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Seedstars, Enel seeking energy entrepreneurs for Africa Energy Prize

Global startup competition Seedstars  in collaboration with Enel Group, a global power company, have announced the creation of the Africa Energy Prize.

The competition, which is aimed at African startups, is looking for startups that focus on increasing energy access. The collaboration, which was announced on 7 July, will form part of the existing annual Seedstars World Competition. 

Seedstars and Enel representatives will evaluate startups’ business models and the Enel team will announce the top finalists in December at the RES4Africa event.

The winner will be announced at the global Seedstars Summit in Switzerland in April next year, whereupon they will enter Seedstars’ three-month growth and acceleration programme.

Seedstars COO Katarina Szulenyiova told Ventureburn that the main criteria for the energy prize are the same as those for seed-stage startups applying for Seedstars World.

Seedstars, Enel representatives will evaluate startups’ business models, top finalists will be announced in December

The startups have to be less than two years old, should at least have a minimum viable product (MVP) and should not have raised more than $500 000 in investment.

“At the same time, startups should be bringing innovative energy solutions focused on electrical mobility, storage, distributed generation and energy efficiency, thereby tackling UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG7 – ensuring affordable and clean energy for all,” Szulenyiova emphasised.

Applicants who meet the criteria would be able to apply to any local Seedstars event in their respective home country.

The focus for this competition is on “solar-preneurs”; entrepreneurs who have identified solar power as the solution to Africa’s energy challenges. Reliable electricity supply is still a huge challenge on the continent, largely due to infrastructure and capacity issues.

“Together with Enel, we are especially interested in identifying innovative and disruptive business models focusing on electrifying remote rural regions and on the creation of related income-generating activities,” said Szulenyiova.

The International Energy Agency estimates that more than 95% of those globally living without electricity are situated in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. A 2014 paper by the International Energy Agency, titled the Africa Energy Outlook, posited that over 600 million people were without power in Sub-Saharan Africa.