Weekly Review April 7-13

Last week we looked at the support system for mobile tech innovation; this week, several headlines caught our attention regarding the developing ecosystem of support for clean tech entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

New support centre backs Kenyan cleantech” on Forum for the Future
The World Bank announced plans to fund a number of Climate Innovation Centres (CICs), with one of the first set to open in Nairobi. The CICs will be part of a global network designed to provide financial, technical, and marketing assistance for businesses looking to scale. We’re looking forward to seeing what clean tech and alternative energy innovations come out of the CICs that have the potential to meet the country’s increasing energy demand.

Solar Venture Lights Up Indian Village with an SMS” on Bloomberg News
Bloomberg’s Natalie Obiko Pearson reports from Simpa’s site in Halliberu in southern India. During interviews, customers praise the impact of the pay-as-you model that makes safe electricity affordable and accessible. Watch the video here.

Discussion round-up: how can business enable energy access for all?” by Jenny Purt on The Guardian   
Recent discussion on The Guardian forums seeks solutions for sustainable, scalable energy solution. Purt points outs that such a solution will be implemented by a social enterprise with triple bottom line returns. Despite the many challenges to overcome (political, logistical, and financial), functional and scalable models exist. Discussion participants credited our portfolio company Simpa Networks as a best practice example.

Rural Africa Looks Beyond the Grid” by Piers Evans on Renewable Energy World
With 585 million Africans without access to electricity, improving access to renewable energy seems logical. There’s little infrastructure to replace, allowing nations to skip the unsustainable methods and install renewables first (similar to the way Africans broadly adopted mobile phones instead of landlines). Skeptics cite the expense as a major barrier, but the financing ecosystem is growing, African economies are expanding, and the benefits are ultimately worth the cost.

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