The Autodesk Foundation funded Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) with a grant of $100,000 for its Early Stage Financing Facility. The foundation provides support through grant funding, software, technical training, and industry expertise to grantees in architecture, engineering, product design and manufacturing, visual effects, gaming, and related fields that are creating solutions to environmental and social challenges.
This comes after they had an interactive session with some of the entrepreneurs, where their innovative concepts were showcased to the Autodesk team in September, 2017. The enterprises included Kings Biofuels Limited which is a briquette manufacturer, Full Spoon Limited which processes peanut butter and clean cooking stoves by Wisdom Innovations. Strauss Energy and Kitui Industries also represented the renewable energy sector while Hydroponics Africa and Ukulima Tech showcased their innovation on soilless farming
The Early Stage Financing Facility is a mechanism to finance development in clean technology start-ups in the renewable energy, agribusiness and water management sectors. It will comprise of an equity, debt or a hybrid investment component customized to the entrepreneurs investment needs . These will be enterprises that are past the product development phase but are not in a position to raise other forms of commercial funding based on their business stage .
KCIC aims to identify and invest in start-ups that meet the following criteria; the start-ups must be located in or have significant operations or impact in Kenya, they must operate in one of our investment sectors which include agribusiness, water management and renewable energy, and they must be an early stage start-up that is making revenues.
The start-ups must be seeking investment capital in the range of $10,000 to $50,000 structured as either debt or equity and have a strong and experienced management team with the skills and vision to execute the business plan. They should make an innovative product or deliver a service that addresses climate change, has demonstrable environmental and social impact.
The enterprises should have a clear business model that demonstrates the potential for financial sustainability within a three to five-year period; including the ability to cover operating expenses with operating revenues. Finally, they must be able to demonstrate a clear path to scale for the number of end users over the period of investment and be positioned as one of the leading service providers in the market.
KCIC is in the final stages of structuring deals for the first batch of investee companies which are a great fit to the investment criteria. This will unlock the enterprises business potential as the facility is attuned to the most critical financing needs.
By Michelle Mung’ata