Publish on 22/11/2019
1st Prize and winner of the 2019 edition: LIFI LED
Thanks to its 3-in-1 solution, Ange Balma, Lifi Led’s founder, has created a unanimous opinion amongst the Jury Member. Actually, his solution ticked all the boxes of tomorrow’s development stakes in Africa: this Ivorian product offers an access to Internet, electricity and educational content at the very same time. And what can be more convincing for a Jury than seeing the efficiency of a product by its own eyes, in live? Ange made his point by proving that Lifi Led was able to reduce the African digital divide while developing a clean and reliable access to electricity!
2nd Prize: AFRICA-TECH
Boutamékpo Adakpo’s project “Energy Cycle” has deeply aroused the Jury’s interest, and for a good reason. Why do Africa’s rural inhabitants use a motorcycle to reach villages where they can charge their phones, while they can use this very same vehicle’s energy to do the same in their own place? Now that the question is asked by this young Togolese who grew up in a rural area scarce in electricity, the answer seems obvious, isn’t it? “Energy Cycle” was born from this observation: it offers a USB device that can be directly plugged on two-wheeled vehicles, either they are owned by a person or a company. The 5V equipment charges up phones and lamps and doing so, increases the drivers’ security.
3rd Prize: HYDROBOX
Alice Mumbi, HydroBox’s operational manager, was the 10-employee start-up’s honorable representative during EDF Pulse Africa Finale. Their offer consists of containerized hydro power plants providing electricity to remotes villages in Kenya. Their assets? The use of an advanced technology and the standardization of the containers. Both of these differentiating features allow HydroBox to have a unique and profitable economic model. The start-up’s story-telling – quite reflective of Kenyan daily life – finished convincing the Jury about the social impact of the project. Have a look over here.
Special Prize of the Jury: CLEAN ENERGY SERVICES
Using local materials and a double source of energy (thermic and photovoltaic), Triomphant Tchulang managed to create a unique bisolar tech fridge. He came all the way from Cameroon with his photothermic solar fridge prototype to offer the Jury an operational model of his idea and project. Getting rid of the electricity scarcity issue, the solution intends to get into the African market with a triple ambition: preserve hospital’s vaccines and medicines, reduce loss of foodstuffs and improve thermic comfort of the user. Actually, the excess energy produced can be used to charge a phone or light up a room. Clearly, a global project solving several daily Cameroonian issues.
“Boost by EDF” Prize: PLENTIFY
Jon Kornik could not go back to Cape Town empty-handed. As founder and CEO of the South-African start-up Plentify, he proposed a mature, innovative and challenging project to the welcoming ears of the Jury. Plentify offers a solution to reduce reliance on an expensive dirty electricity production when demand is high. To do so, it turns water heaters into grid-connected thermal battery when electricity is abundant on the grid. Using both a mobile app and an IA motor, the device seduced the Great Jury that decided to create a special mention for the occasion: “Boost by EDF” – a promise for a future collaboration.
Publish on 30/10/2019
Coldhubs, NIGERIA - Coldhubs, a young Nigerian start-up, offers 100% solar-powered cold rooms used by famers and retailers. Implanted near market places and farm clusters, these cold rooms are used to store perishable food in order to improve their preservation. The aim of the project is to allow farmers to store their products in order to increase their income while avoiding food wastage. To do that, Coldhubs already created partnerships with local farmer associations, which allowed the development of 19 cold rooms all across Nigeria.
Hydro Box, KENYA – Only 10% of the households of Murang’a County have access to the national grid. From this assessment was born the idea of Hydro Box, a start-up developing containerized hydropower plants to produce affordable and reliable electricity. The solution’s main benefit lies in its standardization: installation is quicker, maintenance costs are lower and it is even possible to move the hydropower plant if external conditions demand it. What’s more, HydroBox put smart sensors based on AI technology to adapt to the site’s distinctive features in order to maximize energy production.
