Smart Villages launches Energy Innovation Challenge


The Smart Villages initiative has launched a competition for entrepreneurs in East Africa working in off-grid solar.

The competition, dubbed the ‘Energy Innovation Challenge’, has potential prize-money for one winning team. Each team, according to Smart Villages, should contain one scientist or engineer. Successful teams will be invited to take place on the Cambridge Development Initiative summer 2015 training course at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

According to Smart Villages, possible areas covered by entrants could be new technologies around cooking, cooling, mini-grids, and direct mechanical power; distribution models; and innovative payment and financing schemes.

Kristin Shine Polamn, director for international competitions at Smart Villages, said, “We are delighted to have been able to collaborate with the Cambridge Development Initiative to run a competition focused on introducing students with a science and engineering background to the skills necessary to turn a great idea into a successful real world innovation. We have already had an enthusiastic response to the competition and are looking into running a similar one in India.”

The progress of the Smart Village scheme has long been couched in the off-grid sectors of developing nations. In January, the Malaysian government used the advent of a Smart Village workshop to re-affirm its commitment to off-grid renewables.

The Energy Innovation Challenge opens today and closes on 17 April.