Innovations Galore as Kenya, Ghana and Mozambique Shine Brightest at ClimateLaunchpad
It was innovations galore on Friday at the first ClimateLaunchpad Africa Regional Finals when 22 cleantech startups showcased their green business ideas at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi, Kenya. ClimateLaunchpad (CLP) is a competition that creates a stage for such cleantech ideas, brining ecopreneurs together to support them unlock their potential through intensive coaching and networking with potential investors. There are also awards for the best ideas at the national, continental and global levels.
Participants in the competition were bidding for the continental prize of USD 2,000 as well as a chance at the Global Grand Finals in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This year’s competition has attracted a record nine African countries- Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Capo Verde, Mozambique and South Africa.
The event themed Innovating for Environmental Sustainability in Africa, was hosted by the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC), CLP’s National Lead in Kenya.
Leafy Ke, a renewable energy startup from Kenya, claimed the largest prize of USD 2,000 for their innovative technology that converts used diapers to make clean fuel. Their fuel is currently in use in Nairobi’s informal settlements.
Coming second was Sabon Sake from Ghana, an agribusiness enterprise that seeks to tackle declining agricultural productivity in Ghana and across Africa by providing regenerative solutions. They were awarded USD 500.
Susamati from Mozambique, a startup that provides affordable sanitation solution, emerged second runner-up and bagged USD 100 in award.
In addition to the awards, the three cleantech enterprises qualify for the Global Grand Finals to be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands in November. Both Sabon Sake and Leafy Ke had emerged winners in their respective national finals while Susamati was second in the competition in Mozambique.
The competition had earlier started with semifinal pitches in which startups were pooled according to their thematic areas: Circular Economy, Sustainable Production Systems, Urban Transitions and Zero Hunger. In addition to the three eventual winners, Agrimax- Nigeria, Escon Leather- Kenya, Homefort- Nigeria, Nsila- Mozambique, Bamboo Composite- Ghana qualified for the final round of pitches.
“We are here to show support for ClimateLaunchpad (because) climate action is one of our major development priorities,” said Fionnuala Quinlan, the Irish Ambassador to Kenya who was the Chief Guest.
Speaking at a panel discussion during the event, KCIC Chief Executive Officer Edward Mungai challenged participants to not only get engaged with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) but also be innovative in the way they think business as a step towards addressing environmental challenges.
CLP founder Frans Nauta termed the competition a great opportunity to do good, create jobs and make big money while caring for the future.
The focus for the competition now shifts to the global level where 53 countries are participating. At the global scene, the top-10 teams gain direct access to the EIT Climate-KIC accelerator while all other Global Grand Finalists will pitch before the review board of EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator to be included in the programme. A total of 2,600 ideas entered the competition this year.
By Vincent Ogaya