ThinkBikes, a Nigerian e-bike sharing service, and four other African social enterprises in the field of electric mobility, have been selected to receive prize money ranging from €10,000 to €50,000 in maiden Siemens Stiftung.
Each recipient can put the money toward product development, expanding services, and establishing a greater market presence.
In addition to their innovative solutions, the winners stand out because of their sustainable and inclusive business models. More than 100 applications were submitted to the competition from 19 African countries.
The winning social enterprises were selected by a renowned jury with extensive experience and expertise: Juliana Rotich, Tech Entrepreneur and winner of the German government’s Africa Prize; David Rubia, Programme Officer at the United Nations Environment Programme; Daria Saharova, Venture Capital Investor; Olasimbo Sojinrin, Country Director Solar Sister Nigeria; and Rolf Huber, Managing Director of Siemens Stiftung.
The winners are:
ThinkBikes Ltd (Nigeria)
ThinkBikes is an e-bike sharing service that is operates in higher institutions, estates and factories in Nigeria through the use of mobile apps.
Innovation: 3-D printed drones made from local recycled materials. The drones are used to transport essential medicines for women and children in rural and hard-to-reach areas.
BEAM Sarl (Burkina Faso)
Innovation: mobile solar-powered platform that facilitates agricultural work such as plowing, pumping, or carrying loads for people in rural communities, which helps increase crop yield and income.
Innovation: electric-powered small vehicles (from electric motorcycles to mini-cars) for courier and cab services. The batteries needed are produced locally, and Solar Taxi is actively researching reuse and sustainable recycling. The start-up’s engineering team is made up of women.
Innovation: marketplace app for perishable food – a solution that enables local traders to deliver their goods directly to customers using e-motorcycles that are efficient and cost-effective.
“The large number and scope of the applications submitted show the huge social and economic potential of innovative technical solutions related to electric mobility. We are convinced that local approaches create better access to basic services while creating permanent jobs – especially in rural areas,” says Rolf Huber, Managing Director of Siemens Stiftung and initiator of the electric mobility program.
Marah Köberle, who is charge of electric mobility at Siemens Stiftung, adds, “We support the growth of social enterprises and are committed to closing financing gaps in the electric mobility sector in the process. Access to financing is an issue for all social enterprises, but in Africa it is often even more difficult. I’m excited to welcome the start-ups to our e-mobility network.”
Each winner will present their electric mobility solutions at the next event in Siemens Stiftung’s virtual discussion series, “Spotlight On…”, which continues on September 23, 2021.