Two Fellows of Startup|Energy shortlisted for African Engineering Innovation Prize

In a celebration of engineering innovation in Africa, two Fellows of Startup|Energy – Christopher Maara and Léandre Berwa – are among 16 African engineering innovators shortlisted for the $60,000 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. The prize will be shared among four finalists to emerge from the longlist.

This are the shortlisted innovations:

  • Christopher Maara, Founder of Kiri EV in Kenya, offers an end-to-end affordable and clean energy mobility provider, from electric motorcycles, scooters and tuktuks to battery charging infrastructure across Kenya.
  • Léandre Berwa is Co-Founder of SLS Energy in Rwanda. He offers a solution that repurposes retired electric vehicle (EV) batteries to be assembled as a back-up power supply for telecom towers and mini electricity grids.

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation at the Royal Academy of Engineering noted that by being shortlisted for the Africa Prize, innovators benefit from support including business incubation, mentoring, fundraising and communication with access to the Academy’s global network of high-profile engineering and business experts in the UK, Africa and beyond.

This is not the first time Startup|Energy has been represented at the prestigious Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation:

  • In 2023, Tolulope Olukokun, founder of ThinkBikes (Nigeria) won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation’s One-to-Watch Award of £5,000. The Award recognises the potential of his innovation, an electric cargo bike with a battery powered fridge to help Nigeria’s smallholder farmers get fresh food crops to market.
  • In 2022, Norah Magero, co-founder of DropAccess, was the first Kenyan ever to win the prestigious prize with the VacciBox: a small, mobile, solar-powered fridge that safely stores and transports temperature-sensitive medicines such as vaccines, for use in field vaccinations and in off-grid hospitals.

The shortlisting of the engineers is part of the broader selection of 16 innovators from eight African countries, showcasing groundbreaking solutions ranging from eco-friendly roofing materials to solar-powered agricultural pest detection devices.

The final round of the award, which is scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, in June 2024, during the Africa Prize’s 10th anniversary, will see four finalists present their innovations and business plans.

The winner will receive a total prize of N26 million with three runners-up awarded an average of N10 million each.