Press release | Social Entrepreneurship | 22 February 2023

Boosting accessibility to affordable renewable energy in Africa: Four African SMEs selected for SESA ‘Call for Entrepreneurs 2022’

Smart Energy Enterprise provides solar pump irrigation systems to support smallholder farmers in Northern Malawi.


Nastech solar generators are used in restaurants to provide electricity and for cooking.

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Econexus distributing their bioethanol and cookstoves to local businesses.

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GREEN Solar Academy makes Solar PV systems available to facilitate the supply of solar energy in rural communities.

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Siemens Stiftung on behalf of the Smart Energy Solutions for Africa (SESA) consortium is excited to announce the names of the selected enterprises of the “SESA Call for Entrepreneurs 2022”. Launched in September 2022, the open and competitive call for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) focused on Productive Use of Energy (PUE) solutions in Ghana, Malawi, Morocco, and South Africa. The inaugural call for entrepreneurs encouraged women-led enterprises to apply, resulting in over 30% of the total applications coming from female founders.

  • Ghana: Econexus Ventures Limited A female-led enterprise co-founded by Patience Alifo, provides affordable, reliable, and clean-burning bioethanol and cookstoves as alternatives to polluting cooking fuels.
  • Ghana: Nastech Power Solutions Founded by Samuel Asare, develops affordable, reliable and durable solar energy solutions from electronic waste and recycled plastics.
  • Malawi: Smart Energy Enterprise (SEE) Under the leadership of Gift Mwangairo offers solar-powered irrigation systems, customised advisory services and access to markets for smallholder farmers.
  • South Africa: GREEN Solar Academy Is a female-founded independent training provider of solar PV systems, envisioning to make renewable energy accessible for all Africans. Antje Klauss-Vorreiter is the CEO of the enterprise.

The four selected enterprises have received sub-contracts ranging from €50,000 up to €70,000 per business over 18 months, with the aim of validating selected proof of concepts and business models for up-scaling. Beginning at the end of February 2023, they will join the SESA Incubator Programme: receiving mentoring and tailored growth support and capacity-building programmes to prepare them for follow-on funding and to strengthen the financial sustainability of their enterprises. They will also benefit from the consortium partners’ diverse expertise, experience, and networks.

“Empowering entrepreneurs to increase the use of renewable energies will drive sustainable development and catalyse a more equitable and prosperous future for all. My heartiest congratulations to all, we are particularly delighted to have two promising women-led enterprises amongst the selected companies”, added Dr. Nina Smidt, Managing Director and Spokesperson of the Board, Siemens Stiftung.

The European Commission-funded SESA project aims to ensure the applicability, replicability, adaption and scalability of innovative business solutions across Africa. A SESA expert jury selected the four enterprises after screening close to 100 applications on basis of their replication potential. Under its overarching vision of energy access for all, the selected solutions seek to enable economic growth along with creating jobs and contributing to low-carbon development.

SESA Project Coordinator and ICLEI Europe Representative, Magdalena Sikorowska welcomed the four companies into the SESA Consortium: “Your contribution and expertise will accelerate the implementation of clean energy projects and improve the socio-economic conditions of local communities. Within SESA we aim at empowering entrepreneurs and developing local innovation!”

Smart Energy Solutions for Africa (SESA)

SESA is a collaborative project between the European Union and nine African countries (Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Nigeria) that aims at providing energy access technologies and business models that are easily replicable and generate local opportunities for economic development and social cohesion in Africa.

Through several local active labs, it is expected to facilitate the co-development of scalable and replicable energy access innovations, to be tested, validated, and later replicated throughout the African continent. These solutions will include decentralized renewables (solar photovoltaics), innovative energy storage systems including the use of second-life electric vehicle batteries, smart microgrids, waste-to-energy systems (biomass to biogas), climate-proofing, resilience and adaptation, and rural internet.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101037141. This material reflects only the views of the Con-sortium, and the EC cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information in it.