Milken Institute and Motsepe Foundation announce new $2M prize competition in green energy 

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The Milken Institute and the Motsepe Foundation have launched the Milken-Motsepe Prize in Green Energy, a $2 million prize competition to reward entrepreneurs and innovators from anywhere in the world working to address access to green, renewable energy.

The winning individual or team will be awarded $1 million, with an additional $1 million disbursed throughout the competition as finalists progress and field test ideas.

Registration for the prize is open now. There is no cost to apply, and anyone, anywhere in the world is eligible to submit their idea for consideration.

This prize competition in Green Energy is designed to cast a wide net for inclusive innovation, providing funding, support, and product testing to find the best solutions for sustainable and renewable energy. Currently, more than 600 million people across the African continent lack access to electricity. Lack of reliable energy hinders economic growth, from startups in rural zones to medium enterprises in capital cities.

Milken-Motsepe Prize registrants have the chance to play a vital role in creating affordable, sustainable, and renewable energy access for a world in need of innovative solutions to unlock human potential and increase financial and social mobility.

“Good ideas can and do come from anywhere in the world,” said Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-Founder and CEO of the Motsepe Foundation. “Entrepreneurs and new technologies can provide the solutions that will secure sources of sustainable and renewable energy for generations to come, in Africa and around the globe. The Milken-Motsepe Prize in Green Energy will catalyze market creation for innovative, renewable energy solutions and drive private sector growth as well as improve the socioeconomic living conditions of millions in Africa.” 

Winning teams will demonstrate the ability to deploy innovative green energy solutions at scale in Africa, with the goal of dramatically expanding renewable energy access. Teams should make use of new technologies or adapt existing technologies in innovative ways to generate at least 60 kWh of off-grid electricity daily (24 hours) using green energy sources.

 “Population size and energy needs are both rising rapidly, creating an urgent need to find sustainable sources of renewable energy. Prize competitions have proven over and over the power of human ingenuity to solve seemingly intractable problems,” said Emily Musil Church, PhD, senior director at the Milken Institute. “We hope to see a broad range of innovative ideas on how to create scalable, green energy systems that will allow for increased economic activity on the African continent and beyond.”

 This is the second competition in the Milken-Motsepe Innovation Prize program, a series of multimillion-dollar prize competitions for entrepreneurial and technological solutions that accelerate progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa and globally. The first prize, the Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech, was announced in 2021 and will be awarded in May 2023 at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

 The Milken-Motsepe Prize in Green Energy is focused on the energy crisis in Africa, but the ideas and solutions generated could be used to help the 940 million people, or 13 percent, who do not have access to electricity globally.

 How to Enter

Teams from anywhere in the world can register now and submit designs and business models. An independent panel of expert judges will select semi-finalist teams to receive $20,000 each to develop small-scale prototypes. In the final round, teams will demonstrate their entries in field tests which will be evaluated for their ability to:

Dramatically expand access to green, affordable, renewable energy

Reduce the exposure of vulnerable communities in Africa to the impacts of climate change

Stall and reverse greenhouse gas emissions

In addition to the prize money, teams will benefit from access to networking, training, and other resources.

 The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank focused on accelerating measurable progress on the path to a meaningful life.

The Motsepe Foundation was founded in 1999 by Dr. Patrice Motsepe and his wife, Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe. The goal of the Motsepe Foundation is to contribute towards eradicating poverty and to sustainably improve the living conditions and standards of living of poor, unemployed and marginalised people in South Africa, Africa and the world.

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