Kenyan energypreneurs and their powerful innovations

Kenyan energypreneurs and their powerful innovations

Join

Join the fight against extreme poverty

A family prepares coffee on a Primus stove following a power outage in FYR Macedonia. Blackouts are a concern for many families - particularly poor ones - throughout the country.

A family prepares coffee on a Primus stove following a power outage in FYR Macedonia. Blackouts are a concern for many families – particularly poor ones – throughout the country.

“Access to energy is absolutely fundamental in the struggle against poverty,” said World Bank Vice President Rachel Kyte at the 2014 Vienna Energy Forum. “It is energy that lights the lamp that lets you do your homework, that keeps the heat on in a hospital, that lights the small businesses where most people work.

Without energy, there is no economic growth, there is no dynamism and there is no opportunity.”  However, over 3.5 billion people (nearly half of the world’s population) experience energy poverty. This is defined as the lack of access to sufficient, reliable sources of energy that are necessary to provide even the most basic human needs.

In addition to impeding economic progress, energy poverty contributes to a global health crisis. For 40 percent of the world’s population, simply cooking food or heating homes is far more threatening to  health than poor sanitation, water quality or smog. About 3.5 million people, mainly women and children, die each year from respiratory illness due to harmful indoor air pollution from wood and biomass cookstoves. That’s more than double the annual deaths attributed either to malaria (1.2 million) or to HIV/AIDS (1.5 million). 

However, there is a lot of innovation going on in this space. Today we feature three Kenyan start-ups, all of whom were finalists in the 2015 Challenge Cup – a global competition that highlight disruptive thinkers and showcases highly scalable companies from around the globe that are tackling seemingly insurmountable problems and improving the lives of millions.

Hazelnuts

Eco Fuels Kenya (EFK Group) — Based in Laikipia, Kenya,  EFK Group produces energy (biofuel, briquettes) and agriculture (fertilizer, poultry feed) products for industrial customers through a no-waste manufacturing process based entirely on the Croton nut, which grows indigenously across 8 African countries and has no other commercial, productive or edible use.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 3.46.01 PM

A PowerGen project in the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya.

PowerGen Renewable Energy — Based in Nairobi, Kenya, PowerGen Renewable Energy, installs kW-scale wind and solar power systems in East Africa as well as solar water pumping systems, inverter/battery backup systems, LED lighting and solar water heating. PowerGen has undertaken projects in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Somalia and was the winner of the regional Nairobi Challenge Cup.

iIcOFGJ8iR14

Solar panels.

Strauss Energy — Also based in Nairobi, Strauss Energy focuses on reducing extreme poverty by converting freely available clean energy into passive income, using subtle roofing tile made of plastic with solar cells to generate power from the sun enough to power a house and a little extra to sell.

DR2A82771383240906

Photo credit: Jeffrey MacMillan/Washington Post

These three companies, along with the other 13 finalists spent a week in Washington DC at the Challenge Festival where they were connected to investors and mentors to help them succeed, as well as introduced to the corporations and policymakers who are looking for fresh ideas that have the potential to solve big, difficult challenges. Congratulations to these Kenyan energypreneurs. The world needs more folks like you!

Join the fight against extreme poverty

By signing you agree to ONE’s privacy policy, including to the transfer of your information to ONE’s servers in the United States.

Do you want to stay informed about how you can help fight against extreme poverty?

Sign up to receive emails from ONE and join millions of people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease. We’ll only ever ask for your voice, not your money. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Privacy options
Are you sure? If you select 'Yes' we can let you know how you can make a difference. You can unsubscribe at any time.

By signing you agree to ONE's privacy policy, including to the transfer of your information to ONE.org's servers in the United States.

You agree to receive occasional updates about ONE’s campaigns. You can unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply