African clean energy solutions can apply for share of $50m UK innovation fund

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Up to GBP40 million (US$50 million) in innovation funding is to be made available to help combat climate change through clean energy access for communities in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Indo-Pacific regions.

Announced as part of Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst Round 9 and 10 funding cycles, the funding will help create and demonstrate new technologies and business models delivering a just and inclusive clean energy transition

Funding for the two rounds is coming from the UK Government’s Ayton Fund for clean energy innovation, including the scale-up of the FCDO’s Transforming Energy Access platform announced at COP 26 in Glasgow.

“The UK is stepping up our partnership with emerging economies to help them access the clean and affordable energy they need. We’re delivering on the Glasgow Breakthroughs, the commitments made at COP26 to ensure clean technologies are the cheapest and best choice for all globally,” Vicky Ford, the UK’s Minister for Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, said.

“Since 2016 our Transforming Energy Access Programme has already helped innovative businesses deliver clean energy access to more than 16 million people, and leverage over GBP890 million in further investment. These two new funding rounds will support many more companies working in this area, grow our partnerships with other countries, and help combat climate change.”

Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst programme is one of the UK’s biggest energy access focused grant funding initiatives. This latest round of funding aims to support innovations which improve energy access in a sustainable way, reducing reliance on fossil fuels in these regions.

By also providing financial and advisory support to innovators, the programme helps to create strategic partnerships, channel knowledge and insights and develop business models to commercialise the solutions that will improve lives.

The funding competition is open to organisations working to create new or improved clean energy solutions for target regions and each collaborative project can apply for up to GBP5 million (US$6.25 million) in project costs. 

Applicants can be from anywhere in the world, provided a project admin lead is based in the UK and projects focus on a technology or a business model which is affordable, reliable and low carbon. Applications for Round 9 close on August 10, with Round 10 expected to be announced in early 2023. More information and funding applications are available from the UK Government’s website.

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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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