From July 11-13, 2023, the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) conducted a transformative bootcamp session aimed at empowering east African entrepreneurs in the productive use of solar energy. The intensive three-day training took place in Kampala, Uganda targeting 10 selected enterprises under the PUSE program who were eager to harness the potential of solar energy in their businesses necessitated by the gaps identified from the business models of the entrepreneurs.
The bootcamp, titled “Financing Solutions for Local Productive Use of Solar Energy Entrepreneurs in East Africa’s Agriculture Sector,” aimed to address the barriers hindering the integration of solar energy into new and existing business models. The program aimed to maximize the economic and social benefits of solar energy access while advancing the achievement of SDGs and improving the economic sustainability of rural electrification projects and renewable energy markets.
Led by the experienced team of mentors, the bootcamp featured a comprehensive agenda designed to provide entrepreneurs with essential knowledge and skills. “We are thrilled to kick-off this transformative bootcamp, bringing together passionate entrepreneurs to explore the immense potential of solar energy in our agriculture sector. I therefore call upon all the participants to seize this opportunity to engage openly and make maximum use of the trainers and mentors present who have vast knowledge in their various areas of expertise,” noted Erick Chweya, Hub Manager at Isiolo as he officially opened the training.
This groundbreaking training was conducted both theoretically and practically and was administered by renowned facilitators drawn from KCIC, Imuka Access, and Renewable Energy Business Incubator (REBi). It covered these modules: market trends and financing opportunities for productive use of solar energy, effective digital marketing and customer relationship strategies, pricing, cost analysis, budgeting, risk management, bookkeeping, financial management, business modeling, investor readiness with potential funding sources, and monitoring socio-economic and climate impacts. Throughout the bootcamp, participants had opportunities for networking and collaboration. The breaks allowed entrepreneurs to connect, exchange ideas, and foster potential partnerships within the industry. These networking sessions were instrumental in creating a supportive environment where participants could learn from each other and explore collaboration opportunities. “This training was very much needed. I would like to express our deepest gratitude to Mott Foundation and KCIC for organizing this remarkable bootcamp. The knowledge, insights, and networking opportunities we gained throughout the sessions have been invaluable,” said Lugonda Samuel, business development manager at Gage Investments limited.
One of the highlights of the bootcamp was the pitching competition, which provided a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative business ideas. Participants presented their business proposals to a panel of four judges who provided valuable feedback and insights. The competition not only boosted the participants’ confidence but also helped refine their business strategies and pitch presentations. The top five enterprises awarded result-based grant financing were Umami Mushroom Based Foods, Gage Investment Limited, Sunbox Solar Limited, Madrass International, and Ntakye Holdings. Divine Empowerment, Ramaka Ventures, Heden Engineering Solutions, Sostap Limited, and Access to Solar Technology will receive technical assistance, mentorship, and business advisory support. “As we come to an end of the three-day training, I am truly inspired by the dedication and growth I have witnessed among all the participants. Your eagerness to embrace solar energy solutions and drive sustainable development in the agriculture sector is commendable,” shared Felix, Director of Client Services at KCIC, during his closing remarks.