Afd Digital Energy Challenge 2021For Africa Start-Up (70,000€ Prize)

Application Deadline : June 30th 2021

The Digital Energy Challenge for Start-ups will reward 5-8 start-ups every year for four years, for innovative digital projects that aim to increase energy access and improve power grid performance. The 2021 Call for Projects focuses on sub-Saharan Africa.

The three themes of the 2021 edition are:

Services to the grid such as grid loss reduction, renewable energy integration, power production forecasting, demand side management, network planning, capacity building etc.

Innovative clean energy solutions, equipment and appliances for SMEs for example in the domains of agriculture, light manufacturing, commercial and retail or healthcare.

Implementation of new/innovative digital solutions for energy access businesses including hardware such as kits/meters for off-grid solar or clean cooking applications; or software such as CRM, last-mile distribution optimisation, loan repayment & PAYGO, dynamic monitoring etc.

For every annual Call for Projects, the 5-8 winning start-ups will each benefit from:

  • A grant of €70K (maximum) to contribute to costs for equipment, software, training and recruitment
  • The possibility to request technical assistance (awarded on a case-by-case basis), which could include project management support, strategic and technical expertise, and accounting/reporting assistance

In addition, start-ups and utility partnership winners can take advantage of:

  • A joint boot camp run by cross-sectorial experts, which will support project implementation, provide sectorial insights, foster synergies between project winners and encourage best-practice sharing
  • Widespread communication campaigns piloted by AFD during the selection phase, award ceremony, bootcamp and for a period of time after these events.

About the Challenge

The Digital Energy Challenge, which will run for four years with an annual Call for Projects, is part of the Digital Energy Facility and aims to support the development of innovative solutions for better energy access and utility performance improvement.


The Call for Projects is open to start-ups and utilities.

The start-up must meet the following criteria:

  • Created less than 10 years ago
  • Be in the pre-seed/early-stage financing phase i.e. less than €1M funding raised
  • Annual turnover of less than €1M
  • Employ between 1 and 99 people full-time.

NGOs can apply under the Start-up category if the project meets one of the additional following criteria:

  • The project is set up as a company as a branch of the NGO
  • The project has a dedicated team and business plan, and clearly targets business sustainability/profitability (e.g. plans to spin off as an independent entity).

Finally, the start-up’s project must meet one of the three above-mentioned themes and be:

  • Digital i.e. based on a telecom, computer or cloud-based technology
  • Innovative, either intrinsically or compared to the local market
  • Local i.e. headquartered or with project management activities in the country of the project

For More Information :

Visit The Official Pageweb of  the Afd Digital Energy Challenge 2021For Africa Start-Up (70,000€ Prize)

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