Ugandan women-led renewable energy enterprises fly flag high

Joint Energy and Environments Projects (JEEP) and Conservation and Development Uganda Limited (CODE), are the winners of the 2017 Women in Energy Challenge and will each receive a grant of $100,000 to expand their renewable energy enterprises.

The competition was launched in 2016 by USADF and GE to identify and accelerate enterprises either led by women or benefitting women, and help African entrepreneurs compete in the global economy, a joint press release explained.

JEEP’s chairwoman, Dr. Maria Bawabya Senkezi, said investing in women entrepreneurs is critical because “women invest money back into the community.”

Renewable energy enterprises

Explaining the motive behind the initiative, the USADF President and CEO, C.D. Glin, said: “We launched this Women in Energy Challenge to find the best and the brightest female entrepreneurs that are making a difference in bringing electricity to rural communities.

"We are very pleased to see that these women-led enterprises are showing promise in finding alternative solutions to Uganda’s energy crisis."

Jay Ireland, President & CEO of GE Africa, also commented: “Providing energy access to Africa’s population is a priority for us. The Women in Energy Challenge is one of our commitments towards supporting local entrepreneurs and we are delighted that African women-owned enterprises are solving local challenges.”

More about the winners

Joint Energy and Environments Projects (JEEP): is a 100% women-owned enterprise in central Uganda. With a $100,000 grant, it will install six green power units in Kalangala district, a remote island district in Lake Victoria. Fishing is the main industry in this island district in Lake Victoria, but commercial ice to preserve fish is both expensive and limited. As a result, a significant amount of fish is lost before it can be sold in the market.

The green power units, which JEEP establishes will each have solar-powered cold storage facilities for preservation, phone charging and solar home systems for sale, and each will be run by a women’s group trained in bookkeeping.

The units will each repay a portion of their profits to JEEP to be used to replicate the model throughout the region.

Conservation and Development Uganda Limited (CODE): is a majority-women owned enterprise in western Uganda where surrounding national parks limit the amount of available firewood, and as a result, women bear the brunt of energy poverty, walking long distances in search of firewood and cooking fuel.

Through the grant, CODE will sell an initial 350 Agro-Eco kits using a flexible repayment financing model, which will provide alternative and safer fuel sources.

Using a low-cost distribution system using Village Savings and Loan Associations, CODE will collect revenues and expand their business to impact more and more households in the region.

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