2 Rwandan startups finalists in $587k global challenge

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Two Rwandan startups have been named amongst the finalists of the EUR500,000 (US$587,000) Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, one of the largest sustainable enterprise competitions in the world.

Organised by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the annual Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is one of the largest annual international competitions in the field of sustainability innovation.

Participants are required submit a detailed business plan to the preliminary jury, who will establish whether the idea is viable. The best business plan that fights climate change wins EUR500,000, while the runner-up will take home EUR200,000 (US$235,000).

Two Rwandan startups have been named as finalists, namely ARED and EarthEnable. ARED has developed the Shiriki Hub, a mobile kiosk with solar panels, a Wi-Fi router and mobile phone charging stations. EarthEnable offers a sustainable and inexpensive solution for cement floors.

During the final event on September 14, the teams will compete for the prize money on offer against three other finalists: Glowee from France, Lightyear from the Netherlands, and Pond from Denmark.

“It’s amazing to be recognised as a green entrepreneur by such a competition in the field of sustainable innovation. The prize money enables us to scale up our business model and further improve the technology in the Shiriki Hubs,” said Henri Nyakarundi, founder of ARED.

EarthEnable co-founder Gayatri Datar said being chosen for the last five out of 515 entries was already a great achievement and an honour.

“With the prize money we plan to scale within Rwanda and likely in three other countries. The prize money gives us the opportunity to test different scaling models to find a viable scale strategy to improve the health and lives of millions of people who are still living on dirt floors,” Datar said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent’s most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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