March 18/2021 /ENA/ The African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) has today launched a 1.2 million USD innovation fund to unlock the potential of renewable energy to create new business opportunities in Ethiopia.
Through the fund, businesses and entrepreneurs in Ethiopia can apply for funding to strengthen market readiness of emerging innovations.
The fund will also provide financial, technical, and networking support for taking existing proven prototypes to scale, according a press release sent to ENA.
AECF Chief Executive Officer, Victoria Sabula said that the Innovation Fund is key to enhancing large scale transformation within local communities.
Investing in affordable and accessible renewable energy solutions can create jobs, grow economies, and build more sustainable livelihoods, the CEO added.
“Through the fund, we hope to unearth new ways that renewable technology-be it domestic, communal, or commercial-can be used to generate income and create jobs.”
Solutions that reduce the negative impacts associated with the use of traditional cooking options at the household and institutional levels; build climate change resilience among communities and support productive uses such as water pumping, agro-processing, and cooling and refrigeration services are examples that the Fund seeks to support.
In applying, businesses and entrepreneurs will need to demonstrate how their proposed innovations will transform livelihoods of low-income households through creation of jobs and diversification of livelihoods, it was indicated.
With half of the African continent without access to electricity, and two-thirds lacking access to clean cooking solutions, additional investment is needed to drive innovation and accelerate the uptake of modern energy and meeting SDGs of ensuring universal access to reliable and sustainable energy.
The Fund will invest in technologies that meet market needs as well as accelerating the development of existing solutions to better serve African communities and not technologies in the prototype stage.