Nairobi — About 450 women entrepreneurs engaged in clean energy in Kenya and Tanzania are set to receive funding through a partnership between Energy 4 Impact and M-Changa, Africa's leading crowdfunding platform.
The campaign is seeking to raise funds to purchase electric briquette machines, increase stock of solar lighting products, purchase raw materials and construct kilns for production of complete cookstoves.
The partnership will also see the women entrepreneurs engaged in the clean cooking and off-grid lighting supply chains, being coached and mentored by Energy 4 Impact through the Women Integration into Renewable Energy (WIRE) programme.
The program is a two-year initiative aimed at accelerating access to clean energy for poor communities in rural parts of East Africa.
"It is extremely hard for micro-entrepreneurs operating in the informal economy to access sources of funding. Through this crowdfunding community, we hope to attract more investment and raise working capital, which will enable women to grow their businesses and improve their livelihoods," says Barbara Otieno, Capital Access Analyst at Energy 4 Impact.
The proceeds will enable the micro-entrepreneurs to grow their businesses by improving the quality of their products, scaling-up production, gaining access to new markets, creating jobs and increasing income for themselves and their families.
The increased uptake of clean energy products such as solar lighting products, charcoal briquettes and more efficient cookstoves will offer solutions to problems of pollution and energy conservation in their local communities.
The M-Changa platform makes use of Kenya's main mobile money transfer platforms, namely Safaricom M-Pesa, Airtel Money and Equity Bank's Equitel. It also accepts funds through VISA, Mastercard, SimbaPay and PayPal.
Energy 4 Impact takes a business approach to supporting enterprises involved in delivering renewable energy to off-grid communities in sub-Sahara Africa.
In the last 10 years, it has supported nearly 4,000 businesses in Africa's renewable energy market to raise US $132Mn in debt, equity and grants.