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Grants open for African innovators to harness clean energy for economic growth and climate resilience


Powering Renewable Energy Opportunities (PREO) is delighted to announce the opening of its latest funding round for innovators in sub-Saharan Africa. Launched on 1st December 2023, this open call presents an opportunity for ambitious entrepreneurs to secure a share of €3.6 million, part of a total commitment of over €8 million to support innovative, renewable energy-based projects, improving livelihoods and aiding job creation over the next four years.

Delivered by the Carbon Trust and Mercy Corps - Energy 4 Impact since 2019, with funding from the IKEA Foundation and UK aid via the Transforming Energy Access platform, PREO’s mission is to empower businesses to leverage clean energy, enhancing income, building climate resilience, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. This open call marks the start of the first of three funding rounds, with subsequent rounds expanding the focus to Asian and Indo-Pacific regions.

Eligible applicants, ideally at the pilot or pivot stage, should demonstrate the viability of a productive use of renewable energy business model. The grants aim to scale these models and innovations, with priority sectors including agro-processing, cooling, solar irrigation, e-waste recycling, textile production, e-mobility, education, healthcare, ICT, and street lighting.

Innovators can use PREO grant funding for activities such as covering upfront capital costs, operational expenses, building capacities, and designing information systems. This enables them to demonstrate positive unit economics, refine business models, and gather critical data to attract commercial capital more efficiently.

Since its inception in 2019, PREO has successfully awarded over €6.3 million in grants to 34 projects across 11 sub-Saharan African countries. In addition to grant funding, the programme has provided technical assistance to a further 20 companies through dedicated sector specialists and will continue to do so alongside the new round of grants.

Among the 34 African innovators supported, a combined total of €26 million has been raised in follow-on capital, sourced from both public and private sectors; 467 full and part-time jobs have been created, and 1,900 tonnes of CO2 emissions have been saved annually.

The positive outcomes of PREO-supported projects serve as inspiration and lay the groundwork for ongoing success in the upcoming phase. With a committed €7.2 million from the IKEA Foundation and £5 million from the UK Government via the Transforming Energy Access platform, their backing secures PREO's continuity for an additional four years. This sustained support underscores the recognised value of the initiative and a dedicated commitment to supporting future innovators across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Indo-Pacific region.

Interested innovators can visit the PREO website to download the full application pack. The deadline for application is 31st January, 2024.

View the press release in full.