Smart Villages Off-Grid Energy Innovation Challenge 2016 for Early Stage West African Entrepreneurs (USD$ 5000 Prize)

Application Deadline: November 2016

Technological innovations for providing energy to off-grid communities have started to change the energy access landscape across the world, especially in West Africa. Access to affordable new forms of energy also opens doors to a whole range of new social enterprises, where the business delivers a positive social impact for the end
user in terms of.

Tell Smart Villages about how you want to grow your existing off-grid energy business to win professional mentorship and up to $5000 prize capital

The Smart Villages West Africa Innovation Competition seeks to find and support early stage off-grid energy entrepreneurs. Businesses must have at least an existing prototype and business model to enter.

  • Who? Early stage entrepreneurs with an existing prototype for a social business that generates or can be powered by off-grid energy
  • What? A competition for business, financial and legal services through the Bridges for Enterprise program and up to $5000 in prize capital
  • When? October – November 2016 – applications accepted January – March 2017 – business consulting engagement
  • April – investment propositions considered for prize capital Winners who successfully complete the business consulting engagement will also be eligible for Finance and Legal Advisory services from October 2017
  • Where? English-speaking applicants currently based in West African countries
    with business to benefit off-grid communities
  • Why? To give motivated young entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop business skills, build their network and win prize capital

Examples of eligible businesses could include (but are not limited to):
▪▪ Businesses that generate and supply energy to off-grid communities
▪▪ Low-energy appliances, capable of running with little or no electricity
▪▪ Mobile-phone-based businesses
▪▪ Innovative methods of food processing or storage, enabled by off-grid energy
▪▪ Education and healthcare businesses made possible by off-grid energy
The Basics


  • Winners will be offered a spot in Bridges for Enterprise, a program that connects early stage companies with experts in business, finance, law and entrepreneurship to help them grow their businesses.
  • From January to March 2017, student consultants from prestigious universities
    (e.g. Princeton, NYU, Cambridge) together with consulting mentors (e.g. McKinsey, BCG) will be working alongside winners to provide strategic advice and develop an investment proposition.
  • After three months of working with the mentors, winners will be able submit their investment proposition for a chance to win up to 5000 USD in prize capital to help implement their ideas.


  • Oct 2016 Submissions open for the Smart Villages Off-grid Energy Challenge
  • Nov 2016 Interviews take place and winning teams selected
  • Jan – Mar 2017 Business consulting engagement
  • Apr 2017 Winners submit investment propositions for prize capital
  • May 2017 90% of prize capital awarded, final 10% due on 1 year update

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Smart Villages Off-Grid Energy Innovation Challenge 2016


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