Clean energy contest seeks West African entrepreneurs
The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) and its partners has launched a business plan competition called the West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF/the Forum) to identify promising regional entrepreneurs and unlock renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in West Africa.
Sponsors of the initiative include the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Regional Clean Energy Investment Initiative (RCEII), ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Climate Technology Initiative Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI PFAN). Other strategic partners include the West African Development Bank (WADB) and African Biofuels and Renewable Energy Company (ABREC), affiliated with ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).
The Forum, which will assume a business plan competition format, aims to identify and nurture entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing companies with promising clean energy projects in West Africa and serve as a conduit between them and financiers. The competition is open to all businesses and entrepreneurs operating and registered in any of the ECOWAS countries as well as foreign individuals and entities with projects in those countries.
For consideration, the projects should be in the range of USD1 million to USD50 million, and should reasonably demonstrate commercial and technical viability. Projects selected for a shortlist will attend a project development and financing workshop and will receive free individual professional mentoring on further development of their business plans. WAFCEF will be held in Accra (Ghana) over three-day period in early October 2013.
At the Forum, five to ten qualified project sponsors will have the opportunity to present their business plans to invited investors and make a pitch for financing. As part of the competition, an expert panel, including investors, industry specialists and business executives with a keen interest in enabling cleaner and greener projects in West Africa, will judge the finalists’ presentations and select the top three projects for the West African Clean Energy Financing Awards.