Only 11% of Uganda’s population and 5% of the rural population has access to electricity. More than 95% of the country depends on biomass in the form of firewood and charcoal for energy which endangers the country’s forest cover. The incubator seeks to close the gap in the access to energy by using renewable energy technologies such as hydro power, biogas, biomass waste gasification, biomass briquetting, wind and solar PV. The incubator considers renewable energy because it is generated from locally available sustainable natural resources which are never depleted; cleaner; more reliable; has a high potential for creating local value chains especially in the agricultural sector and reduces the cost of extending the national grid to remote areas. However, with all this potential investment in developing energy solutions for the country, there is a huge financial gap.
There are a number of small project developers and entrepreneurs with innovative renewable energy ideas. Majority of these lack funds for business start up. Some entrepreneurs start up businesses and these only remain at small scale due to lack of capital to up-scale. Some renewable energy projects such as hydro, solar, biogas, require feasibility studies. Large amounts of funds are required for these studies to be conducted, yet investors avoid this area since they prefer taking on projects whose viability has already been proven. The Incubator seeks to fill some of these gaps.
The incubator supports the development of local renewable energy companies which will utilize renewable energy in a sustainable and financially beneficial manner. REBI offers capacity building, market research, technical support, mentoring, financial support, coaching, financial linkage for existing enterprises and business plan development. Under this activity, the REBI is also facilitating students’ projects related to renewable energy business development. The incubator is also seeking partnership with SMEs in Uganda that would like to address their current energy related challenges using renewable energy to strengthen the academia-industry link. A summary of the studies currently done by students are available under publications and reports page.
Services for entrepreneurs under the incubator
- Individual assistance to develop business plans and applications for funding
- Network with financing institutions/capital providers, authorities, industry and universities
- Training to upgrade managerial, operational, technical, financial and legal capabilities
- Office space at Makerere University and limited financial support
- Opportunity to apply for investment support, which again may trigger other investments