USAID announces 2nd phase of funding for solar startups

In Startup, Tech

US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced its second KSh400m (US$4 million) funding to propup solar startups that are lighting Sub Saharan Africa.

However, USAID will only be making investments based on a fund-matching model. Funding will go to early growth stage companies which can show a 2:1 private investor match; meaning that startups must be able to show a private investor is willing to commit twice the amount – on either an equity or debt basis – being requested from USAID.

This is the second time the NGO is releasing funds for offgrid investments after the November tranche which went to several startups. Some of the previous beneficiaries include d.light(Kenya) Fenix (Zambia), Greenlight Planet(Nigeria, Uganda), Orb Energy (Kenya), PEG Africa Ghana and many others.

The beyond the Grid leverages Power Africa’s innovative transaction-focused model to galvanize collaboration, engage in critical actions to accelerate transactions, and drive systemic reforms to facilitate future investment specifically relating to off-grid and small-scale energy solutions.

Beyond the Grid has partnered with over 40 investors and practitioners that have committed to invest over $1 billion into off-grid and small-scale solutions to this market.

READ: Solarpreneurs invent low cost irrigation pump

The organisation said it expects funding granted to range between US$500,000 and US$1.5 million per company.

To be considered, applicants must be early growth stage companies active in one or more African markets; and should be developing and scaling innovative solutions that will have broad reach across the sub-Saharan household solar market with the potential for high market impact.

Those interested are encouraged to contact the Scaling Off-Grid Energy team here describing their solution and listing interested investors, prior to submitting a concept paper.

he Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge is a $36 million initiative launched by Power Africa, USAID, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), and the independent charity, Shell Foundation. The goal is to empower entrepreneurs and investors in achieving 20 million connections so households in sub-Saharan Africa have access to clean, modern and affordable electricity by 2030.


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