On Tuesday, June 5th World Environment Day, Impact Hub Kigali held an event to celebrate solar entrepreneurship and innovation.
A total of 2,390,000 RwF in cash prizes were handed out.
The winner of the solar innovation award was given 1,000,000 RwF cash prize. The winner among students was awarded 1,000,000 RwF and a 1 year free co-working space at Impact Hub Kigali. The second and third place both were awarded 6 months free co-working space at Impact Hub Kigali on top of 200,000 RwF and 150,000 RwF respectively. A special ‘solar hopeful’ award of 40,000 RwF and a Waka Waka light was handed to the individual with the best innovative solution who is hoping to go solar.
Innotech Ltd, a company that provides lighting and purified water to rural households in Rwanda through their solar offgridbox at very affordable prices won the solar innovation award.
First place among students was team Bag For Change, a group of students from Kepler university. Their solution is to make a school bag with a solar panel on the back and equipped with a power bank with a USB port that allows plugging a LED lamp or any other USB devices for rural kids in school.
Second place was Team Hydroponics, a group of students from Akilah institute whose solution is to create a hydroponic system to grow vegetables powered by solar energy.
Third place was snatched up by Team Equinox, a group of students from the University of Rwanda – Nyarugenge campus with the solution to use a solar dryer in post harvest conservation and drying.
Hakizimana Jean Pierre from Gakenke was awarded the ‘solar hopeful’ award for his innovative use of old car batteries and some wires. He is able to provide free electricity for himself and two neighbors.
During the event, students and young entrepreneurs were also able to interact and learn from major solar companies in the country like Waka Waka, Mesh Power, Ignite Solar, BBOXX, Munyax ECO and ARED as well as international investors from the Center for Sustainable Finance at the University of Zurich.
The Solar Entrepreneurship Program in partnership with WWF.
Posted by Impact Hub Kigali on Wednesday, June 20, 2018
The event was part of a pan-African program that kicked off in 2017 in partnership with WWF and aims to support the marketplace for solar energy in Africa. The program has involved offering design thinking, pitching and business modelling trainings to university students and young entrepreneurs, reaching as many as 500 young entrepreneurs across the country.
It will continue in the form of mentorship to the winning teams so that they will be able to refine their solutions even further for a chance to attract more capital and investments.
Furthermore, the program included a nationwide solar innovation search campaign that was launched a few weeks ago, and was aimed at identifying the company or individual entrepreneur with the most innovative solar solution, product, or hack that can inspire further innovation and adoption of renewable energy.