The Path Toward Commercialization: How Research Can Generate Business Opportunities in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Research universities and labs are important engines of innovation that play a vital role in global business development – and commercializing these innovations can deliver real-world impact. But according to Dana Gorodetsky and Sachin Nijhawan at the William Davidson Institute, there's a lack of expertise and resources related to the commercialization of research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). They explore the benefits of commercialization for researchers, institutions and entrepreneurs, and offer four key lessons for commercializing research in LMICs.
As an open forum for emerging markets business, NextBillion publishes around 150 original, guest-written articles per year, covering enterprises, innovations, challenges and opportunities across multiple sectors and geographies. Each December we select the 12 most-read articles of the past year to include in our "Most Influential Article of the Year" contest. We invite you to vote for the article that impacted you the most in 2021. You can vote up to one time per hour during the two-week voting period, which runs from Dec. 20 to Jan. 2.
- Agriculture, Coronavirus, Energy, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Impact Assessment, Investing, NextBillion Originals, Technology
Universal Energy Access is Within Reach — If the Sector Survives COVID-19: Here’s How Funders Can Help
Before COVID-19 struck, the energy access sector was booming, delivering renewable power to 470 million people, creating 370,000 jobs and avoiding 74 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade. But as Sarah Bieber at Acumen and Henry Gonzalez at Green Climate Fund point out, the pandemic has put that progress at risk, as dwindling investment, decreased customer income and dramatic price increases have created a crisis for energy access companies. They explore how funders can help get the sector back on track.
Solar appliance uptake is a key element of global energy access efforts. But according to Yasemin Erboy Ruff and Lauren Boucher at CLASP, no appliance is close to reaching market saturation, despite considerable gains in recent years. They share highlights from Efficiency for Access' 2021 Solar Appliance Technology Briefs, which characterize the market, trends and pathways to scale for 11 off-grid-appropriate solar appliances and enabling technologies, and explore what these findings mean for the solar appliance market and the customers it serves.
A Business Opportunity With Exponential Benefits: Linking Agriculture and Energy to Improve Livelihoods in Africa
Agriculture contributes around 23% of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, and energy access can help drive agricultural development. However, Scarlett Santana at RMI points out that the region has few businesses enabling productive energy uses in agriculture, and the lack of electricity for mechanization is limiting growth in rural communities. She explores the opportunities that exist for agribusinesses that link their investment and other business decisions to energy considerations – and for energy businesses that link their efforts to agriculture.
Bringing Cooking Poverty off the SDG Sidelines: A New Study Takes a Fresh Look at the Clean Cooking Challenge
Dirty cooking negatively affects almost four billion people and kills over 4 million each year – more than tuberculosis, malaria and HIV-AIDS combined. As Phil LaRocco at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs argues, the issue is one of the largest unsolved public health and equality crises humanity has ever faced – and failing to address it will put the Sustainable Development Goals out of reach. He explores why previous and ongoing clean cooking efforts have failed, and outlines some potential solutions that could finally turn things around, based on a recent study out of Columbia University.
Optimizing Results-Based Financing for Off-Grid Energy: Why Localization Can Provide a Pathway to More Effective Investment
Leading investors across the energy access sector have embraced results-based financing (RBF) as a key mechanism to unlock private capital for small-scale solar and mini-grid businesses, and to advance the world toward universal electrification. But according to Audrey Desiderato at SunFunder and Martijn Veen at SNV, the remote design and management of RBF programs increases the risk that these funds will exclude local actors and innovation. They share findings from a recent white paper exploring the need for more localization in results-based financing for off-grid energy.
Curbing Deforestation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Why Woodfuel Alternatives Are a Key Sustainable Solution
Deforestation is rampant in sub-Saharan Africa – the only region where the pace of forest loss has increased in each of the last three decades. According to Ian Otula and Aaron Pattillo of Vuma Biofuels and Wassa N’Gandjo Cisse of the BESTSELLER Foundation, the root cause of this crisis is the fact that woodfuels provide over 80% of the region's energy, and there's an alarming imbalance between supply and demand. They explore how woodfuel substitutes can offer a solution to this issue – and how Vuma Biofuels is leveraging these sustainable fuel sources to address a key driver of deforestation in Kenya: the tea industry.