African venture capital: barriers and solutions to address imbalances

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Interest in harnessing business potential in Africa is growing year-on-year. The total amount of venture capital (VC) investment on the continent grew to between US$4.3 billion and US$5 billion in 2021, a 16-fold increase from 2017. However, the distribution of the funding is uneven. The landscape of start-ups successfully accessing funding is dominated by non-African…

How Lithium batteries can help address Africa’s access to power deficit 

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Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the lowest energy access rates in the world, leaving roughly 600 million people without power.  SF partner Aceleron – co-funded with UK aid from the UK government and supported by Tripleline – has produced a report showing how lithium battery technology can play a critical role in reducing this deficit and…

The business potential in going beyond cooling as a service

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Four new impact case studies from Inficold highlight how various cold chain products can deliver higher incomes for farmers and agribusinesses across several value chains.   Agriculture in the Indian Context   We have supported Inficold since 2016, as part of our CASEE programme with the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), to develop its…

Understanding how solar powered decentralised food processing can increase value-chain efficiency

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Sustainable food processing provides an untapped opportunity for social investors to combat the daily ~$19.4 million post-harvest crop loss in India. India’s food processing sector is significantly hampered by efficiency challenges, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, up to 40% of smallholder farmers’ total produce results in post-harvest loss. SF partner S4S Technologies has…

Can free wi-fi improve brand awareness and customer numbers for Nigerian rural enterprises?

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In 2020, Shell Foundation initiated a six-month wi-fi pilot, co-funded with UK Aid from the UK government, in three regions of Nigeria. Free internet access was provided through 50 selected locations to potential Swifta customers in peri-urban and rural areas. Swifta Systems is a professional technology company focused on IT services and fintech. OmniBranches (one…

How cold chain infrastructure is transforming Kenyan fishing communities

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Many Kenyans make their living via the fish value chain, but its growth potential is limited by high post-harvest losses caused in a large part by lack of food cold chain infrastructure, which is in turn constrained by a limited access to energy. Shell Foundation has supported KeepITCool (KIC) – a social enterprise that facilitates…

How effective mentorship increased investment chances for African-led social enterprises

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Our experience working with access-to-energy (A2E) and sustainable mobility (SM) start-ups in Africa has shown a market gap where lack of access to early-stage support constrains access to funding for African-led start-ups in the sectors. Effective mentorship has been shown to increase the chances of start-up success by up to three times. Co-funded by UK…

Lighting Tanzania’s Rural Areas: How Jaza are reaching households living on $2/day

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Since 2020, Shell Foundation in partnership with USAID and UK FCDO has supported Jaza Energy to develop affordable energy products for low-income households in Tanzania, where – like many other African countries – around 50% of the population currently live on less than $2/day. Jaza has built solar battery retail locations providing meaningful employment to…

Catalysing Climate Finance for Low-Carbon Agriculture Enterprises

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Rural households in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) working in the agriculture sector feed much of the world, bear little responsibility for driving climate change, and are being disproportionately impacted by climate-related shocks. Climate finance represents a critical opportunity to bring investment and innovations to agricultural settings to improve resilience and drive new and more…