Nafarm Foods, NIGERIA – Born from the ambition of reducing food shortage periods in Nigeria, Nafarm Foods transforms freshly harvest vegetables into storable products available all year long at low prices. Nafarm Foods provides food dryers powered by PVC panel and thermoelectric cooler to produce tomato powder, stew and even dried tomatoes. This process offers two guaranties: a stable income adapted to the farmer’s yearly harvest and food sustainability for Nigerian households thanks to local, healthy and affordable products.
Powerstove, NIGERIA – To enter the cooking equipment market in Africa, Powerstove decided to develop clean cookstoves that uses its own biomass system to produce energy. The integrated IoT system leads to an optimization of the used biomass to maximize the energy efficiency. While reducing the time spend cooking, the system uses the excess of energy to charge devices, even when the fire is off. Actually, Powerstove offers alternative solutions that are efficient, fast-cooking and uses cheaper cooking fuels!
Solar Ecobat, MAURITANIA – Solar Ecobat is Mauritanian start-up created by an entrepreneurial women that offers solar lamps made out of recycle materials such as wood and iron. Composed mainly by technical and engineer profiles, the enterprise wishes to adapt the lamps to each customer’s needs. If the development of such a product is still deeply handmade, Solar Ecobat intends to substitute its clean lamps to the widely spread oil lamps to reduce the impact of expensive and harmful electricity.
Publish on 04/10/2019
To finish the African challenge on a high note and engrave the event’s magnitude in people’s mind until next edition, EDF Cameroon though big. Firstly, EDF’s concession has bet on the high quality of the profiles appointed to assess the candidates’ speeches. And that is why sixteen noticeable jury members sat around the table to express their opinion in light of their previous experience. Among them, four ministers volunteered to pay a tribute to the Cameroonian entrepreneurial dynamism. Achille Bassilekin III, Minister of SME, Social Economy and Handicrafts ; George Elanga Obam, Minister of Decentralization and Local Development ; Gaston Eloundou Essomba, Minister of Water and Energy ; Célestine Ketcha Courtes, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, were able to recognize projects with pertinent and necessary solutions for local development, thanks to their acute knowledge of the Cameroonian landscape. To help them in their selection process, several directors working for important companies and organisms were by their side: the Cameroonian Société Générale, ENEO, the World Bank in Cameroon or even Polytechnique School of Yaoundé.
Mentioning “a long and hard jury deliberation session because of an excellent panel of projects” might sound as an obvious and fake description. But in this case, intensity and zeal are the best adjectives to evoke the debate that occurred in the evening. Just think about it: the 16 jury members spent over an hour to express their opinion about 11 projects! Eventually, they came to an agreement and spoke with one voice when they crowned Frigo Solaire Photothermique (ie Photothermical Solar Fridge).
Frigo Solaire Photothermique success is due to a double benefit: keeping food fresh at lower costs and facilitating the access to pharmaceuticals in remote areas. We can wonder: what is so different about that fridge? Actually, it fully uses solar energy with a combined thermic and luminous system. The refrigerator completely enhances the solar energetic potential’s value because the excess production can be used to light up a house or to charge electronic devices. As this is a solution that partly solves the electricity access issue, Frigo Solaire Photothermique is willing to spread its solution everywhere: public organisms, NGOs and households, either they are situated in Cameroon or soon in all Central Africa.
This Cameroonian step marks the end of EDF Pulse Africa Tour’s 2019 edition. Now that Frigo Solaire Thermique has been appointed to represent Cameroon, the seven finalists’ names are known. This ultimate halt have once again reminded the aims of such a challenge: show the African entrepreneurial dynamic and enable the emergence of new opportunities for the entrepreneurs by gathering key ecosystems actors. Next step: the Expert Committee. It will analyse the other candidates’ project to begin the finalist’s selection. Let’s wait and see what will happen then.
Publish on 02/10/2019
There is no need to precise that EDF Pulse Africa’s Togolese step allowed many entrepreneurship and energetic ecosystem’s key actors to meet. There is no need neither to mention that it has created exchange opportunities on different societal subjects that involve directly the Togolese population. All this information is now common sense since five other steps of the Tour have broached the same stakes. Stakes of energy access, technologic innovation and entrepreneurship dynamism that are obviously shared by the whole African continent, but which include specific issues in each and every country. And who says local matters also says suitable solutions to answer the Togolese needs. It is to deal with this last subject that EDF Pulse Africa Tour in Togo endeavoured to create an event that can be defined both as local and as multisectoral. Let’s explain.
Global and multisectoral: EDF Pulse Africa Tour in Togo gathered diverse but complementary jury members. First, entrepreneurs – Astria Fataky (Energy Generation director) and Urbain Amoussou (CUBE founder), who are both at the head of Togolese incubators, were able to judge the candidates in the light of the experience they gleaned-up. Then energy experts – Elie Lare Santiegou, BBOXX avec EDF Managing Director, relied on its wide knowledge of the energy market to decide between the projects. But also financial profiles – Fatoumata Traoré, financial analyst for the West-African Development Bank, used her financial background to analyse the candidates’ business model pertinence. And foreigners used to start-up’s accompany. Olivier Clément (EDF Togo’s Director) and Christ-Anderson Ahoua Boua (EDF off-grid Business Developer) wondered if the candidates had a high enough potential to make a significant impact on the society. Eventually, a spirit developing a global view. Marc Vizy, the French Ambassador in Togo, was able to synthesize those points of view in bringing its own overall vision.
Local: Togolese start-up Energy Cycle was appointed winner of EDF Pulse Africa Tour’s 6th step. The technology mixes motorized vehicles with energy power. Actually, it develops a USB device that can be directly set up on a two-wheeled vehicle in order to charge a smartphone up. The device is sold with a rechargeable lamp that assure a higher security for vehicles during night-time. The spread of such a technology would scum the huge issue of unreliable – and sometimes non-existing – local electricity grids. To do so, the start-up targets motorcycle owners because they represents a big panel of users as these vehicles are widely drove in Togo (and even beyond, in all Africa).
EDF Pulse Africa Tour in Togo has been the perfect opportunity to remind us that the challenge is mixing a multisectorial aspect with a local dimension. Energy Cycle has been the one that best integrated all those stakes and that is why it has been crowned by the jury. But it must not ring as the Tour’s conclusion: on Thursday, 3rd of October will occur the 7th and last step which will reveal EDF Pulse Africa Tour’s last finalist!
Publish on 01/10/2019
On Monday 30th of October, a wide panel of profiles gathered in Abidjan, under the high patronage of Abdourahmane CISSE, Ivoirian Minister of Oil, Energy and Renewable Energies: energetic companies rooted in the Ivoirian panorama (CI-ENERGIES); innovative and dynamic start-ups challenging main local issues (Akadi, ZECI); incubators – or rather talent scouts – willing to become powerful springboard in revitalizing Ivorian entrepreneurship (Seedstars); and so on… EDF Pulse Africa Tour witnessed an inspiring meeting between people from different sectors, sectors which are sometimes brought into confrontation but are always evolving with the same ambition: having a positive impact on the society. The jury members aspire to make either economic, technologic or even energetic changes, but they all agreed on the fact that entrepreneurship does have a huge role to play in the local system evolution. Thus, the selection of the jury was made for Lifi LED, which will be the Ivorian standard for the Great Finale in Paris.
The start-up Lifi LED has risen above the other thanks to its three-in-one solution that uses an innovative technology and an easy process. On the simple basis of a LED lamp and a digital app, users can have access to lightning, as well as to an Internet connection and to an educational platform. What a revolution in the Ivorian – and more globally African – landscape, which is often scarce in reliable and daily access to Internet. Lifi LED wishes to answer directly to rural areas’ needs in mixing a numeric solution with an energetic one. A promising solution for the future of the continent.
“Tout se transforme” (that can be translated as “Everything can be transformed”) has been appointed as “Coup de Coeur” to complete the Ivorian podium. As EDF Côte d’Ivoire, EDF’s local concession, has initiated the event, it has decided to congratulate an Ivoirian project that is deeply and sustainably rooted in its environment. How to best describe the start-up’s singular project? A mix between electricity, environmental consciousness and artistic dimension. Actually, its ambition is to collect recyclable objects to create unique and handmade lamps.
To complete this dynamic painting of the Ivorian entrepreneurship scene, EDF Pulse Africa Tour managed to gather technic speakers and energy experts within a workshop about “How to insert training and entrepreneurial innovation in the energy sector’s development?”. Among others, Fanta Traoré, founder of Empower, and Caroline Boon, Finergreen manager, have reminded us of the central position of women in the African business world. Afterwards, Abdourahmane CISSE took the floor to let the audience know about the measures taken by the government to support start-ups and other small enterprises. He insists on the fact that launching businesses in Africa allows the creation of stable and local jobs that can boost Ivorian creativity and can directly help the more destitute ones.
EDF Pulse Africa Tour has definitively supported EDF Côte d’Ivoire in its process of becoming a key actor of the entrepreneurship sector in Ivory Coast. Through companies such as ZECI, and soon as Lifi LED, EDF Côte d’Ivoire wishes to make energy more accessible, and it acts on a daily basis to do so. It has one unalterable aim: improving Ivorian living conditions. What a winning bet for this 5th step which augurs success for the remaining halts, including the 6th one in Togo.
Publish on 20/09/2019
Large-scale profiles and diversity of fields of expertise: every jury member belonged to South-African high sphere. But this amazing composition has not interfere with the Southern-African candidates’ serenity and determination on Thursday, 19th of September in Johannesburg. All the seven finalists kept their head up and answered the precise questions of the experts without even blinking, facing an alert and interested audience. The jury members were either committed for the energy access in Africa (as Luc Koechlin from EDF and Vicky Basson from KES), or taking part to the local entrepreneurial spirit’s development (as Mustapha Zaouini from Fliptin and Frédéric Dupouy from Oppenheimer Partners), or even stakeholders of the economic landscape such as Marjolaine Pierrat-Ferraille from the French South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FSACCI). This variety allowed the jury members to have a wider vision of the candidates’ project to appoint unanimously Plentify as Southern-Africa winner.
What made the jury vote for Plentify instead of its determined and groundbreaking competitors? Plentify’s maturity, its pioneering technology and its wide targets. The start-up transforms water heaters into batteries which are connected to the grid and can charge “smartly”. Actually, it shifts energy use to times when electricity is abundant, while ensuring homes have hot water when needed. And that makes a difference because it eliminates the dirtiest power on the grids while ensuring a cheaper electricity production and a more secure supply at any time. A win-win project for both the consumers and Plentify employees.
But EDF Pulse Africa is, over all, a challenge launched with the aim of finding and supporting African “technological nuggets". That is why the incubator Fliptin and the FSACCI become major partners for this 1st edition of the Tour. And because of the amazing pitch delivered by Solar Turtle, the FSACCI decided to give them the “Coup de Coeur” Award with a promise of help and accompany for a year. What a nice proof of South-African support to a social and local project. Solar Turtle develops intelligent solar battery to charge kiosks that teaches and motivates rural entrepreneurs on how to run a small business. The technical process consists into small energy kiosks that uses solar power to charge mobile devices, offer internet hotspots, printing…
To sum up the success of EDF Pulse Africa Tour first edition in Southern-Africa, Luc Koechlin, VP Southern Africa EDF, said: “For this new edition, we have made improvements to diversify the way projects are screened. We had a hard time selecting the 7 startups selected because we received many exciting projects. We are proud to encourage these African entrepreneurs, who have been able to set up ambitious projects whose foundations will be part of the energy solutions of tomorrow”.
