Ashden, a not-for-profit green energy-focused organization, has selected three African startups for the finals of its 2016 International Awards.
The Ashden International Awards is aimed at rewarding innovative enterprises and programmes that is involved, either directly or indirectly, in the delivery of renewable energy for the betterment of people and the environment.
In no particular order, the African finalists are described below.
Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN) Namibia provides affordable sustainable mobility, creates jobs and generates revenue for community development.
It has helped establish more than 30 bike shops in Namibia. Each is run independently by local entrepreneurs who have been trained in bicycle mechanics and business skills.
The shops sell and service refurbished second hand bicycles sourced from partners around the world, and profits benefit local community projects like HIV outreach programmes.
Currently, nearly 35,000 bicycles are in use.
Mobisol (East Africa) sells high power solar systems which can be used not just for homes but for small businesses, enabling entrepreneurial customers to earn additional income.
The company is adapting to the fast moving world of mobile technology and providing customers with affordable payment plans, comprehensive customer service and ultimately a happier and healthier life.
Mobisol has so far installed over 40,000 solar home systems in rural regions of Tanzania and Rwanda, which are fully owned by the customer after three years of affordable payments.
SunFunder (Tanzania) is unlocking capital for many beyond-the-grid solar companies in need of a reliable and continuous source of debt financing that they can easily access by providing investors the opportunity to lend to a carefully selected portfolio of solar businesses.
It has so far provided over US$8 million of finance to solar businesses in ten countries, helping them to offer solar electricity to thousands of people.
The three startups will compete with nine other startups for the prizes on offer. Six winners will receive prize funds of £20,000 and one Gold Award winner receive a prize fund of £30,000.
The winners will be announced during the Awards week, which will take place from June 6 – 10, 2016 in the United Kingddom.
Aside the funds, the winners will receive various benefits such as national and international publicity, business support, a broadcast-quality short film of the award-winning work, pitching opportunities at the Ashden Awards and conference, and so on.
The awards was open to businesses, NGOs, social enterprises and government organizations from select countries with work that has been proven on the market and have been delivered for at least one year.
At the 2015 Ashden Awards ceremony that took place on June 11 in London, United Kingdom, Kenya’s SteamCo won the International Gold Award, receiving £40,000 in the process.
Headquartered in London, UK, Ashden was founded with the vision of creating a world where there is sustainable energy for all.