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Solar-powered coldstore wins $50k prize

KENYA: A company producing solar-powered cold storage units for smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa has received a $50,000 funding prize in a global startup competition.

Local company SolarFreeze was recognised as the best energy access startup in the continent at this week’s RES-EXPO conference in Nairobi.

The award was made by the power company Enel Group, through its new division Enel X, and Swiss-based Seedstars World, a global startup competition, discovering and connecting the most promising seed-stage startups of the emerging world.

The SolarFreeze solar-powered cold storage unit systems provide refrigeration services to smallholder farmers and traders with no need for grid connection. Following the award, SolarFreeze will enter a three-month programme worth approximately $50,000 in acceleration services and cash funded by Seedstars.

“We are glad to support a company promoting development in rural villages through innovative electrification solutions,” said Riccardo Amoroso, head of innovation and product lab at Enel X. “During the selection process for the Africa Energy Prize, we have identified a number of startups bringing unique energy projects to the Continent. These new business models, which couple socio-economic growth with the development of commercial and productive activities, are truly key to making Africa’s future greener and more sustainable.”

“Almost 600 million people are lacking access to electricity in Africa. Solving energy issues through entrepreneurship and technology is therefore a critical agenda point at Seedstars where we aim to find real solutions to real problems,” said Alisee de Tonnac, CEO at Seedstars.

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