How entrepreneurs win climate cash for business expansion

Contests abound offering millions of shillings for solutions to climate change in communities

In Summary

• Kenya has a long track record of its entrepreneurs entering and winning contests

A meeting in progress
A meeting in progress

We are getting to that time of the year when global climate change events will be held. What does it mean for the average man or woman in the streets and village paths of Kenya?

Did you know there are opportunities for Kenyans to participate in competitions where winners get millions of shillings to help their communities adapt to climate change? As can be expected, such competitions attract lots of participants, and only the best ideas get rewarded.

Ever quick to spot opportunities, Kenyans have not been left behind in their quest for the lucrative prizes. In November 2022, University of Nairobi student Victor Orindi won 15,000 Euros (Sh2.3 million) during the United Nations Climate Conference held in Egypt. Orindi was awarded for his work that supports communities in getting access to climate finance from various sources.

At the same conference, 20 young entrepreneurs from across Africa each received $100,000 (Sh14.7 million) from the 2022-23 African Youth Adaptation Solutions Challenge. The winners, who were selected from 3,000 entries, run businesses that create jobs while solving problems created by unpredictable weather.

Still in 2022, two Kenyan companies were shortlisted for the Earthshot Prize, which was established by Prince William, the Prince of Wales. The two, Mukuru Clean Cook Stoves and Roam, stood to win Sh150 million in the 'Clean Our Air' category.

In September 2023, Kenyan company Usafi Green was among the African finalists for the Ashden Awards, an annual programme that offers publicity, grants and development support for climate solutions. Usafi Green makes and supplies energy-efficient cookstoves at Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana county. The winners of the Ashden Awards could get as much as 25,000 British Pounds (Sh2.6 million) in cash grants.

Back in 2021, Kenyan climate policy expert Mohamed Adow was one of two awardees of the Climate Breakthrough Award. That award consists of $3 million (Sh400 million) in grants and other support to each of the winners. The cash is paid out over three years.

This year's global climate change summit will be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12. It remains to be seen whether Kenyans will once again be among the winners of lucrative awards in the green economy.

“Winning prestigious awards can bring numerous benefits. Not only does it offer recognition and credibility, but award-winning businesses and individuals have also witnessed an increase in operating income and sales growth compared to non-winners,” Adrian Jankowiak, a Nairobi-based creative director, explains.

“The bottom line is clear; there are viable opportunities available for the youth and experienced businesses to apply their innovative ideas. Participating in competitions can yield substantial benefits and open doors to new horizons. Remember, you can't win if you don't enter" Adrian says.

The money from those awards can be of tremendous value if well utilised. The cash is much-needed capital for entrepreneurs to redefine their products, expand their production and reach new customers. The money is better off getting invested back into the business instead of going into lavish living.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star