All On, USADF shortlist nine finalists for the $100k 2020 Nigeria Off Grid Energy Challenge


By Ikenna Omeje

All On and the US African Development Foundation (USADF), on Tuesday, announced the emergence of nine wholly African-owned enterprises  as finalists for the $100,000 2020 Nigeria Off-Grid Energy Challenge.

The winners of the third edition of the Challenge are Allbase Global Technology, Ashdam Solar Company, Covenant Plus Engineering, Green Acres Microfinance Bank, Reeddi Technologies, Salpha Energy, Solarworld Alternative Energy Resources, Sunhive Limited and Vesselnet Integrated Services Limited.

In a release, All On, an independent impact investing company,  seeded with funding from Shell, said that all nine enterprises will be awarded $25,000 in grant capital from USADF, $25,000 in grant capital from All On via its support from the Rockefeller Foundation through the All On Hub and $50,000 in convertible debt from All On. In addition to funding, the winners will receive technical assistance from USADF and governance support from the company.

Congratulating the finalists, President & CEO, USADF, C.D Glin said: “Congratulations to all the finalists on joining an innovative group of local enterprises that have come through this Challenge and are now making impactful contributions in the Nigerian renewable energy sector.”

“We are also happy to announce that the Off-Grid Energy Challenge partnership will be extended by an additional two years till December 2022.”

Also congratulating them, the CEO, All On, Wiebe Boer said: “In spite of a remarkably difficult year, we are pleased that the Challenge is providing funding to the 2020 cohort of winners.”

“These emerging indigenous companies have demonstrated that they have what it takes to succeed and over time, scale innovations that will ultimately improve livelihoods and local economies by providing power to unserved and underserved communities,” he added.

The winning enterprises are increasing sustainable energy access, specifically off-grid solutions, and extending the delivery of electrification to unserved and underserved communities in Nigeria.

On his part, the Executive Director, Rockefeller Foundation’s Power & Climate Initiative in Africa, Joseph Nganga said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the deep inequality in energy access and illustrated how essential reliable electricity is in homes, businesses, and health centers.”

 “Through the All On Hub we will continue to support All On in identifying and nurturing innovative entrepreneurs and businesses that are addressing Africa’s energy poverty by scaling Nigeria’s off grid sector.”

The 2020 cohort of winners includes two female-led energy companies, as part of the partners’ commitment to closing the gender gap in Nigeria’s growing renewable energy sector.

“We are extremely honoured to have made it to the finals,” said the Managing Director, Salpha Energy Limited, Sandra Chukwudozie.

“The funding will enable us to buy and distribute solar home systems in communities in the Niger Delta, and ultimately add thousands of new connections.”

The annual Challenge is a multi-year partnership that identifies and helps scale innovative off-grid solutions to “power up” unserved and underserved areas in Nigeria, established by USADF, a founding member of the United States Power Africa Initiative and an independent United States Government agency established by Congress to support and invest in African-owned and led enterprises and All On.

The application window for the fourth edition of the Challenge will be opened on January 15, 2021.

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