Open Call for African business Start-ups in energy, agriculture, and mobility sector

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 02 December 2020:

The search is on for Sub-Saharan African start-ups with tech solutions aimed at impacting positively lower income communities through those industries.

Seedstars and Shell Foundation have joined forces to look for sustainable, scalable and innovative start-ups addressing universal access to energy-related challenges, as well as sustainable agriculture, mobility and transportation.

With support from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), they are launching the Energy, Mobility and Agriculture Innovation Program to find African tech entrepreneurs in the mobility, transportation, energy, and agriculture space in order to provide them with the resources, training, and potential funding to scale their start-ups and impact. Interested applicants can sign up here before Dec 20th:

The objective of this program is to support, catalyse and train the highest potential tech-based early stage (seed) African-led start-ups working towards:

  • universal access to energy (household energy to heat, light and cook; energy for business and large communities);
  • sustainable mobility and transportation (clean and safe transportation in rural areas and last mile transportation);
  • or sustainable agriculture value chains (innovations that improve access to knowledge, finance, markets or knowledge for smallholder farmers).

Selected start-ups will be able to take part in Seedstars’ three-month Investment Readiness Program, which will provide the entrepreneurs with 1-on-1 mentoring with industry experts, potential funding opportunities, and leverage  human and knowledge resources available within Shell Foundation.

“Start-ups have immense potential to solve Africa’s biggest development challenges and local African entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to develop these solutions. We are excited to collaborate with Seedstars to identify and support some of the most promising African-led start-ups that will scale these solutions and improve millions of lives across the continent over time” Tara Collier, Market Development Manager, Shell Foundation. 

The following are the criteria for startups interested in applying for the program: 

  • Startup should be African-led and based or operating in at least one Sub-Saharan African country;
  • Tech solution must be focused on the mobility, transportation, energy, or agriculture value chains;
  • Startup must be at their early stage/seed round with a minimum viable product (MVP);
  • Startup must have initial traction and already able to generate revenue;
  • startup must have raised only less than $1M to date; and
  • Startup should have significant positive impact on lower income communities (in line with SDGs 2, 7 or 11)

To become part of the mission of providing universal access to energy, and making agriculture and mobility more inclusive and sustainable, send in your applications to the Energy and Mobility Innovation Program page before December 20, 2020:


Shell Foundation is a UK-registered charity, founded by Shell in 2000, that creates and scales business solutions to enhance access to energy and affordable transport. They exist to serve the low-income communities most affected by these issues.

The foundation provides patient support to social enterprises and institutions capable of delivering social change at scale across Africa and Asia via disruptive technologies or business models without long-term reliance on charitable support or subsidy.

To date Shell Foundation’s work has improved the lives of more than 180m people.


Seedstars is a Swiss-based private company with a mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. The groups’ activities cover over 90 emerging ecosystems through a variety of initiatives such as the Online Seedstars World Competition, acceleration programs, physical hubs called Seedspace, venture capital investments and company building activities. Seedstars The Documentary is a feature film featuring the company’s vision to give a voice to the game changers of the developing world.

“They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.” – Mexican proverb 

1 Comment

  1. “They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.” – beautiful and inspiring words to those who have been left behind by their societies guaranteed to give them peace of mind in the midst’s of storms, tribulations, persecutions and challenges. Those lines are priceless, they are advocates for self-belief that remind us that those who know their divine nature will always thrive and remain undefeated against all adversities and trials projected deviously against us. Sincerely Seedstars and Shell should be highly commended for the great effort and admirable initiative they have been tirelessly pursuing in their quest to positively make a sustainable impact on the lives of penurious lower income communities in Africa and across the globe.

    So here we go, all the way we go, opportunity is knocking loudly on the doors of innovative African entrepreneurs – it is time to prove to the world the kind of stuff you are made of – Yup, Show us your true talents, fortitude, abilities, courage and ingenuity and worth and we will applaud; the time for bragging and empty rhetoric is already over.(lol)

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