On December 19th, Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF Chairman & CEO, presented prizes to the three winners of the first EDF Pulse Africa awards. The three startups and their future-oriented projects will play an active role in energy development in Africa.
In Paris yesterday, the EDF group presented prizes to three startups from among the total of 97 companies who submitted entries for the very first EDF Pulse Africa awards. The prizes were presented by EDF Chairman & CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy, with the members of the competition’s panel of judges also in attendance. The three winners chosen by the panel won grants ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 Euros, and will also be supported to access EDF’s innovation ecosystem and establish links with French and international financial institutions.
1st prize: MAJIK WATER, a project led by Kenyan entrepreneur Beth Koigi to develop atmospheric water generators supplied with power by solar panels in order to convert humidity in the air into water. “Access to drinking water is one of the continent’s greatest challenges. Our solution helps prevent the spread of certain diseases, thereby helping to save lives. EDF Pulse Africa gives us the opportunity to cross borders and develop our project in francophone Africa. Our project lead team is made up of three women. Female entrepreneurship in Africa must be encouraged,” said Beth Koigi.
2nd prize: LONO, a startup based in Côte d’Ivoire, converts organic waste into biogas for use as cooking fuel, and into biomethane for electricity generation. “Comparing our ideas, sharing our working methods and pooling our knowledge has enabled all of the project leaders to gain a broader outlook. Organic waste represents an inexhaustible source of energy which still receives insufficient attention in Africa,” said Louise Bijleveld, co-founder of LONO.
3rd prize: EDUAIR, led by Yann Nkengue from Cameroon, involves marketing digital boxes that enable access to a wide range of digital content without an Internet connection. The boxes, connected and supplied with power 24 hours a day, help to reduce the digital divide. “Being an entrepreneur is a complex thing to be involved in, and I’m proud to go back to my country with this prize, which will be a source of motivation for our teams. It’s really rewarding, and it will give us a boost whenever we face difficulties with financing or with our profile,” explained Yann Nkengue.
The panel also decided to award a special “coup de coeur” prize to Nicolas Sancy for his NANOE project, which provides a collective solution for the production, storage and distribution of solar energy at local level.
Marianne Laigneau, Group Senior Executive Vice President in charge of the International Division, and Chair of the EDF Pulse Africa awards panel, said: “The EDF Pulse Africa awards express EDF’s strong commitment to supporting such inspiring initiatives, which contribute to the development of the energy solutions of tomorrow, and reflect the dynamism of our portfolio of hydro, biomass and off-grid projects currently under development in Africa. It also provides an opportunity for the EDF Group to identify the people who are working today on the energy solutions of tomorrow.”