Smart Villages competition open to East African entrepreneurs


The Smart Villages initiative has launched the second edition of the Energy Innovation Challenge, offering five East African startups the chance to win US$3,000 to help implement their off-grid energy-powered social enterprise.

The Energy Innovation Challenge is open to East African students and recent graduates who have ideas for businesses that are made possible by off-grid energy access, and address challenges faced by communities.

Up to five candidates will be selected to participate in a seven-week certified intensive practical business training from the Cambridge Development Initiative (CDI), to be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to help develop their idea and build it into full business plan and investment proposition.

At the end of the training period, finalists will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges who will chose the winning team, which will take away US$3,000 in prize money to implement their idea.

“Technological innovations for providing electricity services to rural villages have recently started to change the landscape of off-grid energy across the world, including East and Central Africa. Access to new forms of energy opens doors to a whole range of new social businesses and productive enterprises,” said the organisers about the competition concept.

To apply, candidates must explain the specific problem their idea is trying to solve; their proposed solution, how it is new and why it will work; and how the solution will impact their community, and how it might apply to other communities across East Africa.

Applications can be made here, until April 16.


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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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