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Uncategorized By Jessica Colaço / November 21, 2011

Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund

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Does your company have a Great Business Idea that will help transform the way in which clean energy is generated and provided to people, especially those who have no access to electricity, in East Africa? Or an innovative solution that will help people in rural areas adapt and reduce their vulnerability to climate change?  Does your idea have the potential to be profitable as well as transformative?

If so, you need to apply to the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund for Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies (REACT). The deadline for applications is 15th December, 2011.

What is the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund REACT Window?

The AECF REACT Window is a special fund of the AECF that is open to business ideas based on renewable energy and adaptation to climate technologies.

Which ideas is the AECF prepared to support through the REACT Window?

  • Private sector energy providers to invest in and supply low cost, clean energy to rural households and businesses that have little hope of accessing power from the grid. This includes cost effective renewable power, commercially viable fuels and other clean energy alternatives.
  • Agri-business and other private sector players to provide innovative solutions to climate variability that help small-holder farmers to adapt to climate change.
  • Financial service providers to provide innovative solutions that:
    1. Increase access to finance for businesses providing clean energy and climate resilient technologies and help the poor access them.
    2. Catalyse commercial banks and micro finance institutions to increase lending to households and rural SMEs.
    3. Support insurance companies that provide weather insurance for smallholders.

How does the Challenge Fund work?

REACT is a funding competition open only to the private sector for business ideas and innovations that will create an impact in East African rural economies.  The first round of the competition, only recently closed, has awarded over US$15 million in grants and repayable grants to 21 exciting companies – both established as well as start-ups – for their business ideas that seek to harness state-of-the-art technology; private sector management practices, financing and supply chain expertise and the private sector’s desire for profit into renewable energy supply and climate change adaptation.  We believe that sustainable development is delivered in creating markets and market access, jobs and businesses, increasing productivity and reducing costs. So, if your company has a Great Business Idea that can transform rural energy supply or the ways in which smallholder farmers can adapt to climate change, then why not apply and compete for our attention in the second round of the REACT funding window?  And if you have an idea that does not fall easily into these groups and yet lies within the broad aims of the REACT funding window and the AECF, you’re still encouraged to apply – the box for innovation is open! For more information,  Please visit us on www.aecfafrica.org, or shoot us an email on react@aecfafrica.org.

Author : Jessica Colaço

Jessica Colaço is currently the Director of Partnerships at iHub. She was the Founding Manager between 2010 and 2011 at iHub and Research Director between 2011 and 2013 at iHub Research. She is passionate about Innovation, Research, Mobile and Robotics Technology, Mentorship and Entrepreneurship in Kenya as she uses her position at iHub to court local, regional and international stakeholders to adopt Kenyan-made and African-made solutions. As an upcoming angel investor, she courts local and international investors to invest in great tech ideas and companies at idea and concept stage. She is also a Mobile and Robotics Tech Evangelist, Co-Founder of WMIAfrica and AkiraChix, ISOC-Kenya Chapter, Treasurer, ACM-W Nairobi Chapter Chair, TED Global Fellow 2009 and upcoming Guitarist. She was named one of the top 40 women under 40 years in Kenya's business scene by Business Daily on 2009, 2011 and 2012. Her endeavour is to put Kenya and Africa on the map for technology achievements and spur innovation within the country and continent! She blogs at: www.jessicacolaco.wordpress.com


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