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USAID offering $4m for solar startups in Africa

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a US$4 million funding initiative aimed at supporting innovative solar companies across sub-Saharan Africa.

Image by 123RF
Image by 123RF
Disrupt Africa reported in November USAID made eight investments – as part of the “Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development” programme – into companies disrupting household solar power worldwide, with two recipients based in Africa.

A further funding opportunity has now been announced, with US$4 million to be made available to startups developing innovative technology solutions and business models across the household solar value chain in sub-Saharan Africa.

However, USAID will only be making investments based on a fund-matching model. Funding will go to early growth stage companies which can show a 2:1 private investor match; meaning that startups must be able to show a private investor is willing to commit twice the amount – on either an equity or debt basis – being requested from USAID.

The organisation said it expects funding granted to range between US$500,000 and US$1.5 million per company.

To be considered, applicants must be early growth stage companies active in one or more African markets; and should be developing and scaling innovative solutions that will have broad reach across the sub-Saharan household solar market with the potential for high market impact.

Concept papers will be accepted on a rolling basis until April 30.  Those interested are encouraged to contact the Scaling Off-Grid Energy team  describing their solution and listing interested investors, prior to submitting a concept paper.


Disrupt Africa is a one-stop-shop for all news, information and commentary pertaining to the continent’s tech startup – and investment – ecosystem. With journalists roaming the continent to find, meet, and interview the most innovative and disruptive tech startups, Disrupt Africa is a true showcase of Africa’s most promising businesses and business ideas.

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