Through the EDF Pulse Africa Awards, the EDF Group supports start-ups in Africa and also associate local entrepreneurs to the development of innovative solutions.
The 2018 vintage of this contest is mostly made up of start-ups from English-speaking countries (Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Nigeria). These include:
1st prize: SAVANNA CIRCUIT TECH LTD. (Electricity services and usages - Kenya)
Kenya once again takes first place in this start-up contest. Savanna Circuit Tech Ltd. won the first prize with its mobile solar milk cooling system. This innovation is supported by a platform accessible through a smartphone, allowing producers and dairy companies to maximize their profits. The young company's main challenge is to significantly reduce milk losses in rural areas. These losses due to long haul distances and the lack of conservation infrastructure are hugely penalizing small producers.
The commercialization of this solution which is already effective, meets local needs and thus makes it possible to fight effectively against food insecurity.
2nd Prize: BLACK STAR ENERGY LTD. (Off-grid eletricity production - Ghana)
This start-up specializes in the development of mini-grids; it already operates 15 and aims to connect more than 12,000 Ghanaians to electricity by the end of the year. Black Star Energy's mini-grids have very high availability (over 98%); they allow customers to know their energy consumption and pay their bills via mobile phone. The Black Star Energy customer relationship management platform has the flexibility to meet the varied needs of customers with different pricing schedules.
3rd prize: Two exaequo, Water Access Rwanda and Solarcreed Nigeria
WATER ACCESS RWANDA (Water Access - Rwanda)
Water Access Rwanda has developed a drinking water kiosk, powered by solar energy. The solution is mainly based on a water treatment and distribution facility called "INUMA", equipped with a powerful filtering system. Thus, an INUMA kiosk can serve 2,500 people with potable drinking water. In addition, these kiosks are also a point of sale for products and services adapted to local needs (sanitary products, filters and chlorine tablets, telecommunication services, savings and microfinance systems).
SOLARCREED NIGERIA (Off-grid eletricity production - Nigeria)
SolarCreed, a Nigeria-based start-up, provides poultry farmers with solar-powered lighting solutions to replace fossil fuel-powered lighting (which accounts for nearly 30 percent of the cost of solar energy). Kits consisting of solar panels, long-life lithium-ion batteries and LED lamps can provide up to 10 hours of lighting. This solution effectively replaces the diesel and gasoline used by Nigerian farmers and makes use of Pay-As-You-Go technology for its payments.
THE OCCITANIE'S "FAVORITE": SAVE OUR AGRICULTURE (Water Access - Cameroon)
The young Cameroonian firm Save Our Agriculture (Water Access) the start-up caught the jury's attention.
Te team designs aquaponic kits that use fish excrement as a fertilizer, to grow organic food and reduce water waste by 90%. It is a closed farming system powered by solar panels and includes a fish farm and crops. The fish droppings are collected by a pipe and returned to the plants where they serve as natural fertilizer.
The process is 100% chemical free and uses only 10% water compared to traditional agriculture. The company derives its revenue from the selling of fresh vegetables grown in greenhouses (87%) and the sale of aquaponic kits to private customers and hoteliers (13%).
The four winners have won prizes ranging from € 5,000 to € 15,000, as well as full support, including:
• Operational and financial advice
• Project development partnerships with local players such as "Energy Generation" (incubator and training center dedicated to start-ups in the energy sector based in Togo) and with EDF's experts, particularly via its subsidiary EDF Pulse Growth
• Access to EDF's innovation ecosystem: EDF's R&D and internal creativity labs.
When it comes to the Occitanie's favorite, it will be incubated in January 2019 at the prestigious BIC (Business Innovation Center) in Montpellier, France.