Small villages off-grid energy challenge: Apply to win $5000

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Small Villages is happy to announce the launch of the inaugural edition of its Off-Grid Energy Challenge for West Africa. This competition hinges on the belief that access to sustainable energy services is a catalyst for growth and development as it enables access to clean water, good education and healthcare, growth of productive enterprises to enhances security, boost incomes and improve standard of living.

The off-grid energy challenge seeks to reward and mentor early stage technology innovations which deliver positive social impacts to off-grid communities across West-Africa  in terms of poverty, unemployment or social issues.

According to Project Co-Leaders Dr John Holmes and Dr Bernie Jones, entrepreneurship is leading the way in off-grid energy access.  “We are continually impressed by the entrepreneurs we meet around the world.  In our recent work in West Africa we have already come across incredible energy innovation in agriculture, healthcare and education, and we look forward to supporting more entrepreneurs with this new competition.”


The required condition to be qualified to apply is to be an an early stage entrepreneur with an existing prototype for a social business that either generates or can be powered by off-grid energy. Examples of such businesses include: businesses that generate and supply energy to off–grid communities, low energy appliances capable of running with or without electricity, mobile phone based businesses, innovative methods of food processing or storage enabled by off-grid energy, education and healthcare businesses made possible by off-grid energy etc.

Also, applicants must speak English, be based in a West-African country and the business must benefit  off-grid communities.

Benefits of the competition include:

A spot in bridges for enterprise – a program that connects early stage companies with experts in business, finance, law and entrepreneurship to help them grow their businesses.

From January – March 2017, student consultants from ivy league Universities like Princeton and Cambridge, together with consulting mentors like McKinsey will work together with selected winners to provide strategic advice and develop an investment proposition.

Three months after working with mentors, selected winners will then present their investment proposition for a chance to win $5000.

Application for the off-grid energy challenge will close in November, 2016  after which interviews will be conducted to select the winning teams that will be participating in the business consulting event which comes up between January to March 2017. In April, winning teams will submit their investment proposition for the chance to win the $5000 cash prize, which 90% will be awarded in May with the remaining 10% awarded a year later.

You can click here to apply for the Small Villages Off-grid Energy Challenge.


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