AECF Innovation Fund Round 2

To surface & commercalise high impact energy innovations in Sub-Saharan Africa

About the Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund is a component of the AECF’s Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies Sub-Saharan Africa Program (REACT SSA) a US$61 million project funded by the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA).

The program seeks to reduce poverty through a transformational increase in the use of renewable energy by off-grid households in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on innovations originating out of Western and Southern Africa.

Through the Innovation Fund, AECF aims to support businesses and entrepreneurs to validate market fit and potential of innovations in technological products, software, business models and distribution models that contribute to increasing access to clean cooking solutions and productive use energy for people living in rural areas and particularly for the poor.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The applicant needs to have a minimum viable product/service (i.e. a product/service that has already gone through a prototyping phase).
  • The applicant must have undertaken market research demonstrating the need for the innovation in the selected geography.
  • It is desirable for the applicant to demonstrate sales and/or a tangible demand of the proposed innovation.
  • Please note, our investments are not intended to support any technology/innovation development.
  • Must be a resident and operating business from one of the Focus Regions: Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Sierra Leone.

Only private companies with a direct interest in commercialising the innovation being tested can be eligible lead applicants, however applicants are free to partner with non-private sector players for the implementation of their projects. The innovation fund seeks to support targeted, output-based activities that can be completed within 24 months.

Funding And Co-Financing

Between US$100,000-US$200,000 per company and up to $300,000 for exceptional innovations.

The co-financing requirement is a minimum of 30% of the project cost (the innovation fund will only cover up to 70% of the total project cost). In-kind contributions are acceptable.

We are looking to invest between US$100,000 – US$300,000 and support business growth for impactful innovations across clean cooking and productive use of energy technology sectors. Our application is on a rolling basis and is expected to close on the 26th of November 2021, with contracting to commence in December 2021.


November 26, 2021
Program dates Jan 3, 2022 - Dec 4, 2023
Organizer AECF
Website Visit website
Targets Sub-Saharan Africa
Sectors Clean technology and energy
SDG (6)
1. No Poverty, 10. Reduced Inequality, 13. Climate Action, 17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal, 7. Affordable and Clean Energy, 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure