Skip to main content
Category

News

Empowering women in renewable energy

By News No Comments

Gender inequality remains a significant challenge in the renewable energy sector. Despite global efforts to promote gender diversity, women continue to be underrepresented, particularly in leadership and technical roles. Women make up only 32% of the renewable energy workforce, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This disparity is due to various factors, including cultural norms, limited access to education and training, and insufficient supportive policies.

The consequences of this gender gap are far-reaching. Not only does it limit the economic opportunities available to women, but it also stifles the potential for innovative solutions that come from diverse teams. Addressing gender inequality in the renewable energy sector is not just a matter of equity, it is essential for driving effective and sustainable energy solutions.

EEC’s commitment to women’s empowerment
The Energy Enterprise Coach (EEC) is dedicated to changing this narrative. EEC provides inclusive, solution-oriented business development services to renewable energy SMEs across Africa and Asia. Working with SMEs from Kenya, Uganda, Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Malawi, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Cambodia, EEC aims to professionalize SMEs and accelerate their growth towards investment readiness.

EEC’s key initiatives aimed at empowering women in the renewable energy sector:

  • Inclusivity: At least 25% of the enterprises supported by EEC are women-owned, ensuring that women have ample opportunities to thrive in the renewable energy sector.
  • E-Learning: EEC has so far enrolled 329 learners on the platform, of whom 28% are women.
  • Group training: The EEC has so far delivered 54 trainings with 581 participations from SME staff under the EEC programme, of which 193 are women.
  • Mentorship: 24 SMEs have joined the EEC mentorship programme of which 6 SMEs are women owned and 8 are jointly owned.

Success stories of women beneficiaries

Awuor Dorothy Otieno, founder and CEO of Nyalore Impact LTD (Kenya)
Dorothy Awuor’s company provides modern cooking solutions to underserved rural areas, aiming to offer off-grid residents access to safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly cooking options. She said that, “Participating in the EEC programme wasn’t just an event; it was a catalyst for change that has put our company on a steady upward track. The programme has transformed not only our business but also our entire trajectory. Our company has entered a new era of innovation and resilience thanks to the EEC programme.”

Ouedraogo Aminata, manager at Namangdo SARL (Burkina Faso)
Namangdo SARL sells biodigester products and trains producers in the manufacture of organic inputs, agricultural production, and biodigester maintenance. Aminata Ouedraogo remarked, “The EEC training has helped us clearly define our vision and mission and better understand our SWOT analysis. This has allowed us to identify our strengths and weaknesses, seize opportunities, and be aware of the threats we face. The opportunity to work with other entrepreneurs gave us insights, making us rethink and refocus certain aspects of our business to improve profitability.”

Grace Gitiha, founder and Managing Director of Green Eco Solutions LTD (Kenya)
Green Eco Solutions transforms biomass waste into briquettes, advocating for cleaner cooking solutions to address deforestation, mitigate indoor air pollution, and foster employment for women and youth. Grace highlighted, “EEC has been pivotal in refining Green Eco Solutions’ documentation, helping us create a streamlined and compelling business presentation. This has enabled us to effectively communicate our story, resulting in notable recognition, including the prestigious Company of the Year Award from the Africa Queen of Energy Awards. We anticipate continued mentorship that will eventually help us scale our operations.”

Empowering women in the renewable energy sector is not only essential but also transformative. As the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) aptly puts it, “Leveraging women’s participation as change agents can encourage, influence, and speed up the energy transformation.”. The Energy Enterprise Coach (EEC) is proud to have been part of these and other women-led SME’s journeys, providing the guidance and support needed to overcome challenges and achieve their dreams. EEC remains dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs with the tools, knowledge, and support they need to continue making a lasting impact.

Empowering Uganda: EEC and ABC as well as EnDev partnerships driving renewable energy solutions

By News No Comments

Introduction
In Uganda, a remarkable synergy between the Energy Enterprise Coach (EEC), the African Biodigester Component (ABC)1 involving SNV and GIZ, and EnDev (GIZ) is spearheading efforts to combat energy poverty. These partnerships are dedicated to promoting clean cooking, off-grid solar solutions and other renewable energy solutions essential for sustainable development and improved livelihoods.

Collaborative efforts
The collaborative efforts between EEC, ABC and EnDev till date have been central to implementing EEC’s initiatives in Uganda. The EEC program focuses on professionalizing clean energy small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), equipping them to scale operations and attract investment. By providing group training, mentorship, and self-paced e-learning, EEC enhances the competitiveness and growth potential of these SMEs.

ABC Uganda, part of a broader program active in multiple African countries, aims to support the biodigester sector by increasing demand through continuous information and awareness campaigns. The project provides business development support through technical training, policy creation, and implementation of standards governing the biodigester sector. On the other hand, EnDev’s activities in Uganda focus on facilitating access to modern energy services for households, including those in refugee settings. By developing markets for solar photovoltaic (PV) and cooking energy technologies, EnDev contributes significantly to the country’s clean energy landscape.

Inspiring success stories
An example of EEC’s impact can be seen through Devine Renewable Energy Company (DRECo), an SME in Uganda in the EEC program. Through EEC’s mentorship, DRECo has optimized its business operations, including refining business models, marketing strategies, human resources, financial accounting, and distribution processes. This comprehensive support has enabled DRECo to offer affordable prefab biogas systems with reliable after-sales support.

Mrs. Grace Namirembe, the Director of DRECo, shares, “The EEC group trainings have been an eye-opener to DRECo’s operations in the energy space. I can now see several changes that will help me grow my company. I’ve had a terrific opportunity to network and gain insights from other business owners. Financial management has been a gap for me as an entrepreneur, but the EEC sessions I have attended thus far have influenced the company’s financial decisions, and I am eager to learn more.”

In May of 2023, the EEC Uganda SMEs participated in the Africa Biodigester Component (ABC) Annual Knowledge Exchange Event in Kampala. Hosted by the ABC project in Uganda, the event featured high-level policy discussions on the biodigester sector, with in-depth insights into areas such as access to finance, carbon finance, and market innovations. This event served as a crucial platform for sharing experiences, discussing challenges, and exploring opportunities to advance the biodigester market in the region.

Through such collaborative efforts, EEC, ABC, and EnDev are not only empowering local entrepreneurs but also contributing significantly to the global Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG7, which focuses on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. By providing innovative financing, business development support, and fostering market development, these initiatives are catalysing positive change, enhancing climate resilience, and paving the way for a sustainable and prosperous future for Ugandan communities.

Empowering communities and fostering sustainability
The success of these collaborative efforts extends beyond energy provision. By empowering local communities with sustainable practices, they foster a sense of ownership and responsibility towards environmental conservation. Biodigesters, for example, not only provide a clean cooking solution but also produce organic fertilizer that enhances soil fertility, thereby boosting agricultural productivity and food security.

Moreover, the focus on improving financial management and business operations among SMEs ensures that these businesses can sustainably grow and continue to positively contribute to the local economy, including in job creation. Entrepreneurs like Mrs. Grace Namirembe of DRECo demonstrate how targeted support and mentorship can transform small enterprises, enabling them to thrive and serve their communities more effectively.

A brighter future for Uganda
As Uganda continues to grapple with energy challenges, population growth, and environmental degradation, the efforts of EEC, ABC and EnDev offer a beacon of hope. By promoting clean energy solutions and supporting local enterprises, these organizations are not only addressing immediate needs but also laying the groundwork for long-term sustainable development.

The ongoing work of EEC, ABC and EnDev and the upcoming collaboration with Higher-Tier Clean Cooking Component (HTCC) which is also part of the RVO funded SEE-CC program serves as a testament to the transformative power of collective action. By leveraging the strengths of each partner, they are promoting a robust ecosystem for renewable energy solutions.

1Both EEC and ABC are part of the RVO funded Strengthening Entrepreneurial Eco-system for Clean-Cooking (SEE-CC).

