Enel Green Power, a renewable energies division of Italy’s Enel Group has partnered with Seedstars World to establish the Africa Energy Track challenge to identify innovative startups in the field of electricity access in Africa within the framework of the Seedstars World startup competition.

The two aim to enhance technology and entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan rural areas by bringing innovative energy solutions focused on electric mobility, storage, distributed generation and energy efficiency, thereby tackling UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG7 – ensuring affordable and clean energy for all.

“Seedstars’ expertise and programs match Enel’s commitment to opening up to new, pioneering startups, seeking innovative solutions to energy and sustainability challenges”, explained Antonio Cammisecra, Head of Enel Green Power. “Through this partnership, Enel has the opportunity to gain access to the most innovative companies taking a step forward in the search for new, disruptive business models that can foster socio-economic development in rural Africa.”

The Enel Group, through its participation in this project, aims to identify companies that can help to foster socio-economic development in rural villages in sub-Saharan Africa through electrification. Electricity is a fundamental factor to bring about socio-economic growth, but it must be accompanied by commercial and productive activities. The Africa Energy Track challenge will help identify innovative and disruptive business models focusing on electrifying remote rural regions and on the creation of related income-generating activities.

Enel will work with Seedstars in over 20 different local events across Africa and will select at least one startup in the energy field at the Seedstars Africa Regional Summit. The selected winner will enter a three-month growth and acceleration programme, which includes a financial contribution, provided by Seedstars.

Since 2013 Seedstars has run the “Seedstars World” startup competition through startup scouting, company building and acceleration programmes, the Seedstars team now has access to entrepreneurs, investors, incubators, corporations and government officials from more than 75 countries.

In sub-Saharan Africa, Enel is present in South Africa through Enel Green Power RSA (EGP RSA), which has more than 520 MW of wind and solar plants in operation, and Enel Energy South Africa, which provides innovative energy solutions to residential and business clients. In Zambia, the Group was awarded the 34 MW Ngonye PV solar project in the country’s Scaling Solar programme auction in June 2016.