Energy 4 Impact has partnered with M-Changa, Africa’s leading crowdfunding platform, to increase access to funding for women clean energy micro-entrepreneurs in rural Kenya and Tanzania.
As many as 450 women entrepreneurs engaged in the clean cooking (improved cookstoves, briquettes) and off-grid lighting supply chains, are being coached and mentored by Energy 4 Impact through the Women Integration into Renewable Energy (WIRE) programme, a two-year initiative aimed at accelerating access to clean energy for poor communities in rural parts of East Africa. Most of these businesses are still at an early stage of development and require support to access finance.
“It is extremely hard for micro-entrepreneurs operating in the informal economy to access sources of funding. Through this crowdfunding community, we hope to attract more investment and raise working capital, which will enable women to grow their businesses and improve their livelihoods,” says Barbara Otieno, Capital Access Analyst at Energy 4 Impact.
The crowdfunding community was rolled out in October 2017 and currently has four active campaigns. The campaigns are seeking to raise funds to purchase electric briquette machines, increase stock of solar lighting products, purchase raw materials and construct kilns for production of complete cookstoves.
In collaboration with UK Aid’s Crowd Power programme, Energy 4 Impact will match each donation to a campaign when a selected donor refers three other people that make a contribution. The proceeds will enable the micro-entrepreneurs to grow their businesses by improving the quality of their products; scaling-up production; gaining access to new markets; creating jobs and increasing income for themselves and their families.
The increased uptake of clean energy products such as solar lighting products, charcoal briquettes and more efficient cookstoves will offer solutions to problems of pollution and energy conservation in their local communities.
The M-Changa platform makes use of Kenya’s main mobile money transfer platforms, namely Safaricom M-Pesa, Airtel Money and Equity Bank’s Equitel. It also accepts funds through VISA, Mastercard, SimbaPay and PayPal.
Energy 4 Impact takes a business approach in supporting enterprises involved in delivering renewable energy to off-grid communities in sub-Sahara Africa. In the last 10 years, it has supported nearly 4,000 businesses in Africa’s renewable energy market to raise US $132m in debt, equity and grants. This has resulted in 16.5m people in off-grid regions of the continent having access to clean energy.