Fueling Success Together: EEC and OFVI join forces to empower SMEs in the biodigester and bioslurry sector

By News No Comments

Introduction
In the vibrant economies of Kenya and Uganda, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of entrepreneurial activity. Under the aegis of the ABC programme, a synergistic collaboration is unfolding to support these businesses. The Energy Enterprise Coach (EEC) and the Organic Fertiliser Valorisation Implementer (OFVI) have come together, offering a combination of business development and technical trainings on bioslurry valorisation to SMEs in the biodigester and bioslurry sector.

Shared Vision: Nurturing Prosperity and Sustainability
At the core of this partnership lies a shared vision – to nurture and propel SMEs towards prosperity and sustainability. The EEC, serves as a guiding beacon for SMEs navigating the complexities of growth and investment readiness. Offering a range of tailored support, from group trainings, self-paced E-Learning to personalised mentoring, it ensures timely guidance across various business facets. Meanwhile, OFVI, with its expertise in bio-slurry valorisation, enriches SMEs through hands-on trainings and workshops. Collaborating with partners like Africa Bioenergy Programs Limited (ABPL) in Kenya and Biogas Solutions Uganda Limited (BSUL), it equips businesses with essential tools, from composting techniques to understanding soil-crop dynamics, fostering sustainable practices and profitability in biodigester investments.

Joining forces, EEC and OFVI embarked on a shared mission to empower SMEs across Kenya and Uganda. By combining our respective strengths and resources, we seek to bring in efficiencies into our intake, selection and support offered to ultimately create an ecosystem where entrepreneurship flourishes, innovation thrives, and communities prosper.

Impact and Benefits: Transforming SMEs in Kenya and Uganda
The collaboration between EEC and OFVI promises tangible benefits for SMEs in the biodigester and bioslurry/organic fertiliser sector across Kenya and Uganda. Through this partnership, SMEs can anticipate a range of transformative outcomes that will positively impact their businesses and operations. These include:

  1. Enhanced Knowledge and Skills: Through tailored interventions and hands-on training programs, SMEs stand to gain access to invaluable knowledge and skills that they need to succeed in a competitive market.
  2. Market Expansion Opportunities: EEC and OFVI provide SMEs with access to new markets and opportunities for growth. By connecting businesses with national partners and industry stakeholders, entrepreneurs can expand their reach and establish sustainable business networks that drive long-term success.
  3. Sustainable Impact: The collaboration between EEC and OFVI fosters sustainable practices that benefit both businesses and the environment. By promoting the use of bio-slurry as organic fertiliser and advocating for responsible agricultural techniques, SMEs contribute to a greener, more sustainable future for generations to come.

Conclusion: A Bright Future Through Partnership
The collaboration between EEC and OFVI illuminates a path towards a brighter future. Together, they stand as beacons of hope, guiding entrepreneurs through the challenges and uncertainties of business growth. Their partnership signifies more than just a union of organisations; it symbolises a commitment to collective progress and sustainable development.

With tailored support and innovative strategies, EEC and OFVI are not merely empowering SMEs – they are laying the foundation for thriving ecosystems of entrepreneurship in the biodigester and bioslurry/organic fertiliser sector in Kenya and Uganda.

Click the links below to learn more about the various partners:

OFVI: https://www.ofvi-abc.nl/

ABPL: https://www.africabioenergyprograms.org/

BSUL: https://www.biogassolutions.co.ug/

Mentorship as a Catalyst for SME Development: The Impact of the Energy Enterprise Coach Mentorship Programme

By News No Comments

Introduction
In the dynamic landscape of the renewable energy sector, small and mid-sized enterprises face numerous challenges in their journey toward sustainability and expansion, that require specialized guidance and support. Recognizing the need for targeted assistance, the Energy Enterprise Coach (EEC) Mentorship Programme has emerged as a beacon of empowerment for businesses operating in the renewable energy sector. This initiative, designed as part of the EEC SME Capacity Building Pathways, pairs experienced mentors with enterprises based on their specific needs, fostering growth and sustainability in the ever-evolving energy market.

Program Overview
The EEC Mentorship Programme is designed to provide targeted support to SMEs, with mentors being assigned to SMEs based on their identified needs. The EEC programme consists of a pool of experienced mentors based within the target geographies who bring a wealth of knowledge and practical insights to guide entrepreneurs through their business development journey. The timeframes, format, and frequency of engagement are finely tuned to align with the unique improvement areas of each SME, ensuring a tailored and effective approach to capacity building.

Success Stories: Bukona Agro Processors Limited in Uganda and Wisdom Energy in Kenya
The Energy Enterprise Coach (EEC) Mentorship Programme has been a transformative force for enterprises in the renewable energy sector, with success stories echoing across borders. One such remarkable example is the journey of Bukona Agro Processors Limited in Uganda, led by Mohammed Kadhi, the Head of Sales and Marketing.

Kadhi highlights the invaluable support provided by the Energy Enterprise Coach Mentorship Programme in navigating the challenges of pioneering clean ethanol cooking technology in Uganda. “I am immensely grateful for the support provided by the Energy Enterprise Coach (EEC) Mentorship Programme,” expresses Kadhi. He credits mentors Ancel Bwire and Ben Odongo for their guidance in developing a targeted Route-to-Market Strategy. This strategic approach facilitated the successful launch in Gulu, expansion to Kampala, and the establishment of branches in Fort Portal, with plans for Soroti and Lira in the pipeline.

The tailored business development interventions of the EEC were a crucial factor in Bukona Agro Processors Limited’s success. Kadhi emphasizes that these interventions, precisely aligned with their growth stage, played an instrumental role in instilling renewed confidence and providing a clear path forward. He applauds the program’s pragmatic approach and urges fellow entrepreneurs to explore the impactful initiative.

Bukona Agro Processors Limited’s success stands as a testament to the EEC Mentorship Programme’s ability to drive tangible results and contribute significantly to the growth and sustainability of enterprises in the renewable energy sector.

Crossing borders to Kenya, Wisdom Energy attests to the enormous benefits derived from the ongoing EEC training. The company expresses gratitude for the program’s role in developing a solid fundraising strategy. “Wisdom Energy has benefited enormously from the ongoing mentorship support. It has enabled us to develop a solid fundraising strategy, and we are hopeful that we will raise the required capital in the near future,” states Dan Waithaka, Wisdom Energy’s Director. This success story from Kenya further underlines the program’s effectiveness in empowering enterprises across different regions, fostering growth, and building a resilient foundation for the future.

Program Impact
The success of the Energy Enterprise Coach Mentorship Programme lies in its ability to bridge the gap between potential and performance. By offering targeted guidance, industry insights, and strategic support, the program empowers enterprises to overcome challenges, explore new opportunities, and achieve their business objectives. Additionally, by pairing experienced mentors with SMEs based on their unique needs, the program ensures that interventions are not only timely but also directly address the challenges hindering their growth. This personalized approach fosters a collaborative environment where knowledge transfer, skill development, and strategic guidance lead to tangible results.

The mentors, with their wealth of experience, serve as valuable resources for SMEs, providing not only theoretical knowledge but also practical solutions to real-world challenges. The program’s adaptability in terms of engagement timeframes and formats ensures that the mentorship is a dynamic and evolving process, effectively addressing the changing needs of the participating enterprises.

Conclusion
Mentorship has emerged as a powerful catalyst for SME development, and the Energy Enterprise Coach Program has already started demonstrating tangible success in this arena. The testimonials from entrepreneurs like Mohammed Kadhi of Bukona Agro Processors Limited and Dan Waithaka from Wisdom Energy underscore the transformative impact of the EEC mentorship program. As the business landscape continues to evolve, initiatives like these play a crucial role in shaping the success stories of SMEs, driving economic growth, and fostering a culture of innovation and resilience in the business community.

Revolutionizing skills development of renewable energy entrepreneurs with E-Learning

By News No Comments

Introduction
The renewable energy sector is on the brink of a revolution, driven by a global shift towards sustainability and the quest for cleaner energy sources. As the world grapples with the challenges posed by climate change, entrepreneurs and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the renewable energy field play a pivotal role in reshaping the energy landscape. To empower these entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the ever-evolving renewable energy market, the Energy Enterprise Coach (EEC) provides a custom designed E-Learning platform as one of its channels of building the capacity of the SMEs. This innovative initiative has been conceptualized to leverage the power of digital learning and access to internet in developing countries, reaching over 21 countries in Africa and Asia, and supporting the growth of SMEs in the renewable energy sector as they join in the green energy revolution.

The Importance of Renewable Energy Entrepreneurs
Renewable energy entrepreneurs are at the forefront of a cleaner, more sustainable future. They are the driving force behind the development of off-grid solar, clean cooking, biogas and biodigester and other renewable energy projects that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. These entrepreneurs are not only fostering economic growth but are also contributing to the mitigation of climate change by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. To do this effectively, they need to be equipped with a diverse skill set and up-to-date knowledge of the renewable energy sector.

Challenges Faced by Renewable Energy Entrepreneurs
The renewable energy sector is characterized by its rapid technological advancements and dynamic regulatory landscape. Renewable energy entrepreneurs face several challenges, including:

  1. Technical Knowledge: Staying abreast of the latest technological innovations in the renewable energy field is crucial for business sustainability. Entrepreneurs need to have a solid grasp of renewable energy technologies and their applications.
  2. Business Acumen: Running a successful renewable energy enterprise requires sound business acumen. Entrepreneurs must understand financial management, project financing, marketing, and business development to thrive in the competitive market.
  3. Regulatory Compliance: Regulations surrounding renewable energy projects can vary from one region to another. Entrepreneurs must navigate complex legal frameworks to ensure their projects are compliant with local laws and regulations.
  4. Market Intelligence: Staying competitive in the renewable energy sector requires entrepreneurs to be well-informed about market trends, customer preferences, and emerging opportunities.

The Role of E-Learning in Bridging the Gap
The EEC is working closely with its strategic partners under the Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Eco-system for Clean-Cooking (SEE-CC) and Energizing Development (EnDev) programme, to address these challenges. In particular, EEC is focused on supporting SMEs in their business development related challenges and has designed a purpose-built platform to provide renewable energy entrepreneurs with sector relevant business development courses covering various aspects ranging from basic courses on financial management, business foundations, sales and marketing to more advanced courses on impact measurement and ESG. This platform provides a user-friendly interface comprised of curated learning content In English and French, available to all SMEs working in the Renewable Energy sector in EEC target countries in Africa and Asia. Furthermore, the platform also provides learners with access to e-mentorship support. The learners receive a certificate for successfully completing the course and related assessments.

So far, we have 102 companies and 160 users from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali and Uganda on the e-learning platform.  Over 150 courses have been started by users and 88 courses have been completed.  For the completed courses, the average satisfaction rate was 85%. Anecdotal evidence shows that the e-learning platform has been beneficial for learners.

An e-learner shared the following feedback:

“The course has been quite beneficial to my business. I have been able to structure my thinking and approach to implementing different strategies in my business. The Financial Management 101 and Fundraising courses were particularly beneficial to me. The e-mentorship was also an eye-opener. The mentors have been instrumental in guiding me on how to implement the many ideas I have had thus far. I want to scale my operations and spur innovation in the clean energy space. Thanks to the EEC platform, I am on the right track.”

Key Features of the EEC E-Learning Platform

SMEs are the backbone of the renewable energy sector, and their success is integral to achieving global climate goals. The EEC E-Learning platform acts as a catalyst for their growth and development. Entrepreneurs who are interested in accessing this e-learning platform are encouraged to sign up and take the first step toward becoming leaders in the renewable energy industry. For any queries, write to eecoach@niras.dk

Conclusion
The renewable energy sector is poised for continued growth, and renewable energy entrepreneurs are central to this journey. However, they face numerous challenges, from navigating complex regulatory landscapes to keeping up with technological advancements. The EEC E-Learning platform is a game-changing initiative that offers accessible, flexible, and comprehensive business development support to renewable energy entrepreneurs, regardless of their location. By expanding its reach to more target countries in Africa and Asia, it empowers SMEs to participate in the green energy revolution. As we look to a cleaner and more sustainable future, the EEC E-Learning platform is a vital tool in shaping the skills and knowledge of those who are leading the way.

For more details about the Energy Enterprise Coach, visit https://ee-coach.com/

Follow us on:

Twitter      LinkedIn     Facebook

Harnessing the Collective Power: The Role of Group Training in Fueling Renewable Energy Businesses in Africa and Asia

By News No Comments

Introduction

In the dynamic and evolving landscape of renewable energy businesses in Africa and Asia, the importance of group training cannot be overstated. These regions hold enormous potential for sustainable energy solutions and economic growth, but to realize this potential, entrepreneurs and businesses must be equipped with the right knowledge and skills. Group training programs are emerging as a game-changer, offering a multitude of benefits that are propelling renewable energy enterprises to new heights. In this article, we will explore the myriad advantages of group training and how it is reshaping the future of the renewable energy sector in Africa and Asia.

1) Collective Wisdom and Experience

One of the most significant benefits of group training is the opportunity for collective wisdom and experience sharing. Participants in these programs come from diverse backgrounds and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. By interacting with peers and mentors, entrepreneurs gain access to a rich pool of insights, strategies, and best practices. This knowledge exchange accelerates their learning curve and equips them with the tools to make informed decisions and overcome challenges more effectively.

2) Synergy and Collaboration

Group training fosters an environment of synergy and collaboration among participants. Instead of tackling business problems in isolation, entrepreneurs have the chance to collaborate on real-world challenges. This collaborative approach often leads to innovative solutions and partnerships that can significantly benefit renewable energy businesses. The power of collaboration extends beyond the training room, as these connections often continue to thrive long after the program concludes.

3) Diverse Perspectives

Renewable energy is a multifaceted industry that demands diverse perspectives and creative thinking. Group training programs bring together individuals from various backgrounds, industries, and cultures. This diversity of perspectives enriches discussions and problem-solving processes. It allows participants to view challenges from different angles and develop well-rounded solutions that are adaptable to the complexities of the renewable energy sector.

4) Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills

The interactive nature of group training sessions encourages participants to actively engage in problem-solving exercises and case studies. Through hands-on activities and group discussions, entrepreneurs develop their critical thinking and analytical skills. They learn to identify and address complex issues, which are invaluable when navigating the ever-evolving renewable energy landscape.

5) Confidence Building

Entrepreneurship in the renewable energy sector can be daunting, especially for newcomers. Group training programs provide a supportive and encouraging environment that helps build participants’ confidence. Through peer feedback, mentorship, and constructive critiques, entrepreneurs gain the self-assurance needed to pitch their ideas, secure financing, and lead their businesses effectively. The EEC entrepreneurs have also had the opportunity to do presentations in front of their peers as part of the learning experience.

6) Networking Opportunities

Networking is a cornerstone of business success, and group training programs offer exceptional networking opportunities. Entrepreneurs have the chance to connect with mentors, industry experts, potential customers, and investors. These connections often prove instrumental in securing partnerships, funding, and market opportunities that can significantly accelerate business growth.

7) Tailored Learning Experience

Group training programs are designed to cater to the specific needs and challenges of the renewable energy sector. Unlike generic training, these programs provide a tailored learning experience that directly addresses industry-related issues. Participants gain insights and skills that are immediately applicable to their businesses, ensuring a more impactful and relevant learning journey. The EEC entrepreneurs have also been taken through the effective steps and tools they can use on the various digital platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, to effectively market their products and services online as they engage clients in a way that will improve their sales.

