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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Groups award $70,000 in ideation grants to top clean energy start-ups

Seven Nigerian clean energy start-up ventures will each receive a $10,000 grant award at the end of the 2021 Enterprise Development Programme (EDP), having emerged as winners with the most innovative concepts.

Clean Technology and All On
Representatives of the grantees as well as those of Clean Technology and All On

The winners are: Brigter, Kodar Embedded Technologies, Osomobegbe Global Ventures (OGV), Renerworld Global, Rural LightsUp Energy, Switch Solar, and Solconomy.

The EDP is an incubation programme run by Clean Technology Incubation and Acceleration Foundation (Clean Tech Hub) and sponsored by All On and the Rockefeller Foundation via the All On Hub.

“We are very pleased with our seamless collaboration with All On for the second year in a row, investing in much needed sectoral development. I implore all cohorts, win or lose, to keep plugging away and building on those innovative ideas you believe in and at some point, that work will be recognised in even greater ways,” said Ify Malo, Co-Founder/Executive Director, Clean Tech Hub.

The objective of the incubation programme is to train and support renewable energy entrepreneurs to move innovative ideas from ideation or concept to implementation. The programme, now in its second year, has helped 30 entrepreneurs upskill significantly, with grant winners utilising the funds to refine their product concepts, build out prototypes, recruit talent and pilot solutions.

This year’s grantees were selected from 17 finalists, of which eight have women in senior management. They went through the six-month online incubation programme, commencing in July 2021 and culminating in a live demo day pitch event in Abuja on 10 December 2021. Pitches included innovative energy storage, an AI-driven training platform, e-mobility, energy efficiency & monitoring tech, minigrid, SHS and waste-to-energy solutions.

“The capital means scalability and more impact for my business and will enable us reach more farmers in our community and save over 100 metric tons of perishable vegetables from spoilage,” said Nentaweh Othman, Co-founder, Osomobegbe Global Ventures (OGV).

“I gained a lot from the incubation program from business structuring to financial management and marketing. As a female co-founder it means courage and endless possibilities for women in the renewable energy sector,” she added.

Bolaji Onolaja of Switch Solar echoed similar sentiments, saying: “The programme was very beneficial to the team, and was a great learning experience. We’ve worked hard throughout the year so it’s great being recognised for the work already done…In addition, the affiliation with a large investment company like All On at this stage, gives us access to more resources to scale even quicker.”

The finalists were trained on various subjects aimed at enhancing their business acumen. Topics included strategy and business planning, product development, policy & regulatory environment, business finance, customer discovery & market segmentation, capital raising and pitching. A total of 175 entrepreneurs and ventures applied for the 2021 programme, representing an increase of 64% from the previous year’s 107 applications.

The All On Hub, which is funded and supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, oversaw the programme’s coordination as part of a larger technical support programme for off grid energy companies in Nigeria.

“It has been fantastic delivering this sector-building initiative alongside the Clean Tech Hub for a second year. With the level of interest in the programme and the quality of entrepreneurs and innovate ideas coming through, we remain convinced of a brighter future for Nigeria,” said Sele Inegbedion, All On Hub Manager.

“This programme has again highlighted how critical such initiatives and collaborations are to a growing Nigerian renewable energy sector,” added Inegbedion.

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