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International law firm, Hogan Lovells, in partnership with SEED and Barefoot College, have launched an initiative seeking to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly access to clean energy.

The project is targeted at start-ups that are significantly improving the lives of women and girls, particularly those that focus on gender equality or female empowerment from developing countries.

To this end, the Hogan Lovells Community Solar Innovation Awards, implemented by Adelphi, was born out of this collaboration.

The 2018 SEED South Africa Symposium in Pretoria held an award ceremony on Thursday after having received over 280 applications across 53 countries, 54% of which were youth (under age 35) and 42% of which were female led.

10 winning enterprises and financial award winners were selected by an independent international judging panel. Click here to learn more about all the winners.

Solar energy making a difference

Judge and global head of Hogan Lovells Energy and Natural Resources Group, Scot Anderson said: These awards demonstrate the incredible innovation in capturing and using solar energy to make a real difference to the lives of people in some of the world’s poorest areas.”

As overall winner, was Village Energy from Uganda, receiving a $10,000 financial award. Read more: Power Africa launches initiative to boost energy access in Uganda

Commenting on the achievement, Abu Musuuza said: “This is a validation that our hard work over the years is finally being recognised globally. This prize will really help us to increase the vocational training we are providing to rural youth and women.

“We want to develop rural businesses which continue to be neglected – we want to train them, finance them and really get them to be more productive.”

All winners will receive a tailor-made business support package including: up to $30,000 pro bono legal advice; peer networking; one-on-one support and mentorship to develop business and financial plans; and support from SEED to replicate their business model in other regions around the world.

African Utility Week