Innovation Competition - Decentralised Energy Solutions in Ethiopia

Application are now closed

Ethiopia has abundant renewable energy resources and has the potential to generate over 60,000 megawatts (MW) of electric power from hydro, wind, solar and geothermal sources. As a result of Ethiopia’s rapid economic and population growth over the past years, demand for electricity has been steadily increasing. Despite Ethiopia’s vast energy potential and economic growth, more than 50% of the Ethiopian people still lack access to electricity, most of them living in rural areas. Several state-led initiatives have been launched to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 in Ethiopia, such as the National Electrification Plan (NEP 2.0) aiming at universal electricity access by the year 2025, of which 35% will be achieved with off-grid solutions.

Six million rural households without grid connectivity shall be provided access with off-grid electricity systems. Clean energy solutions provide reliable, cost-effective and sustainable energy for essential services, including healthcare, water and food supply and can help overcome challenges imposed by the current COVID-19 crisis. To support this effort, the German-Ethiopian Energy Cooperation Programme is seeking innovative business ideas by Ethiopian students, researchers and entrepreneurs.


Are you
  • …an Ethiopian entrepreneur, start-up, student, or researcher?  
  • …working on innovative decentralised energy solutions in Ethiopia?
  • …planning to develop your idea into a viable business?
innovation competition on decentralised clean energy in rural Ethiopia!

GIZ Training of Technicians

Who can apply?

The Innovation Competition invites early-stage business proposals - from ideation to start-up phase. The lead applicants must be Ethiopian nationals working on an idea/solution that is based or will be implemented in Ethiopia. Applicants can partner with individuals or companies from Germany or the European Union.  Only proposals with a clear relevance for the country’s energy challenge and achieving the National Electrification Plan (NEP 2.0) by 2025 will be considered. Submissions that propose measures responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and submissions by female innovators are especially encouraged! And please read carefully the conditions of participation before applying.

What kind of ideas are we looking for?

We are looking for business ideas for decentralised electrification approaches that demonstrate unique innovation in terms of feasibility and adaptation, scalability, replicability, affordability and sustainability, in Ethiopia. This may include - but is not limited to - technology innovations, new business and financing models, strategies for community engagement, digitalisation, data and energy management.

What are the prizes?


  • All finalists will receive a digital award and certificate
  • Top three winners and best pitch will receive a monetary prize

Business development support

  • Mentoring on business plan development
  • Facilitation of seed funding and project scale up through the German-Ethiopian Energy Cooperation

Training and Coaching

  • Training on entrepreneurship for all finalists
  • Presentation & pitch coaching for all finalists

International network and exposure

  • Linkages with senior experts in Ethiopia and Germany
  • Participation at international energy conferences

What is the application process?

All applicants must submit their business idea via the competition’s application form (see link below) The competition’s jury – leading experts from Germany and Ethiopia - will assess the submitted proposals based on the following criteria:

  • Environment & climate change
  • Innovation
  • Economic viability
  • Gender & social impact

Ten applicants will be invited to present their business idea during a pitch competition at a live event, where the winners will be selected.




Applicaion are now closed!

Meet the finalists

Should you have any questions please contact us at  energy-cooperation-et(at)





Dr. Atsede Gualu Endegnanew

Chairperson EWiEn

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Nabil Ishak

Vice Chair ESEDA

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Markos Lemma

ICE Addis Ababa

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Noara Kebir

Microenergy International and TU Berlin

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Prof. Eicke R. Weber

Former Director of the Frauenhofer ISE

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Dr. Simone Peter


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Conditions of Participation

Innovation Competition Download PDF