Conclusion

The benefits of group training for renewable energy businesses in Africa and Asia are clear and compelling. These programs empower entrepreneurs with collective wisdom, foster collaboration and diversity, enhance problem-solving skills, build confidence, facilitate networking, and offer a customized learning experience. As the renewable energy sector continues to play a pivotal role in sustainable development, the transformative power of group training will remain at the forefront, shaping the future of businesses and driving the transition towards cleaner and more sustainable energy solutions.

The Energy Enterprise Coach program provides group training to its program SMEs. So far, group training sessions have been conducted in Kenya, Uganda, and Burkina Faso. These sessions have been instrumental in equipping SMEs with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the renewable energy industry. By covering essential topics such as entrepreneurship, business fundamentals, the business life cycle, mission and vision statements, SWOT analysis, and financier criteria, this initiative has empowered the renewable energy entrepreneurs to navigate challenges and seize opportunities effectively.

For more details about the Energy Enterprise Coach, visit https://ee-coach.com/

Follow us on:

Twitter      LinkedIn     Facebook

The Energy Enterprise Coach providing tailor-made trainings to renewable energy SMEs in Africa and Asia

By News

The Energy Enterprise Coach (EEC) is a capacity building program that seeks to professionalize Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) working in the renewable energy sector in Africa and Asia. This program is conceptualized and funded by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and the Energizing Development (EnDev) partnership, and is being implemented by NIRAS and Intellecap. The program has a keen focus on SMEs in improved and clean cooking, biodigester, organic fertilizer and off-grid solar sectors.

Launched early this year, the EEC kicked off with a Call for Applications for SMEs in Kenya on 27th February, closely followed by a similar Call in Uganda. By the end of May, EEC commenced to mobilize eligible SMEs across the Sahel target countries, namely Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Benin. The application window in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali is targeted towards biodigester companies and in Benin towards improved cookstove companies.

The EEC program has so far attracted a good number of applications from different countries, an indication of the need for technical support for the SMEs in the renewable energy sector to enable them to scale their businesses.

SMEs enrolled into the EEC program stand to benefit from quality business development support that is tailored to the individual business growth stage of participating SMEs, the particular clean energy segment that the company targets, as well as context and location. The trainings come in three variations, i.e. e-learning, group trainings and individual mentoring.

The first round of group trainings for SMEs within the Kenya and Uganda cohorts kicked off in May 2023 with EEC contracted BDS provider E4Impact delivering specially prepared training on essential business fundamental areas. The first training covered topics such as: Business Life cycle; Mission and Vision statement and SWOT analysis, with the SMEs thereafter tasked to complete assignments in developing (or strengthening) their mission/vision statements and company SWOT. A total of 16 companies in Kenya and 14 companies in Uganda participated in these trainings.

In Uganda, an additional training day was organized for participating EEC SMEs plus additional biodigester companies from the ABC Uganda programme. On the 2nd day, focus moved to “How to effectively present your business to financial institutions”; following a morning of training, a B2B match-making event with an array of different financiers took place, organized by our funder RVO and ABC Implementing Partner (SNV, Biogas Solutions Uganda Ltd).

The sessions also presented the SMEs with a platform to network and share ideas and experiences, which promoted the aspect of learning through knowledge sharing. “The training was insightful and interactive. We will implement what we have learnt, and we will soon be sharing success stories on the impact of this on our businesses,” said one of the participants after one of the training sessions. The second round of group trainings in Kenya and Uganda are underway from 6th June and we are excited to be part of the growth journey of these SMEs.

All SMEs shortlisted for the EEC program have access to the EEC E-Learning platform which further affords them an additional avenue to upskill through self-learning. The learning modules on the E-Learning platform are themed and cut across various topics and one is able to progressively advance from the simple topics to more complex business topics with the opportunity to benefit from dedicated E-mentorship support. There are assessments after each topic and one is able to track their performance. After successful completion of the training, the SMES will be issued with a certificate.

For more details about the Energy Enterprise Coach, visit https://ee-coach.com/

Follow us on: