Nairobi hosts inaugural Negawatt Challenge Definition Day


The inaugural Negawatt Challenge Definition Day has taken place in Nairobi, Kenya, with attendees identifying the four most pressing energy-related issues for Kenyan society which will serve as the scope for the Negawatt Challenge competition.

Disrupt Africa reported the World Bank’s Negawatt Challenge hosts innovation competitions in cities worldwide; with locations selected based on the government’s energy efficiency and low carbon growth, as well as the existence of dynamic and growing entrepreneurial and technology sectors.

The Challenge spans four months, and consists of four phases; starting with a Definition Day to identify the key energy problems around which the competition will be based, whereafter teams form to design and implement a solution for one of the identified issues.

The first Challenge Definition Day was held in Nairobi,  bringing together key energy and technology stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including non-governmental organizations, universities and entrepreneurs.

The attendees finally isolated four key energy related issues hampering Kenyan society.

The first problem identified is the inability to predict power consumption and the associated costs.

Second, the lack of awareness of green and renewable energies in Kenyan society.

The third problem named is the limited financing available to those Kenyan entrepreneurs active in the renewable energy sector; which attendees attributed to a failure on the part of financial institutions to see the relevance and importance of energy efficiency.

The final problem identified is the high electricity tariffs in the country.

“The Challenge Definition Day is a one-day workshop to identify Nairobi’s most pressing urban energy issues and translate them into concrete, actionable challenge statements. These challenge statements will define the scope of the Negawatt Challenge Competition and are therefore integral to the success of the initiative,” the Negawatt team said.

In the second phase of the competition, members of the public will be invited to comment and expand on these four issues identified; following which the third phase – the Negawatt Weekend, to be held at iLab between March 20 and 22 – will see participants form teams and execute their ideas addressing the challenges highlighted during the first two phases.  Teams refine and pitch their solutions in front of a jury.

The most promising ideas will progress to the three-week Negawatt Bootcamp, where they receive coaching and training to help further develop and prototype their solutions.

The programme culminates in a Demo Day, where global semi-finalists pitch against each other via video pitches uploaded to the NegaWatt site, as well as to Negawatt’s Kickstarter page.  Members of the public vote for the winner, and can opt to back their chosen startup.

The next Negawatt programmes are set to take place in Accra, and in Dar-Es-Salaam, although details have not yet been announced.



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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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