Funding & Investment – March 2017  


Call for Proposals: Women-Led Clean Energy Businesses and Projects, Deadline March 31, 2017

The USAID Private Financing Advisory Network-Asia (USAID PFAN-Asia), the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are hosting a call for proposals for women entrepreneurs in clean energy.

Selected women entrepreneurs and organizations supporting the selected entrepreneurs will receive mentoring support from USAID PFAN-Asia with an aim to secure funding for upscaling their operations. Women entrepreneurs and organizations supporting the women entrepreneurs should be from the private sector, or be proposed as a public private partnerships, with a planned project in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Thailand, or Vietnam, and should be actively seeking capital up to $50 million size range.

Type of projects and business activities include: Biomass; Biofuels; Biogas; Energy Efficiency; Hydropower; Solar; Waste-to-Energy; Hybrid (a combination of two or more technical focuses); Energy Efficiency and Clean Transport.

Selected projects/ organizations will receive the following support from USAID PFAN-Asia:

  • Free one-on-one coaching for a total of 10 man-days to develop the business plan.
  • Introduction to equity investors and/or debt providers and assistance to negotiate terms of investment/lending.
  • Technical assistance (i.e. legal opinion, review of feasibility study and others).

For further details please see here.


Applications for 2017 Momentum for Change Awards now open, Deadline April 9, 2017

The United Nations Climate Change secretariat opened the call for applications for the 2017 Momentum for Change Awards to showcase action and ambition as national governments work toward implementing the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Selected initiatives, called ‘Lighthouse Activities,’ shine a light on innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change, in the hope of inspiring others to act. The winning activities will be recognized and celebrated during a series of special events in November at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany (COP 23).

Please note the “Women for Results” category, which recognizes the critical leadership and participation of women in addressing climate change. For more information, and to apply, click here.

GSMA Mobile for Development’s Innovation Fund open for applications, deadline April 16, 2017

Through this fund GSMA M4D aims to build and share evidence for how mobile can enable access to energy services as well as water and sanitation. The fund will award GBP 3.3 million in grant funds to 15 – 17 organizations to trial or scale commercially sustainable solutions that use mobile solutions to improve or increase access to energy, clean water or sanitation for underserved consumers. Grant sizes vary from GBP 150,000 to 300,000.

  • Seed Grants (up to GBP 150,000): To support the trial of products/services that use mobile to enable sustainable access to energy, water or sanitation.
  • Market Validation Grants (up to GBP 300,000): To support partnerships with mobile network operators or urban utility service providers to support scaling or replication of an existing service that increases or improves access to sustainable energy, water and sanitation services to underserved consumers. The service will already have demonstrated early success and have active users in at least one market.

Innovators with new products or services that leverage mobile technology as a significant element of their utility service delivery model for projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia are eligible for this fund. Please see a catalogue of past grantees here and apply here.   

2017 Impact Amplifier Investment Readiness Accelerator open for Applications, deadline April 21, 2017
To address Africa’s socio-economic and environmental challenges both innovative entrepreneurs and new business models must emerge. We believe that the private sector will be at the forefront of finding solutions to what have been historically intractable issues throughout the Continent. Impact Amplifier supports this vision by providing investment readiness and acceleration services to early stage impact businesses, which combine financial success with positive social and environmental change.

Impact Amplifier is launching their third investment readiness accelerator to provide the business development support required to scale start-up and early stage impact businesses. The accelerator is three months in length offering the participants the key ingredients to become ready for investment, including:

  • Constructing an impact case;
  • Market access, sales and distribution;
  • Strategic planning;
  • Financial modelling and planning;
  • Writing an investment case to secure funding;
  • Pitching to investors; and
  • Connecting with partners in the business ecosystem, including multinational companies, NGOs and the public sector.

This is an opportunity to learn from leading experts and to be exposed to a network of local and international investors. Throughout the program, entrepreneurs will be supported by Impact Amplifier’s Fellows, Partners and other Mentors. For more details about the Accelerator, see here.

The Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge funding window now open, Deadline April 30, 2017

The Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development (SOGE) seeks to accelerate growth in the off-grid energy market to provide 20 million households in sub-Saharan Africa with access to modern, clean, and affordable electricity. Access to capital and cost of capital remains a key market barrier, severely limiting enterprise growth and the household solar sector’s capacity to scale and mature as an industry. USAID has found that small infusions of grant funding can assist early-stage enterprises to achieve investment readiness on accelerated timelines, increasing opportunities for private sector investment.

This call for Concept Papers is aimed at addressing this access to capital barrier. Please note this window is for household solar companies and investors, not mini-/micro-grid companies. For further details on the grant and its eligibility requirements, please see the opportunity posting.

Any potential applicant referrals or questions can be directed to

International Solar Energy Society (ISES) and Elsevier’s Renewable Transformation Challenge, Deadline April 30, 2017

The Renewable Transformation Challenge will honor outstanding work that contributes to a world powered by renewable energy and with accessible energy for all. The first place winner will be awarded €20,000.

The Renewable Transformation Challenge is open to individuals and organizations in both not-for-profit and commercial sectors worldwide. Applications may present ongoing projects, product ideas, innovative technologies, policy initiatives, programs, research, analyses, or complete solutions targeting either the supply side (energy generation for end-use energy consumption) or demand side (energy efficiency), or both. Innovative ideas will be given preference over incremental improvement projects.

The winning proposal will be the one that best demonstrates the transformation to a world powered by renewable energy and that has potential to widen access to energy, particularly in developing countries.

Submissions will be assessed in terms of applicability, impact, sustainability and scalability. A panel of international scientific experts will review the applications, and the top five will be put forward to an Elsevier-ISES Awards Committee who will make the final decision.

On top of a monetary prize of €20,000, the winner, or one representative of the winning team, will receive a free registration to the Solar World Congress 2017 in Abu Dhabi where the Award will be presented, and one Gold membership to the ISES. The winning proposal will also feature on the Solar Energy journal homepage and on the ISES website.

Smart Villages Photography Competition, Deadline April 30, 2017Smart Villages Photography Competition 2017

Smart Villages, an initiative that explores the challenges and opportunities for access to decentralized energy acting as a catalyst for rural development, is holding a global photography competition that focuses on how energy access changes the life of rural communities around the world, and the concept of “Smartness”, i.e., not just provision of off-grid energy to villages, but how that energy is being used in productive, innovative, and even entrepreneurial ways to achieve sustainable development outcomes for the individuals and communities concerned.


US$2000 for the overall winner

US$1000 for the runner up

Two US$500 prizes for each of the four categories

One prize, of US$1000, is reserved for a junior photographer (under 18 years of age).

The winning photographs will be featured by the Smart Villages Initiative in a number of ways, including international exhibitions (particularly at our forthcoming policy workshops), incorporation in Smart Villages publications, and for use on our website and social media. Find the application form and further details here.

2018 Rolex Awards for Enterprise, Deadline June 30, 2017

Applications for the 2018 Rolex Awards for Enterprise are now open. Five Rolex Awards will be offered to Young Leaders, between the ages of 18 and 30 years old, who have a ground-breaking proposal or initiative that will help to expand knowledge of our world and improve the quality of life on the planet.

Applications must be broadly in the areas of the environment, applied science and technology, or exploration. The five winners will each receive 100,000 Swiss francs, double the amount of prize money previously offered to young Award winners. They will also benefit from worldwide publicity and receive a Rolex chronometer.

In addition to demonstrating a spirit of enterprise and leadership, candidates must put forward projects or work plans that have a clear purpose, are original and have the potential for significant impact. For more details, visit the application page.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures Launched, Deadlines TBD

In December 2016, the $1 billion Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) fund was announced, with a focus on fighting climate change by investing in clean energy innovation. The fund is made up members of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, with leadership composed of entrepreneurial investors and scientists.

The fund is focused on providing seed, angel and Series A investments to early stage companies in order to get the most transformative ideas out of the lab and on the path to commercialization. The fund will make investment decisions based on four criteria: climate impact, potential to attract capital from outside sources, scientific possibility, and filling the gaps for companies that need BEV’s unique attributes, which include patience and flexible investment capabilities.

Further details on how to apply will be made available on the new BEV website.