Lagos, Nigeria — The U.S. African Development Foundation, USADF and All On have officially opened the application window for 2020 Nigeria Off-Grid Energy Challenge, which will provide up to $100,000 in blended finance per enterprise for successful applicants. The 2020 application window opens on January 15 and closes on February 29, 2020. The Rockefeller Foundation is also providing funding support for the 2020 edition of the program.
USADF, a founding member of Power Africa established by Congress to support and invest in African-owned and led enterprises, and All On, an off-grid energy impact investing company seeded by Shell in Nigeria, established the Challenge as a multi-year partnership to identify and help scale innovative off-grid solutions to “power up” unserved and underserved areas in Nigeria.
Now in the third year of the partnership, the parties will jointly provide funding to 100% African-owned and operated small- and medium-size enterprises that improve energy access through off-grid energy solutions spanning solar, wind, hydro, biomass, and gas technologies.
The enterprises may be developers of their own technology and/or acquiring and implementing technologies developed elsewhere. To benefit, applicants need to be legally registered in Nigeria, demonstrate the capacity to track and manage project resources and operate in good standing with the local governments in their areas of operation. Up to $50,000 per selected company will be provided in the form of convertible debt, along with up to $50,000 of grant capital.
Sixteen Nigerian companies have been selected through the 2018 and 2019 editions.
The winners of the 2019 Nigeria Off-Grid Energy Challenge were ICE Commercial Power, Sosai Renewables, Greenage Energy, Pirano Energy, Sholep Energy, Entric Power Systems, ACOB Lighting, NexGen Energy, and Protergia Nigeria. In the first edition of the Challenge in 2018, the recipients were Prado Power Ltd, Darway Coast, Auxano, Eastwind Labs, Alyx, Creeds Energy, and iKabin.
According to 2018 Challenge winner Ola Abraham, CEO of EastWind Labs, “The USADF-All On blended finance has enabled my company to profitably provide solar-powered Refrigeration as a Service (RAAS) to Ile-Ife, touching hundreds of families and businesses daily. The USADF and All On due diligence processes are brutally thorough. You’d think they want to deny you the funding. On the contrary; that’s just the secret sauce for your business success. Apply, compete, win,” he said.
Aaron Esumeh, CEO of Enugu-based 2019 Challenge winner Greenage Energy, added, “The selection process for the USADF-All On Off-Grid Energy Challenge was very detailed and transparent, and winning the Challenge has inspired us greatly. This opportunity will make us more impactful to society, providing electricity to the underserved.”