Local solar startup receives cash grant from GSMA Innovation Fund

Zonful Energy, GSMA Innovation Hub

A local solar startup called Zonful Energy has received financial backing from the GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion.

Zonful Energy sells modular and scalable solar system on Pay As You Go plans. The solar startup operates in urban, peri-urban and rural off-grid communities. Zonful offers solar panels, batteries and miscellaneous solar devices like lights as well as radios and televisions.

It is because of its work in expanding the reach of electricity that Zonful Energy was one of nine startups selected by the GSMA Innovation Fund for a cash grant. Among those nine were 4 other African startups which are, Zambia’s WidEnergy, Nigeria’s ScholarX, Ethiopia’s Africa 118 and Uganda’s Ensibuuko.

The grants awarded to the startups range between US$137,000 to US$377,000.

“Today, we understand the value of being connected like never before. Mobile operators have invested almost US$1 trillion in network infrastructure over the past five years, bringing mobile internet coverage to 91 per cent of the world’s population. Despite this, 3.3 billion people are not using mobile internet services”

“Now is the time to find innovative ways to solve this usage gap for the digitally excluded – regardless of who they are or where they are. The Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion will drive partnerships to develop new and innovative ways of increasing use of the mobile internet so that more citizens can fully participate in society and the economy.”

 John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer at the GSMA. (via Disrupt Africa)

It has been a really good year so far for Zim startups, we have seen Afriblocks become the first Zimbabwean started to participate in US-based accelerator Techstars. We then saw Bryt Knowledge get backing from the JUA Fund and FarmHut pocketing US$100K from the Hult Prize Foundation.

This is really encouraging to see and we hope that 2021 continues like this for Zimbabwe’s burgeoning businesses.

Congratulations Zonful Energy!


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