Smart Villages Off-grid Energy Challenge for West African Entrepreneurs: $5,000 in Grants


The Smart Villages Off-grid Energy Challenge is now open and accepting applications from enterprising entrepreneurs in West Africa. Apply now and stand a chance of winning $5,000 in grant as well as other mouth-watering prizes.

off-grid energy challengeAs you know, technological innovations for providing energy to off-grid communities have started to change the energy access landscape across the world, especially in West Africa. Access to affordable new forms of energy opens doors to a whole range of new social enterprises, where the business delivers a positive social impact for the end user.

This competition therefore seeks to find and support early stage off-grid energy entrepreneurs who are running businesses that generate or can be powered by off-grid energy.

Examples of possible areas to consider include (but are not limited to):
Businesses that generate and supply energy to off-grid communities
Low-energy appliances, capable of running with little or no electricity
Mobile-phone-based businesses
Innovative methods of food processing or storage, enabled by off-grid energy
Education and healthcare businesses made possible by off-grid energy


This Smart Villages Off-grid Energy Challenge seeks to find and support early stage off-grid energy entrepreneurs. Bridges for Enterprise seeks to “bridge the gap,” helping entrepreneurs with an existing product or service get to the stage where they are ready for investment.

Businesses must have at least an existing prototype and business model to enter.

Winners will receive free business, legal and financial services and the chance to pitch for up to
$5000 prize capital.

Why should you apply for the Smart Villages Off-grid Energy Challenge?

Winning teams will be accepted into the Bridges for Enterprise program.

Winners of the Smart Villages Off-grid Energy Challenge will benefit from:
Training – learn business skills by working with top business consultants from the world’s
top companies and universities
Prize Capital – submit your investment proposition for the chance to win $5000 prize
Funding – direction towards additional funding sources and advice on how to access capital
Legal Advice – receive free legal advice and learn how to navigate the compliance issues
that come with running a business


  • October – November 2016 – applications accepted
  • January – March 2017 – business consulting engagement
  • April – investment propositions considered for prize capital


Winners who successfully complete the business consulting

engagement will also be eligible for Finance and Legal Advisory

services from October 2017

English-speaking applicants currently based in West African countries

with business to benefit off-grid communities

Deadline for submission of applications is November, 2016. No exact date stated. Therefore, the earlier you submit your application, the better.

In case you want to learn more, visit the Smart Villages Off-grid Energy Challenge website. Good luck as you apply!

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