Enel and Seedstars award Africa’s best innovative energy access startup at RES4Africa event

●        Winning startup SolarFreeze was selected for its innovative solution that provides solar-powered cold storage units for smallholder farmers and traders in Sub-Saharan Africa.

●        Following the award, SolarFreeze will enter a three-month programme worth approximately 50,000 US dollars in acceleration services and cash funded by Seedstars

Nairobi, January 24th, 2018 – The Enel Group, through its new division Enel X, and Swiss-based group Seedstars World SA (“Seedstars”), have awarded the Africa Energy Prize to Kenyan startup SolarFreeze. The local company was recognised as the best energy access startup in the continent upon the successful conclusion of the RES-EXPO conference “Renewable Energy in East-Africa: New Frontiers” organised by RES4Africa in Nairobi. SolarFreeze was selected for its solar-powered cold storage unit systems that provide refrigeration services to smallholder farmers and traders with no need for grid connection.

We are glad to support a company promoting development in rural villages through innovative electrification solutions,” said Riccardo Amoroso, Head of Innovation and Product Lab at Enel X. “During the selection process for the Africa Energy Prize, we have identified a number of startups bringing unique energy projects to the Continent. These new business models, which couple socio-economic growth with the development of commercial and productive activities, are truly key to making Africa’s future greener and more sustainable.”

Almost 600 million people are lacking access to electricity in Africa. Solving energy issues through entrepreneurship and technology is therefore a critical agenda point at Seedstars where we aim to find real solutions to real problems. Seedstars is glad to have Enel onboard to help support some of the greatest entrepreneurs, disruptors and innovators in this space.” said Alisee de Tonnac, CEO at Seedstars.

Following the award, SolarFreeze will enter a three-month programme worth approximately 50,000 US dollars in acceleration services and cash funded by Seedstars.

Enel’s collaboration with Seedstars began formally in July 2017 when the two signed a cooperation agreement. The partners engaged the small-scale entrepreneurs who are providing innovative energy solutions focused on electric mobility, storage, distributed generation and energy efficiency, thereby tackling UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG7 - ensuring affordable and clean energy for all. The agreement established the Africa Energy Track challenge aimed at identifying innovative startups in the field of electricity access in Africa within the framework of the Seedstars World startup competition. 

Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa (RES4Africa) is an association that promotes the deployment of large scale and decentralised renewable energy in Sub-Saharan African countries to meet local energy needs for growth. The RES4Africa RES-EXPO conference “Renewable Energy in East-Africa: New Frontiers,” organised in collaboration with the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) took place over the past two days at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya. The event saw the participation of over 300 people and more than 70 speakers, including representatives of the Kenyan government, international financial institutions, regional and international organisations, private sector, academia and civil society for the exchange of strategies on how to accelerate the country’s renewable energy transition.

Enel X is a new Enel global business line dedicated to developing innovative products and digital solutions in sectors in which energy is showing the greatest potential for transformation: cities, homes, industries and electric mobility. 

Enel is a multinational power company and a leading integrated player in the global, power, gas and renewables markets. It is Europe’s largest utility in terms of market capitalisation and figures among Europe’s leading power companies in terms of installed capacity and reported EBITDA. The Group is present in over 30 countries worldwide, producing energy with around 86 GW of managed capacity. Enel distributes electricity and gas through a network of over 2 million kilometres, and with over 65 million business and household customers globally, the Group has the largest customer base among European competitors. Enel’s renewables arm Enel Green Power already manages around 40 GW of wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydropower plants in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and has recently arrived in Australia.

Seedstars is a Swiss based group of companies which has the goal of impacting people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. Seedstars connects stakeholders within these ecosystems, builds companies from scratch with public and private partners and invests in high growth startups. Through different activities of startup scouting, company building and acceleration programs, the team has now access to entrepreneurs, investors, incubators, corporations and government officials from 80+ countries. The Seedstars group includes Seedstars World, a worldwide startup competition; Seedstars Growth, a four month virtual acceleration program; Seedspace, a network of coworking and co-living spaces and Seedstars Academy, a six months program to train aspiring local entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses. 

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