TechInAfrica – With support from the DOEN Foundation, Shell Foundation, Facebook, and USAID, VentureBuilder that focuses on scaling African-owned and managed off-grid solar enterprises, has been launched. The launch of VentureBuilder aims at expanding energy access to Africa’s underserved communities.
More than 100 African households don’t have adequate access to modern electricity services, tend to spend on stopgap lightings like candles, kerosene, and dry-cell batteries. They typically rely much on expensive and inconvenient charging services to charge their mobile phones. These issues are what the company wants to address, expecting to help local distributors to get benefits from high-impact solar companies with modern, affordable, and convenient electricity.
There are three key areas VentureBuilder will focus on: partner with existing local African distribution enterprises, invest capital alongside Enterprise Development Services to support entrepreneurs in growing their businesses, and track the key metrics related to business performance and social impact.
Dan Murphy, Managing Director at VentureBuilder said, “As Africa’s off-grid solar revolution has evolved, many industry insiders have recognized the need to empower a new generation of local enterprises. We’re excited to partner with these local businesses and provide them with the human and financial resources they need to sustainably and profitably scale their impact.”
VentureBuilder is co-developed by Catalyst Off-Grid Advisors and Open Capital Advisors. Both companies have decades of experience in building, advising, and financing off-grid solar companies. Meanwhile, Facebook will be the one in charge to support the development phase as well as additional funding while the DOEN Foundation, Shell Foundation, and USAID will support the implementation phase.
“The DOEN Foundation has supported dozens of energy access initiatives over the years. We believe VentureBuilder can be a game-changer in supporting and scaling indigenous enterprises across Africa, in areas most in need,” said Saskia Werther, Program Manager at DOEN Foundation.
“Research shows that achieving SDG7 requires an additional 300+ companies to deliver energy services to millions of consumers in sub-Saharan Africa. Supporting local entrepreneurs with established distribution networks to expand into household solar energy services represents a vital delivery mechanism and we are excited to support VentureBuilder to demonstrate this in practice,” added Sam Parker, Director of the Shell Foundation.