The African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) has launched a Ksh. 132 million ($1.2 million) Innovation Fund to support new business opportunities in renewable energy. The fund is aimed at strengthening market readiness of emerging innovations, and secure financial, technical, and networking support for taking existing plans to scale.

Businesses and entrepreneurs in Kenya, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe are eligible to apply for funding on the AECF website. After their application, businesses and entrepreneurs will need to demonstrate the viability of their proposed innovations in transforming livelihoods of low-income households.

Countries all over the world have been shifting to reliable and sustainable energy, as part of the ambitious target set by the United Nations. However, with half of the African continent without access to electricity, and two-thirds lacking access to clean cooking solutions, additional investment is needed to innovate and accelerate the uptake of modern energy.

The Innovation Fund builds on AECF’s Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies (REACT) initiative, which was launched to support the private sector expand its clean energy technologies to rural communities. The Fund will invest in technologies that meet market needs, while accelerating development of existing solutions to better serve African communities.

Victoria Sabula, Chief Executive Officer of AECF, said, “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. Through the fund, we hope to unearth new ways that renewable technology.”

The deadline for the applications is 29th April 2021.