Frankfurt (Germany) and Abuja (Nigeria), April 2021. GreenTec Capital is happy to report that Powerstove, was selected as a 2021 Finalist for the Finance Geneva Summit Growth Stage Impact Ventures Initiative. The UNDP’s Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) for SDGs aims to identify and showcase mature impact ventures in emerging countries with a ‘catalytic potential’ that can drive both large impact and yield.
Powerstove won a spot in the Access to Affordable Clean Energy category. Powerstove’s affordable clean cookstove system consumes clean-burning biofuels. The innovative stove systems additionally are capable of generating electricity to power household appliances and device charging for the millions of Africans that live rurally and off the grid.
Powerstove joined an impactful interantional cohort of 12 finalists, 7 of which have over 50 % of women in C-suite positions, and all but one employ between 11 and 100 people (25% have more than 100 employees).
The GSIV selection process was organized by the UNDP, EPFL Tech4AImpact, Orange and SAP. The 2020 Call for Nominations only accepted impact ventures that had raised at least USD 500 K, and are already providing products and services for low-income people that reduce inequalities (with a particular focus on gender) through better access to quality health, affordable and clean energy, and by reducing and recovering waste. Only ventures nominated by third parties and with headquarters, primary workforce, and service provision or product market in developing countries were eligible for selection.
According to Okey Esse, Founder and CEO of Powerstove, he focused first on presenting the very significant challenge faced by many Nigerians. “Approximately 83 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty and suffer from acute food insecurity, and typically have little choice but to spend approximately 25% of their income on fuels (charcoal, firewood, candles, kerosene) for cooking and lighting. It’s estimated that approximately 100,000 Nigerians, mostly women and children, die every year from illnesses attributed to household air pollution.”
With the challenge clear, Mr. Esse offered the Powerstove solution to the GSIV panel. He presented his smokeless cookstove that runs on recycled woodchips, uses 70% less fuel and cooks 5 times faster, and simultaneously generates electricity.
The Powerstove story is a proven success. With 2018 revenues of US$8,800 growing to US$430,000 in 2020 and already selling over 5,000 systems. The company estimates its impact for CO2 reduction at 85 kilotons; US$700,000+ in fuel savings for users; and 200,000+ trees saved.
“The technology impacts positively women and girls who traditionally are in charge of cooking and collecting firewood,” said Mr. Esse who added that Powerstove leverages female vendors “…to achieve grassroot product acceptability.” and “added “Women represent at least 50% of the company’s workforce.”
Mr. Esse said that Powerstove plans to use any future awards to further support scaling activities focusing on operations and production processes.
The final GSIV Virtual Pitch Event will be held June 3rd, 2021 starting at 2:00pm CEST. The most innovative solution presented at this event will have the opportunity to pitch their solutions to impact investors at two upcoming GSIV events in June and November of this year. “The 2019 GSIV alumni increased their annual revenues by 39% between in 2020, despite the Covid-19 crisis. 50 % of them raised at least one equity round in 2020, up to $5 million.” said Sarah Bel, UNDP SDG Finance Geneva Summit manager.