Smart Villages announces finalists in the 2016 Energy Innovation Challenge for East Africa

Smart Villages today announces finalists in the second annual Smart Villages Energy Innovation Challenge. Building on last year’s success, this year’s competition challenged aspiring young East African entrepreneurs to come up with an idea for a social business powered by off-grid energy. Social businesses are financially sustainable and also deliver positive social impacts to the end user.

Six finalists have won a spot in the Cambridge Development Initiative’s (CDI) 2016 DAREnterprisers entrepreneurship training course and the opportunity to pitch to win $3000 in prize capital to help implement their idea.  Smart Villages would like to congratulate Andrew Kasujja, Ronnie Ssejjuko, Fred Tuhairwe of Uganda and Leticia George, Frank Kanizio and Simon Kalolo of Tanzania.  Finalists were selected on the basis of their applications and personal interviews with the CDI leadership.

The finalists will travel to Dar es Salaam where they will work with CDI trainers to refine and develop their business ideas from July through September and will pitch for seed capital for their businesses at the Dare to Change Dar conference, scheduled for 16th September 2016.

Kristin Shine Polman, Director for International Competitions for Smart Villages commented: “Smart Villages is pleased to be collaborating with the CDI on this second annual competition to support aspiring East African entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs have a key role to play in increasing energy access in off-grid communities and we are happy to be able to support young East African entrepreneurs as they build the business skills critical for turning their ideas into reality.”

The DAREnterprisers course and Smart Villages Energy Innovation Challenge are strengthened by a range of expert partners. This years confirmed partners include The University of Dar es Salaam, the University of Cambridge, Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBi), Digital Opportunity Trust (dot), the National Economic Empowerment Council (NEEC) and Buni Hub at Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology COSTECH, Global Village Energy Partnership International (GVEP) and Practical Action.

This is the third competition run by the Smart Villages Initiative as part of their international project evaluating ways of providing off-grid energy as a catalyst for development in rural villages.   James Ogingo and Clifford Okoth of Chemolex were named the winners of the 2015 Energy Innovation Challenge for East Africa and Shaym Patra of Naturetech Infra was named the winner of the 2016 Off-grid Energy Impact Competition for India.

More information on the CDI’s DAREnterprisers course and other tracks can be found at:

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