BR2: The role of innovation competitions for off-grid energy in Africa

Policy Brief 2

Innovation competitions for new technologies and business models are one tool used by policy makers in a range of contexts and countries to help businesses in new fields overcome practical barriers blocking progress between successful pilots and commercialisation. This brief note discusses competitions relevant to African off-grid energy and how they could be designed and positioned to have greater impact in the future.

 Key points

  • 1.3 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity.
  • Innovation competitions are a useful tool for supporting early stage markets.
  • There is a pressing need for coordination between competitions and with other funding sources.
  • Early-stage training in general business skills would support entrepreneurs.
  • Follow up networks for winners should be encouraged and supported.

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