Best Ideas 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solution or proposition for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category, click HERE
EnergyConnekt Inc: Proposed Off-Grid Renewable Energy Hubs for Remote Rural Communities
Explain your idea in details:
The idea is to implement modular off-grid rural energy hubs for basic energy provision to remote and marginalized communities which are not connected and very far from the central grid. The hubs will primarily utilize two forms of renewable energy sources i.e. solar and biomass which come abundant in the Sub-Saharan region. These energy hubs will be strategically located at growth points or institutions like schools, clinics, business centers etc. Stakeholder assessments will be made first to assess current and forecast future energy demand as well as the willingness to pay for renewable energy services. A hybridized business model will be adopted to suit local community requirements, meet government regulations and also meet private investor expectations by achieving financial viability and a good return on investment (ROI) in the short to medium term. Our services will incorporate retailing of electrical gadgets which may incur an increase in demand due to use of electrical services. The use of latest technology for each relevant energy source will be pivotal for the success of these systems. Smart grids and smart meters will be utilized to ensure that electricity usage is monitored in real time. Also considering the massive proliferation of mobile telecommunications usage and associated services, it would be best to make use of mobile money payment platforms which are fairly understood even by the people living in the remotest rural areas.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
The project is expected to revitalize the lives of marginalized rural communities by improving the standard of living and alleviating extreme poverty. It will also have a positive ripple effect by inducing income generating activities which can stir up their economic status and also create employment for themselves. School going children are also set to benefit from long study hours into the night as well as having the ability to access digital technologies which can assist in bridging the digital divide that currently exists in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Successful implementation of the idea requires customers to embrace and understand sustainability and the whole idea behind it. The customers can be educated on principles such as the circular economy so that they start to understand how to extract maximum value from their natural resources and subsequently recover any waste from these resources to further utilize it in a sustainable way. Another important thing is for the customers to start creating and adding value to their agricultural products by processing them. In a nutshell energy access will foster inclusive growth within these areas and open more markets
Plans for implementation and sustainability
An inclusive business model, which incorporates rural residents who are the end-user customers, will be the most viable to ensure successful implementation of this initiative. Pilot studies must be done to establish the willingness to pay for as well as the extent of demand for basic energy services. Since this is a high risk capital investment, a combination of financing instruments shall be utilized. Grants will be primarily used as one of the major sources of financing the development of pilot projects and when sufficient evidence is found that the model is sustainable, then more financing instruments may be applied for such as equity, loans, mezzanine debt etc. The implementation will involve collaboration from several parties including rural end-user customers, donor agencies, Government, community leaders, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, mobile network operators, financiers, advisers i.e. legal and technical and many other interested parties who will contribute or benefit from such a development.
I am an ambitious young man who grew up with a big vision and has always been enthused by the world of science and technology. Against this backdrop, I began to develop an aptitude for science and mathematics in school and began to appreciate how science and technology has revolutionized the world we live in. Brilliant minds such as Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, Nicola Tesla, Michael Faraday together with current influential business person like Aliko Dangote, Strive Masiyiwa, Patrice Motsepe, Richard Branson, Elon Musk just to mention a few, are some of the individuals who have had a positive influence in my business ideas. Now I am 27, I recently incorporated the company which will rally behind this idea. I am also qualified as a Quantity Surveyor and by virtue of both passion and profession I have vested my interests in the energy sector, rail and transport industry, infrastructure development.