BrandArena: Two African companies amongst the 2nd Round recipients MECS Innovation Grant Fund

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Two African companies amongst the 2nd Round recipients MECS Innovation Grant Fund

Yesterday, the GSM Association has made public the 2nd Round recipients Mobile Enabled Community Services (MECS) Innovation Grant Fund. In this 2nd Round, Schneider Electric is proud to announce that two companies of its Schneider Electric Energy Access (SEEA) Fund portfolio were awarded: Fenix International and Nova Lumos.

As part of its efforts to foster access to reliable, affordable and clean energy with its BipBop programme, Schneider Electric launched an impact-investment fund dedicated to support companies developing technologies and/ or distribution channels in that field. Since its creation in 2009, the fund has invested in eleven companies in Africa, India and France.

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, gathering nearly 800 operators in more than 220 countries. Mobile Enabled Community Services (MECS) encompasses any energy and water service provided to a community which includes a mobile component. The MECS programme aims at leveraging mobile technology & infrastructure to improve access to affordable and reliable energy and clean water in underserved communities.
In 2013, the MECS Innovation Grant Fund has been launched with the support of the UK Government to award £2.4M in grants to organisations trialling and developing innovations in this same aim.

Fenix International, in partnership with MTN Uganda, will scale their newly developed pay-as-you-go technology for the “ReadyPay Power System” to enable solar-powered lighting and phone charging. This market validation grant will test the introduction of ReadyPay home and business products through joint marketing and distribution with MTN.

Nova Lumos will partner with MTN Nigeria and Cellcom Guinee to launch a new pay-as-you-go solar home system via mobile operator’s airtime. In this seed grant, large and modular solar home systems are targeted to home and small business users. Lessons will be generated about customer demand and pricing in these markets and benefits to mobile operators associated with a more significant role.

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