In its first competition in the field of electromobility, the Siemens Stiftung has awarded prizes of between €10,000 and €50,000 to five African social enterprises. The money will be used to help the winners establish their products and services on the market.
The competition with the slogan "Electric Mobility - Made in Africa for Africa" was announced by the Siemens Stiftung at the beginning of March 2021. According to an accompanying press release, more than 100 applications were received from 19 African countries. According to the initiators, the five winners are characterized by "innovative solutions as well as sustainable and inclusive business models". The winners are MicroMek from Malawi, BEAM from Burkina Faso, Solar Taxi from Ghana, Greenfoot Africa from Tanzania and ThinkBikes from Nigeria.
Here's a brief description of the companies: MicroMek makes 3D printed drones from local recycled materials, which are used in rural and hard-to-reach areas to transport essential medicines for women and children. BEAM focuses on a mobile solar-powered platform that helps people in rural communities do agricultural work such as ploughing, pumping or carrying loads, helping to increase yields and incomes. Solar Taxi's core business, meanwhile, is electric-powered small vehicles (from electric motorbikes to mini-cars) for courier and taxi services. The batteries needed are produced locally. Solar Taxi also focuses on reuse and sustainable recycling. Notably, the company's engineering team is made up of women.
Meanwhile, Greenfoot Africa's business idea is a marketplace app for perishable food - a solution that enables local traders to deliver their goods efficiently and cost-effectively directly to customers using e-motorbikes. That leaves ThinkBikes: The company focuses on locally produced and innovative electric bicycles as well as a rental system for school institutions and universities in order to introduce the topic of electromobility to the younger generation in particular.