UNCDF and Clean Cooking Alliance Launch Digital Innovation Challenge to Advance Clean Cooking Access
April 19, 2023 — More than 2.4 billion people worldwide lack access to clean fuels and technologies, costing the planet over $2.4 trillion each year. As part of their ongoing partnership to address this global crisis, the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) are launching a Digital Innovation Challenge to enhance financing opportunities in the clean cooking sector. Click here to apply now!
A robust clean cooking sector is the only way to ensure people have access to clean and affordable options to cook safely for their families and communities. But success in the sector depends on the ecosystem surrounding it. The lack of finance, data, and information limits the opportunities for clean cooking businesses to expand their operations, often resulting in shallow market penetration across most developing countries. The Digital Innovation Challenge aims to discover, test, and market digital solutions that address these market barriers. To achieve this, the Challenge seeks to:
- Develop innovations to ease access to finance, including from publicly funded, output-based finance programs, carbon markets, and commercial credit markets.
- Improve the transparency and accuracy of data across the clean cooking supply chain.
“The expansion of wider digital infrastructure and capabilities offers a unique opportunity to disrupt some of the key drivers of investment in clean cooking,” said Feisal Hussain, CCA’s Senior Director of Innovative Finance. “We believe deploying an innovation challenge offers a structured pathway to crowding in digital economy players to clean cooking markets.”
The Digital Innovation Challenge will be rolled out in a three-stage process, which successful applicants will participate in if they qualify for each stage. The first stage is a bootcamp, where applicants will have access to mentors to develop their concepts. The second stage is an accelerator, where winners of the bootcamp will be able to test out their project design on the ground for six months. The third stage is focused on scaling up, where projects will have an opportunity to secure additional financing to expand their solutions.
“Achieving a robust clean cooking sector requires more than just developing the technology and products. The Digital Innovation Challenge seeks to discover and promote digital solutions that address the shared constraints faced by the sector. Through the Challenge’s three-stage process, we aim to not only develop innovative solutions, but also accelerate and implement them to scale, ultimately increasing access to clean and affordable cooking options for families and communities,” said Vincent Wierda, UNCDF Inclusive Digital Economy Energy Lead.
The lack of access to clean cooking solutions continues to be a major challenge for billions of people around the world, with significant negative impacts on the environment, climate, health, and economic opportunity. The Digital Innovation Challenge is an opportunity to improve financing in the sector to reach more people with the clean cooking solutions they need.
The Digital Innovation Challenge is accepting applications until May 7, 2023.
For more information, click here.