Spurred on by the success of its first EDF Pulse Africa competition, which came to a close in December 2017, EDF is repeating the initiative with the very same goal: spotlighting and supporting African innovators who are contributing to the continent’s energy growth. Starting on the 23rd of May 2018, African start-ups will be able to submit projects in three categories: off-grid power generation, electricity uses & services and access to water through electrical power (farming and drinking water).
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Start-ups are now a permanent fixture in Africa’s socio-economic landscape. However, Africa’s economic momentum is accompanied by a more complex reality where young entrepreneurs struggle to get funding and expand their businesses, these being the main obstacles to the development of start-ups.
With its EDF Pulse Africa awards, EDF is seeking to support entrepreneurship in Africa by pursuing two goals:
• Identifying potential partners by unearthing the continent’s technological talents;
• Supporting innovation by involving local entrepreneurs in the development of more innovative offerings.
The competition is open to start-ups in all African countries, including both French and English-speaking countries. They will have until the 1st of August 2018 to submit their applications on the following website: africa-pulse.edf.com. Committees made up of experts specialising in the field of innovation will select the ten most innovative projects and from this selection, the Grand Jury will award three prizes. The prize-giving ceremony will take place in Paris on the 22nd of November 2018.
In addition to the endowments granted for developing their projects, prize-winners will be fully supported throughout the process:
• Operational/financial advice;
• Project development partnerships with local players like Energy Generation (Togo-based incubator and training centre for start-ups in the energy sector) and with EDF experts, through its subsidiary EDF Nouveaux Business, for example;
• Access to EDF’s innovation ecosystem: EDF’s R&D organisation and creativity labs.
This second EDF Pulse Africa competition confirms EDF’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs who are already stepping up to face Africa’s future challenges. With 50 years of experience on the African continent, EDF is actively developing low- carbon energy solutions whilst continuing to expand the continent’s electricity infrastructure. The EDF Pulse Africa initiative follows on from the EDF Pulse awards which, since being launched in 2012, have already shone the light on and supported 1500 innovation projects being developed by start-ups in France, the UK and Italy.
Valérie Levkov, EDF Group Executive in charge of the Africa branch: “The success enjoyed by the first EDF Pulse Africa competition confirmed the benefits of this initiative by revealing the incredible innovation potential of African start-ups. We are excited to be launching this second competition whilst continuing to support the winners of the previous one. We are hoping to see the emergence of new technologies and new products that will meet the African continent’s energy challenges and that mesh with our portfolio of hydro, biomass and off-grid projects currently being developed in Africa”.
Winners of the first competition:
1st prize: MAJIK WATER, a project developed by the Kenyan entrepreneur Beth Koigi. Majik Water develops atmospheric water generators powered by solar panels to convert humidity into water.
2nd prize: LONO, an Ivorian start-up which converts organic waste into biogas for cooking fuel and into biomethane for power generation.
3rd prize: EDUAIR, a project developed by Yann Nkengue from the Republic of Cameroon. Yann sells digital boxes providing access to all types of digital content without the need for an internet connection. These smart boxes are powered around the clock and help to reduce the digital divide.
The jury decided to grant a special merit award to Nicolas Sancy for his NANOE project from Madagascar, a collective solution for the local generation, storage and distribution of solar power.