In Johannesburg, EDF Pulse Africa Tour had a huge challenge: to gather innovative entrepreneurs and seasoned actors from the energy sector. Successful mission for the local team! Thus, the roadshow keeps its momentum for the next destination, Ivory Coast.
Publish on 18/09/2019
To guarantee the whole Ghanaian population an access to a reliable and clean source of energy: here was the huge challenge launched by the three EDF Pulse Africa Tour candidates in Ghana, Northlite Solar Limited, Ray Solar Power Africa and Sustainable Energy Technologies. If SETECH – Sustainable Energy Technologies – has eventually been chosen by the jury to be finalist for the Great Finale in Paris, the social and energetic ambitions of all the candidates deserve to be highlighted. Brief presentations:
- Sustainable Energy Technologies – AWARD WINNER
- Northlite Solar Limited
- Ray Solar Power Africa
The meticulous members of the jury, all coming from the Ghanaian economic-energetic ecosystem, based their judgment on criteria such as project’s viability, impact on the society, and even their differentiation and their innovative potential. Among others, French Ambassador in Ghana Anne-Sophie Ave and Special advisor to the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Oliver Boachie were present to differentiate these promising enterprises. Stephen Essien, ZEGHA Managing Director, was invited to capitalize on his experience as a jury member as well as a panellist portraying the Ghanaian Solar Home System branch’s situation.
The presence of numerous politic, economic and entrepreneurial actors brought to light the quality of the Ghanaian innovation dynamism. The third step has set the standards high: the South-African candidates, next on the Tour’s way, will have to be precise in their presentation and have a fighting-spirit in order to challenge the Ghanaian finalist, SETECH.
Publish on 13/09/2019
Honour the Senegalese dynamism through EDF Pulse Africa Tour in Dakar. Here was the aim defined by EDF and ERA, its local subsidiary, for the second stop of the African roadshow. To do so, noted names belonging with the Senegalese entrepreneurship ecosystem were invited on Thursday, 12th of September at the IFAN museum. During the whole afternoon, they have been debating on the local energetic panorama’s issues and stakes.
Manar Sall (Powex Energy CEO), Fary Ndao (Power & Stone co-founder), Olivia Ndaye (Magik Energy Lab Program Manager), Thierno Sakho (DER Project Officer)… So many young entrepreneurs took part to the ceremony. They conveyed their vision and shared their ambition about the energy field while depicting the local economic landscape. Gathered around round-tables, these leading figures discussed about “The technologic innovation’s play in the development of electricity access” but also about the impact of the entrepreneurship vitality on the Senegalese society.
To keep on in this mainstream and to give a more structured context of the entrepreneurship sector in Senegal, Eva Sow Ebion introduced the public with some of the government current legislative texts. Actually, as she took part in the “SenStartup Act” drafting, she was able to give a clear vision of the situation. As a business developer and innovating solutions’ specialist , she insisted on the fact that the Senegalese ecosystem is “a young one, a dynamic one, that keep growing” and that it does have access to “positive infrastructures and many opportunities in term of open innovation”.
What a nice prelude for the five EDF Pulse Africa’s candidates! Actually, they took advantage of the afternoon mindset to defend tooth and nails their project in front of the jury members. After a long deliberation session, these specialists eventually came to a decision and Nadji.Bi climbed on the highest step of the podium. Its project? Smart solar water pump systems the Senegalese farmers can buy using PAYGO system. The whole product has been designed so that the farmers can use it easily while optimizing water consumption. The final aim is to make African agriculture “smart-grid” in order to strengthen their food self-sufficiency.
As EDF Pulse Africa intends to find and support African entrepreneurs with innovating projects, Magik Energy Lab awarded Lumos Project with a “Coup de pouce” Prize. This start-up offers digital solutions to optimize electric consumption while saving energy. Apps, captors, detectors, algorithms… So many digital solutions to help them both improving their agricultural tools management and their water consumption.
