competition
Featured image: Stock

UK’s energy company, EDF, recently awarded the four winners of the second edition of its EDF Pulse Africa Awards in Paris.

The contest is aimed at revealing and supporting African innovators committed to the continent's energy development.

With 4 times more candidates than last year, the company noted that EDF Pulse Africa confirms the dynamism of African start-ups and the interest in the support approach proposed by EDF.

The 2018 edition of EDF Pulse Africa attracted 432 projects from 24 African countries, mostly English-speaking, compared to 103 from 17 countries last year. Read more: EDF Pulse Africa competition launches second edition

Among the 10 finalists, the multidisciplinary Grand Jury has awarded the following projects:

1st prize: Savanna Circuit Tech (production category of electrical uses and services, Kenya)
Savanna Circuit Tech proposes a mobile cooling system of milk working with solar energy.

The scheme aims to reduce milk losses, which are very penalising for small producers, linked to transport distances and lack of infrastructure for conservation. It also helps to combat food insecurity by suppressing bacteria.

The solution is complemented by a platform accessible via smartphone, allowing producers and dairy companies to maximise their profits.

2nd prize: Black Star Energy Ltd (off-grid power generation category, Ghana)
This Ghanaian start-up specialises in the development of mini-grids; it already operates 15 and aims to connect more than 12,000 Ghanaians to electricity by the end of the year.

Black Star Energy's mini-grids have very high availability (over 98%); they allow customers to know their energy consumption and pay their bills via mobile phone.

The Black Stat Energy customer relationship management platform has the flexibility to meet the varied needs of customers with different pricing schedules.

3rd Prize: SolarCreed (off-grid power generation, Nigeria)
SolarCreed is supplying Nigeria's poultry farmers with solar-powered lighting solutions to replace fossil fuel-powered lighting, which accounts for nearly 30 % of the cost of operating a farm.

Kits consisting of solar panels, long-life lithium-ion batteries and LED lamps can provide up to 10 hours of lighting.

3rd ex-equo prize: Water Access Rwanda (Access to water category, Rwanda)
Water Access Rwanda has developed a solar kiosk for the distribution of drinking water. The solution is based on a water treatment and distribution plant called "INUMA", powered by solar energy and equipped with a powerful filtering system.

An INUMA kiosk can serve 2,500 people with purified and potable water. In addition, the INUMA kiosk is also a point of sale for products and services adapted to local needs (sanitary products, filters and chlorine tablets, telecommunication services, savings and microfinance systems).

Favorite prize: Save our agriculture, (Category Access to water, Cameroon)
Specialising in aquaponics (form of aquaculture that combines the cultivation of plants with fish farming), the start-up has developed kits allowing individuals and professionals to use fish droppings as fertiliser for growing organic vegetables.

The aquaponics kits are solar powered, use only 10% water compared to traditional agriculture, reduce the amount of waste in fishponds by 90% and eliminate the use of chemical fertilisers.

Support growth

The four winners have won prizes ranging from €5,000 to €15,000, as well as full support, including:

  • operational and financial advice
  • project development partnerships with local players such as "Energy Generation" (incubator and training center dedicated to start-ups in the energy sector based in Togo) and with EDF's experts, particularly through its subsidiary EDF Pulse Growth
  • access to EDF's innovation ecosystem: EDF's R&D and internal creativity labs

Marianne Laigneau, group executive director in charge of international management and chairman of the EDF Pulse Africa Jury, said: “The success of this second edition of the EDF Pulse Africa Awards confirms the attractiveness of the support approach proposed by EDF.

“The extraordinary richness of the candidate projects reveals the entrepreneurial potential of African youth, both audacious, innovative and perfectly in tune with the challenges of its continent. We are proud to encourage these particularly inspiring initiatives, which will be part of the energy solutions of tomorrow and which are part of the dynamic of our portfolio of activities in Africa.”