Building energy businesses: Knowledge sharing workshop with business incubators and entrepreneurs from Asia and Africa

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Building energy businesses: Knowledge sharing workshop with business incubators and entrepreneurs from Asia and Africa

-Joint Press Release –

Rapid developmentis essential to alleviate the gap in basic energy servicesas approximately1.3 billion peopleare without access to electricity today, a majority living in Asia and Africa. While governments set the policy frameworks, the investment momentum to extend modern energy needs to come from the private sector. Enterprise development is therefore essential, and requires strong collaborative support from business incubators, financial institutions, regional renewable energy associations and others. Countries like India, that have already nurtured successful renewable energy enterprises, can show the way to others.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) held a week-long knowledge sharing workshop for energy business incubators and entrepreneurs from Asia and Africain Bangalore, India from 22 to 27 September 2014. The UK Department for International Development (DFID), through its Knowledge Partnership Programme, also supported the initiative to transfer India’s knowledge to other regions in Asia and Africa. The programme was anchored by two of India’s premier business incubators for renewable energy and energy access – the Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and the SELCO Incubation Centre.

The interactive workshop brought together participants from 11 business incubators, 2 renewable energy associations and 10 energy enterprises from Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal, Tanzania and Uganda.“The energy needs and opportunities in regions of Africa and Asia are high, and one of IRENA’s commitments is to increase energy access in line withSE4ALLcommitments,” said Gauri Singh, Director of Country Support and Partnerships at IRENA, referring to the United Nations-led Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative. “Through targeted assistance, we hope to facilitate knowledge sharing and interaction between business incubators, renewable energy associations, and entrepreneurs, with a view to accelerating the deployment of renewable energy.”

As one of India’s leading business incubators, CIIE has been actively sourcing and supporting entrepreneurs through its various “open innovation” programs. “In addition to creating impact, there is a need for energy access entrepreneurs to plan for scale, so as to get their innovations accessible to more customers and markets. Business incubators can help them achieve that through mentoring, customer validation and access to seed capital. It gives us immense pleasure to share these experiences with other like-minded organizations from Africa and Asia,” said Kunal Upadhyay, Chief Executiveof CIIE and Infuse Ventures, a cleantech venture fund managed by CIIE

“India’s diverse context compels differing approaches to tackle various challenges and thus offers the world an opportunity to adapt or replicate similar tools to build the ecosystem across similar contexts,” added SELCO’s founder, Harish Hande. “Incubators play a vital intermediary role and have much to learn from each other to further help create sustainable energy enterprises targeted at the poor.The SELCO Incubation Centre’s philosophy is to inspire and strengthen small and medium entrepreneurs’ capacity to deliver sustainable energy solutions suited to local needs.”

The business incubators are exploring a partnership to further their knowledge sharing on renewable energy and energy access, as well as to assist entrepreneurs with “shadowing” each other’s businesses. Considerable support will be needed from national governments and international partners to further entrepreneurial development, especially for people in areas now lacking energy access.

Business incubators and entrepreneurs from Africa and Asia, as well as international partners gathered to explore partnerships in enterprise developmentand knowledge transfer opportunities

Here is the executive summary for: Building energy businesses: knowledge sharing workshops with business incubators and entrepreneurs from Asia & Africa


About the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is mandated as the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange by 135 Members.IRENA supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. The Agency promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity. For more information, visit

About the Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE)

The Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad(IIMA) is one of India’s leading technology business incubators and has supported 100 new companies/projects over the last few years. Set up with an aim to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in India, CIIE taps into the experience and expertise available at IIMA in the areas of management, innovation, technology networks and entrepreneurship. CIIE has also set up and managesInfuse Ventures – an early stage venture capital fund with a mandate to develop, promote and invest in early stage cleantech andsustainable energy ventures from India. The Infuse ecosystem was created through a unique public-private-academia collaboration between IIMA, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (Govt. of India), Technology Development Board (Govt. of India), British Petroleum India and the International Financial Corporation, among others. For more information visit www.ciieindia.organd


SELCO Solar Pvt. Ltd. is a social enterprise established in 1995 that provides sustainable energy solutions and services to under-served households and businesses. Since 1995, SELCO has sold, serviced and financed over 200,000 solar systems. The SELCO Incubation Centre was set up as a separate entity in August 2012, with support from the Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund (S3IDF). The Centre leverages SELCO’s shared resources, management expertise, intellectual capital, and combined 25 years of on-the-ground learning to expand access to vital energy services. For more information, visit and

Source: Press Release (link opens in a new window)