Clean and renewable energy sources have become increasingly important in today’s world, and Kenya is taking significant strides in harnessing the power of solar energy for productive use. The recent three-day PUSE (Productive Use of Solar Energy) Bootcamp held in Nairobi by KCIC provided a platform for innovative enterprises to showcase their ideas and innovations focused on solar energy utilization.
The Bootcamp aimed to support and promote enterprises that leverage solar energy for productive purposes. Over the course of three days, participants underwent intensive training and coaching, equipping them with essential skills in investor readiness, business modeling, digital marketing, and effective pitching techniques. This comprehensive support was meant to nurture and refine the participants’ entrepreneurial ideas, thereby positioning them for success in their ventures.
The peak of the bootcamp was the pitching session, where ten enterprises showcased their solar energy innovations to a panel of four esteemed judges. Among the top five winners were Adili Solar Hub, Techwin Limited, Grekkon Limited, Tecsols Limited, and Agrotech Plus Limited. These enterprises received a grand prize of 8456 USD each, courtesy of the Mott Foundation. This financial support is expected to have a profound impact on their business operations, including job creation, revenue growth, increased adoption of solar energy, and positive environmental outcomes.
While attending one of the sessions the CEO, KCIC, Joseph Murabula, expressed his enthusiasm for the PUSE Bootcamp, stating, “This program is a remarkable opportunity to empower entrepreneurs in Kenya and promote the utilization of solar energy for productive purposes. By supporting these innovative enterprises, we are fostering economic growth, job creation, and environmental sustainability. Through this program, we aim to drive positive change and contribute to a brighter and cleaner future for Kenya.”
Recognizing the importance of addressing post-harvest losses in the agricultural value chain, Sylvester Makaka, one of the judges, emphasized the significance of solutions in this area. ”The pitches and innovations presented showcased a strong focus on combating post-harvest losses, a critical issue in Kenya, where losses range from 33-37% in the agricultural value chain. By embracing innovative solutions, the potential to reduce these losses and improve food security is immense,” he said. Sylvester highlighted the need to scale up these ideas to commercial levels for accelerated impact.
While the top five winners received financial support, the other five enterprises will benefit from technical assistance, mentorship, and business advisory services. The five include BioAfrique Energy Limited, Auto-truck Limited, Daveon Solar Solutions, Dehytray, and Lake View Fisheries Limited. The tailored support is structured to help these enterprises overcome their current challenges, and unlock their potential thereby enabling them to commercialize and scale up their operations. Through this approach, the PUSE program seeks to foster a thriving ecosystem where solar energy solutions become accessible and viable for a broader range of enterprises.
The PUSE program, launched in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, aims to enhance access to productive use of solar energy in key agricultural value chains within these countries. With ten enterprises onboarded per country, the program is set to run for two years, from January 2023 to December 2024. By focusing on the agricultural sector, where solar energy can play a crucial role in powering irrigation systems, drying processes, and post-harvest management, the program aligns with the sustainable development goals.