Climate change and resource scarcity demand decentralized, renewable energy systems and smart solutions worldwide. This requires constant innovation, embedded in local contexts, to achieve the greatest impact. Startups solve the challenges of a decentralized, renewable energy supply out of their own context.
In this context, African energy startups face particular challenges:
- The distributed renewable energy sector in Africa is controlled by non-African companies. And they often use their market power and connections to stack the odds against new entrants with disruptive business models.
- Access to international investments is significantly more difficult: Over $500 million in funding in 2021 went to African energy sector startups. But: Eight of the top 10 African startups that attracted the most capital were led by non-Africans.
The Startup|Energy initiative builds on the long-standing activities of the Stiftung Solarenergie – Solar Energy Foundation (Freiburg) to promote indigenous solar companies in Africa. Together with the University of Freiburg, it was possible to offer a novel accelerator program for energy startups for the first time in 2021.
In the meantime, several additional offers have developed from this, which are constantly being further developed.
A key component since 2021 has been the provision of a news platform and regular newsletter for and about African energy startups: www.startup-energy.org. Today, this news platform is one of the leading providers of information for African startups and innovations in the field of decentralised renewable energy supply. The offer is not only strongly used by startups, but increasingly also by investors, companies and practitioners.