Black Star Energy, winner of the EDF Pulse Africa 2018 awards [fr]
Producing sustainable, reliable and affordable energy: that is the ambition of Black Star Energy Ghana and shared by EDF, which very early on made a commitment to support African startups wishing to develop the energy sector on the continent.
In competition with 9 other African finalists, Black Star Energy won the second EDF Pulse Africa 2018 awards. The 10 finalists were invited to Paris in November 2018 to participate in a three-day coaching session to enhance their ability to pitch their innovations.
They were selected by EDF from a panel of 432 start-ups from 24 African countries.
"This second edition is a great success. Having attracted four times more registrations than last year, EDF Pulse Africa has boosted the momentum of African start-ups and their interest in EDF’s support. EDF is committed to supporting African start-ups willing to grow the continent’s energy sector," explained Olivier CLÉMENT, EDF Country representative in Ghana.
What is Black Star Energy Ghana?
Black Star Energy is a supplier of mini solar energy networks. In concrete terms, this means:building solar installations in rural communities to provide electricity to populations that previously did not benefit from it. The system is mainly deployed in rural communities in Ghana, so that villages of 150 people now have access to electricity. The CEO, Nicole Pointdexter, is an American and has been working in Ghana for a little over 3 years. She explained Black Star Energy’s strategy, which is based on three essential pillars: reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity.
Reliable electricity, which runs about all day long.
A scalable system : community residents can use energy in their own way, whether for lighting, charging a phone, or powering freezers.
Affordable electricity: 90% of Black Star Energy’s customers pay less than if they were connected to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) grid.
In short, Black Star Energy’s customers really appreciate the service. Nicole Pointdexter likes to tell the story of a woman who has seen her sales increase tenfold since Black Star Energy arrived in her village. This is the story she told in Paris during the EDF training, based on the fact that Black Star Energy made possible what was not possible until then.
This is mainly the reason why they were selected by EDF and reached the final of the EDF Pulse Africa Prize.
The EDF Pulse Africa Award aims to propel and support African innovators who participate in the continent’s energy and economic development. It recognises three winners in three different categories: off-grid power generation, electrical services and access to water through electricity. Black Star Energy won the second prize in the category "off-grid power generation".
For Nicole Pointdexter who was in Paris for the coaching session, it was a great experience, where she was able to meet and exchange with other African entrepreneurs (from Kenya, Cameroon, Mali or Morocco):all of which share the goal to bring sustainable energy solutions to a booming continent. It is also an opportunity for them to meet local investors and benefit from the media coverage provided by EDF. This is not only a prize, recalls Olivier Clément (EDF representative in Ghana), buta real assistance to young start-ups, with support throughout their development.
"Are you a start-up and that would like to be supported by EDF? Participate in EDF Pulse Africa 2019! It’s easy, free, and the application is available in both English and French. Don’t hesitate for one more minute!"