A1 Power Technologies, Alabaster Agro-Allied Industries, Bols N Sels Technologies, CeeSolar Energy, Elvees Engineering, Enercity Smart Grid, First Electric, GreenPower Overseas, Manamuz Electric, Novel Integrated Services, PowerStove Off-Grid Electricity, Sendavis Nigeria Limited, and Uwana Energy.
According to the organisers, all 13 start-ups will receive $50,000 in convertible debt from All On, $25,000 in grant capital from USADF, and $25,000 in grant capital from All On thanks to Rockefeller Foundation financing through the All On Hub.
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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.
“Congratulations to all of the winners, who have joined a select group of innovative Nigerian businesses that have emerged from this Challenge to make significant contributions to the Nigerian renewable energy sector and communities,” Travis Adkins, president and CEO, USADF.
“We extended our partnership with the Off-Grid Energy Challenge until December 2022, and we are pleased to see that this cohort has the most winners since the program’s inception, as well as a tremendous opportunity to benefit an estimated 16,000 people, including 4,000 smallholder farmers, through clean energy.”
Shell-seeded All On, an off-grid energy impact investment firm funded and supported the program through its technical support facility, the Rockefeller Foundation funded All On Hub.
“We remain extremely encouraged that the Challenge is still able to fund another cohort of strong winners in spite of a continued challenging Covid environment,” said Wiebe Boer, CEO, All On.
“These emerging indigenous companies have proven that they have what it takes to succeed, and we are confident that their innovations will contribute to solutions that will ultimately improve livelihoods and local economies in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, Bankole Komolafe, chairman of awardee First Electric, said first electric is pleased to have successfully secured funding to roll out an energy access project designed to ensure that underserved communities can enjoy sustainable and affordable power supply.
“The funds will be used for procurement, supply, and installation of interconnected Okra Pods, standalone solar home systems, and multipurpose solar lanterns to cover households in Ondo State, which historically have not had access to power from the grid, he said.
Meanwhile, the 2021 edition of the challenge saw eight of the 13 winning start-ups comprise women in leadership roles.
Damilola Asaleye, co-founder and chief operating officer, Ashdam Solar, one of the winners of the 2020 Challenge, said winning has transformed her company.
“Winning the challenge meant product/service expansion and growth for us at Ashdam Solar.
“The funds made it possible for us to deploy our very first solar mini-grid which brought energy security and economic development to last-mile communities that have been living in darkness for over 40 years,” she said.
According to the release, the challenge key features are to integrate productive-use elements with cleaner energy access technologies to improve the quality of the lives and businesses in the selected communities the projects will serve.
“The clean energy projects to be financed from the challenge include solar-powered mini-grids, solar and gas-powered agriculture processing, food preservation, and transportation solutions, solar home systems distribution, cold storage, and the combination of cold storage with mini-grids to serve the agricultural and economic needs within communities, among others.”