Natalie Bitature, Riccardo Ridolfi
Ministry of ICT, Angel Investors
The 2014 Africa Energy Outlook showed that more than 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live without electricity, a figure that has not closed much in the years since its release. Focusing in on Uganda, according to the World Bank, only 1 in 5 households had access to the electric power grid in the same year. When comparing rural and urban homes, the situation is much direr with over 89% of rural households not reached by the grid compared to the still inaccessible 34% unconnected in urban areas. This means that those in the rural areas are locked out the commercial opportunities that come with electricity. EnerGrow is a technology company that uses training results and big data analysis to offer business financing services to rural customers as well as the necessary business and financial training programs. The startup is empowering capacity through increasing the consumption of energy for commercial use. They are building their business model to work hand in hand with, and benefit from, the expansion of the electricity grid to rural areas. Through partnerships with banks, their customers will gain access to the capital markets and as such cheaper loans, whilst banks gain hard-to-reach rural customers whilst assuming zero risks. Last year, they received funding from Uganda's Ministry of ICT as well as signed a pilot agreement with UMEME and confirmed MFI license from UMRA.