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UNCDF launches Renewable Energy Challenge Fund- clean cooking window

Thursday, 30 March 2017

By Hee Sung Kim, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)

On 21st March, the Embassy of Sweden in Uganda and United Nations Capital Development Fund launched the Renewable Energy Challenge Fund (RECF) - Clean Cooking Window.

This funding window challenges companies to put forth ideas that can lead to a step - change in the adoption of clean cooking solutions in Uganda, and have a positive impact on women and youth employment.

The goal of RECF is to increase access to renewable, efficient energy for domestic, productive and social uses among underserved poor households, especially in rural areas. By end of 2020, RECF aims to support 150,000 low-income customers transition to renewable energy. The RECF is managed by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Uganda.

The RECF is seeking ideas that can lead to a step-change in the adoption of clean cooking solutions in Uganda and have the potential to transform the market.

• Is your company active in the clean cooking sector in Uganda?
• Is your company currently working on an innovative business idea that can hit the ground running in September 2017, and start generating new sales by Q1 2018?
• Is your company willing to invest its own money to make this idea happen but is in
need of a co-investor to reduce its risk exposure?

If so, then UNCF is interested in hearing more about your idea.

Target market: Uganda – with a focus on under-served, low-income customers, especially in rural areas.

Clean cooking solutions: The RECF is technology neutral in that it will not favour any particular clean cooking technology above another. Acceptable solutions include:

• Improved cook stoves (e.g. charcoal or wood stoves);
• Fuels (e.g. briquettes, biomass pellets, LPG, biogas, ethanol);
• Solutions for households, businesses, as well as institutional applications;
• Or a combination of the above.

Type of funding: Cost-sharing grant, paid upon achievement of milestones.

Grant size:
1. Small Grants: US$50,000-US$75,000 over a period of up to 2 years (2017-2019)
2. Large Grants: Up to US$150,000 over a period of up to 3 years (2017-2020)
3. Top-up grant: Once the initial funding agreement has come to an end, UNCDF may provide top-up grants of US$25,000 to US$50,000.

Type of entities that are eligible to apply:

• The RECF targets exclusively for-profit private companies, including social enterprises, or consortia led by eligible private companies;
• Other types of entities (e.g. NGOs, CBOs, etc.) can apply as part of a consortium led by an eligible private company (the Lead Applicant);
• For-profit arms of non-for-profit organisations can also apply.

Number of proposals: Applicants can submit more than one EOI – One proposal per EOI form – but these must be for distinct business ideas.

The deadline for responding to the Call for Expression of Interest is 17 April (Monday) 2017 17:00 East Africa Time. If you have any queries or require assistance, please e- UNCDF will accept inquiries related to the EOI until April 7th.

For more information visit