The Energy Camp lasted three days. Five start-ups from Kenya and Uganda participated. As part of this incubator program, they were coached, their business ideas were critically examined, and in the end two young companies received the Startup|Energy Award. GBE Uganda sat on the jury and sponsored the event, which was hosted by the Solar Energy Foundation.
Start-ups in the energy sector can make an important contribution to improving the energy supply. This was demonstrated by the large amount of business ideas with which about 40 young companies applied to take part in the Energy Camp. From 27 to 29 September, the selected innovative founders experienced three challenging days with a lot of input and constructive criticism. Each start-up team was mentored by experienced business consultants and was able to further develop their business plan with their support during the three days. “With such a business plan, start-ups can approach potential investors or pitch for funding,” said Jackie Nandawula, energy investment advisor at Green People’s Energy (GBE) in Uganda.
The feedback from the participants was just as enthusiastic. “The networks and insights we gained there will help us a lot,” commented one participant. “With the help of the coaches, we have managed to identify additional sources of income,” said another participant.
The participating companies show just how innovative and diverse the ideas and technical solutions of African start-ups are. SolarPipo from Uganda wants to support diary cooperatives to adopt solar systems for milk chilling. Zuhura Solutions from Kenya produces solar-powered carts for street vending that run on solar instead of charcoal.
Award winner Drop Access developed the VacciBox, a portable, solar-powered refrigerator that enables the safe transport of vaccines and medications and real-time data management. Award winner Inno-Neat produces lithium-ion batteries from recycled cells, offering a solution for the disposal of old batteries from solar home systems. Both winners received 2,500 € in prize money. Probably more important for them is that they will be able to participate in the virtual Off-Grid Expo in Germany in December.
GBE Uganda financially supported the Energy Camp East Africa hosted by the Solar Energy Foundation. The University of Freiburg and the Solar Energy Foundation run this initiative to promote regional and international exchange between start-ups working in the field of decentralized and renewable energy in Germany and East Africa.
The next Energy Camp East Africa has already been scheduled. It will take place in March 2022. Start-ups can apply starting from 10 January 2022.