An off-grid energy impact investment firm, All On, and Nigeria Climate Innovation Center’s (NCIC) have reiterated the need to target 50 per cent of women in renewable energy from the Year 2022 as part of its agenda to empower more women across the country.
Speaking after the Demo Day Pitch event of the annual Nigeria Climate Innovation Center’s (NCIC) Embryo Incubation Program (EIP), sponsored by the All On Hub, the CEO, NCIC, Bankole Oloruntoba disclosed that the event was aimed at supporting businesses from idea to actualization especially in the renewable energy.
Out of twenty clean energy start-ups, from over 400 original applications, eight business ideas in renewable energy including Dalsman Tech, D’Suon Limited, SiriusX Energy, Think Electric Africa, Vectar Energy, WakaGen, YOWIF and Zimaj Craft became winners of the annual Nigeria Climate Innovation Center’s (NCIC) Embryo Incubation Program (EIP) sponsored by All On.
The rigorous pitch presentation which took place in Lagos was the third edition since it started in 2019. The 6months project was funded and supported via its technical support facility; the Rockefeller Foundation funded All On Hub.
Oloruntoba disclosed that the incubation programme kicked off in 2018 with the World Bank and different African countries. “We are in partnership with All On for our incubation programme in renewable energy.
“The businesses have gotten more tangible over the years with more market. “All this has been made possible with the All On partnership, which has been a strong backbone for NCIC’s incubation success. This year we are adding another eight ventures to our grantees list which makes 16 early-stage ventures granted $10,000.
“We are pleased to support the investment pipeline currently building up in the emerging Nigeria Green Economy.”
Sele, All On has been partnering with NCIC from the inception of the project. Last year, COVID-19 posed a huge challenge for us but it has been a wonderful and innovative drive. All On to a large extent in future will be responsible for renewable energy and I want to see that stage where All On’s influence will bring out the most dynamic businesses in the energy space.
Women in Renewable Energy
It has been a challenge for us because we have been deliberate in getting more women as part of our programme. We are deliberate in ensuring more women come into the renewable energy sector and that reflected during our G5 programme Women in Green businesses. The concept was creating a dedicated programme for women in the green economy and not just renewable energy.
In the recycling world, we see more women than renewable energy but we see the possibility of seeing more women in the renewable energy space and that is why we are deliberately putting up a slot of 50 percent for women. We will make a case for 50 percent women. But, the idea will be above everyone.
Next year, we hope to get 50 percent women on board for the renewable energy grants participation. This is an interesting incubation and we look forward to seeing more people in the incubation programme around recycling, water, electric vehicles among other green innovation technologies.
Sele Inegbedion, Manager for Hub, All On, explained that engaging more women in renewable energy is one of the company’s key matrix. “All On with its mandate from Shell and Rockefeller Foundation that funded the All On Hub, to promote women involvement and direct beneficiaries from our energy solutions. “We track regularly the participation of women and there are lots of programmes that encourage women to participate more in future.
“We will start a conversation in the tertiary institutions, Women Engineering Association of Nigeria because the only way you will engage more women is to be sure they have the right information of what you are doing”, he said.
On sustainability, Oloruntoba noted, “We have a vibrant M & E team and we have been in contact with all the businesses that have been pitched through our dedicated social media platforms.
There have been challenges with the businesses; some are doing well while some are struggling. We are still providing refresher courses as well as advisory services to many of them.
We have also created platforms for loans for their businesses where they are all cooperating. We are hoping to see success in the next three years.
Inegbedion however commended the entrepreneurs for their resilience adding these emerging ventures have demonstrated the commitment and enterprise needed to succeed over time, and scale innovations that will extend the delivery of electrification to unserved communities and ultimately, improve livelihoods and local economies.
“Innovation ideas from this year’s cohort include solar-powered cooking stove kiosks, cold storage facilities, e-mobility, energy efficiency technologies, biogas production and systems built on IoT technology.
Our mandate is to close the energy access gap of millions of Nigerians that do not have access to power from the grid and that is our basic effort to support businesses. It is also important to provide technical support to upcoming entrepreneurs and businesses that proffer solutions to energy problems.
The Demo Pitch Day was held at Pan Atlantic University and witnessed by a diverse, experienced panel of judges.
According to Judge Kunle Odebunmi, CEO of AllBase Energy, “Almost all the participants had innovative solutions and ideas that would radicalise Nigeria’s green economy. I’m very proud of what NCIC with All On’s support has achieved with the Embryo Incubation finalists. They are all winners in their own right.”
The participants received training and support in a variety of areas aimed at developing their business knowledge and commercial skillset including strategy and planning, product development, regulatory environment, marketing, finance and fund-raising.
Believe Obafaiye, founder of YOWIF (Young Women in Farming) and one of the $10,000 grant winners, commended the EIP for the breadth of its support. “We look forward to achieving positive impact and our desired goals towards organizational improvement,” she added.