The Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen – Call for applications: Virtual Competition on Energy


As a social entrepreneur, you have an exciting opportunity to accelerate energy access for people living in poverty with little or no access to electricity through a national grid. There are millions of people who live “off grid” and could be impacted by the product or service that you develop.

Imagine living without access to reliable electricity. Nthabi Mosia started an offgrid energy company in Sierra Leone after having experienced power outages as a child in South Africa.

“Most houses in South Africa don’t have a generator and most people can’t afford a backup system, so we lived by candlelight on some nights,” she recalled. “I remember I studied for some of my final exams by candlelight. However, I think South Africa is still really privileged in contrast to the rest of Africa. I was fortunate enough to only have to study by candlelight a few times in a night or a week or a month.

Some people have to study their whole lives while inhaling toxic kerosene fumes.” When Nthabi first visited a house in Sierra Leone that was using kerosene as a primary fuel, the impact was shocking. “I could barely stand it for five minutes,” she said.

Phase 1 — All Participants: Register for Lean Startup and Submit Your Idea
Register for the Lean Startup online course before October 15, 2019
Complete the course and submit your social venture idea before November 26, 2019
Top teams will be invited to join the Student Social Enterprise Accelerator

Phase 2 — Finalists: Student Social Enterprise Accelerator
Our online Student Social Enterprise Accelerator will begin on January 27, 2020
Develop your idea with one-on-one coaching, peer mentoring, and case studies
Pitch your social venture to a panel of judges before March 13, 2020

Phase 3 — Winners: Receive Funding and Join the Community of Social Innovators
Winning teams will receive up to $20,000 from a funding pool of $100,000
Winners will also be invited to join Acumen’s Community of Social Innovators to receive ongoing support from a network of Acumen Fellows, social entrepreneurs, and change-makers

Who is eligible to participate in the Virtual Challenge?

Anyone can participate in the Virtual Challenge (and compete for $20,000 in funding per team!), so long as you meet the following eligibility and participation requirements:

Form a team of two people or more. At least one team member must be actively enrolled at a higher education institution.**

Complete 4 of the 5 assignments in the Lean Startup course (including the final assignment) and submit an application for the Accelerator program. At least two team members must complete the Lean Startup course.
Interview for and be selected to participate in the Student Social Enterprise Accelerator program.

Participate in at least 7 of the 8 Accelerator Learning Labs and submit all assignments, including a final pitch deck. The pitch deck must include a budget for the prize funding and a three-month work plan including key milestones and dates.

**Enrollment at a higher education institution is defined as taking one or more courses that earn credit towards an academic degree.

Source:  The Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen



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