In order to support a local project, La Société Générale gave the Dairy Transformation Cooperative of Médina-Mary the “Coup de Coeur” Award. This company endeavours to take advantage of the abundance of solar energy to supply the electrical systems of the dairy with solar panels. This local energy source will allow them to make the dairy power reliable, to increase the systems performance, but also to supply the village dispensary with the additional energy.
The EDF Pulse Africa Tour not only expressed the Senegalese energy industry and local entrepreneurship dynamism, but also allowed the emergence of three innovating projects aware of the local needs and issues. Nadji.Bi remains in the heart of the challenge and will come to Paris on the 21st of November to try to win the first Prize and concretize its project.
Publish on 05/09/2019
Yesterday, six Moroccan start-ups took part to the EDF Pulse Africa Tour. Each of them had to present its project in front of a group of energy and innovation experts. The gathering point between all the projects? They were all developing tangible solutions to daily Moroccan issues. Batteries malfunction due to hard climate conditions, overconsumption of water and electricity because of a lack of management, loss of energy within the production cycle… So many challenges to take up for those young entrepreneurs.
Eventually, one project rose above the other. Azolis, a Moroccan start-up created in 2015, has been awarded with the first prize. This young enterprise was born with the ambition to develop batteries which include a Battery Management System in order to optimize their use and their longevity. To summarize the whole idea, Azolis bets on a new technology that allows batteries to live a long-lasting life. And what gives Azolis its strength is its global perspective: it targets as well rural and urban areas, both on-grid and off-grid households. That is why its impact on the local ecosystem cannot be neglected! This prize will allow Guillaume Jeangros, Azolis’ founder and CEO, to defend its project during the Great Finale of EDF Pulse Africa on the 21st of November in Paris.
But if Azolis has been awarded with the first prize, other startups stood out from the crowd. Winsol has been elected “Coup de Coeur” by the jury, for its project of optimization of renewable energy production. It endeavors to develop a hybrid product that can use both wind and solar energy on the very same surface to double the energy efficiency. To help the project to succeed and to make green energy more accessible, Winsol will be supported during one year by emlyon campus Casablanca. Actually, as emlyon is a key actor within the innovation field in Morocco, it has been a natural and very strong partner for this first edition.
And last but not least, Farasha Systems. This company, willing to improve the management and the maintenance process of power plants thanks to drone control and digitalization, has been granted with the “Coup de Pouce” Prize. Leader Occitanie, creator of the Prize and EDF solid partner for this edition, will support and help Farasha Systems’ team during one year to develop their project. The project’s assets? The reduction of both the electricity production costs and its ecological footprint.
For Mario Bernardo, manager of the North Africa division and head of the jury, the EDF Pulse Africa Tour is already a success: “this Moroccan edition has revealed the national start-ups’ huge potential. We are proud to encourage those Moroccan entrepreneurs who were able to create ambitious projects which will become the energy solutions of tomorrow”. Actually, both the jury and the speakers contributed to boost the dynamic within the innovation and entrepreneurship fields. How did they do so? In order to choose a winner between the 6 candidates, some experts of the Moroccan ecosystem took part in the event and discussed innovation and energy subjects: future of solar solutions in Africa, relationships between Morocco and Occitanie region for the ecological transition … Among others, Badr Ikken and Saïd Mouline, general managers of IRESEN and AMEE, actively took part in the debates and deliberation all the day long.
We now know the first name of our Great Finalists. Who will be next? Let’s meet up on the 12th of September in Dakar to discover the name of the Senegalese winner!
Publish on 30/08/2019
This prize demonstrates how projects such as EDF Pulse Africa contribute to international economic welfare along with being able to see their visions from ideas to commercialisation. Such an encouraging reward for the head of the Africa department!
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