Home Uncategorized Energy Catalyst Round 8 Brokerage Visit to Rwanda

Energy Catalyst Round 8 Brokerage Visit to Rwanda

About this Event



1.1bn people globally have no access to modern energy provision and a further 1bn have only intermittent access. Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst programme aims to support businesses to develop innovative, sustainable energy technologies and business models to accelerate clean energy transition in developing and emerging economies.

A key focus is to address the clean energy access challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa and South/South East Asia. Energy Catalyst Round 8 will launch in June 2020 and is likely to follow similar scope and eligibility to Round 7 which had an early, mid and late stream. These brokerage visits form part of the collaboration-building to enable businesses to develop equitable partnerships between the UK and overseas organisations.

Energy Catalyst is currently funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Department for International Development (DfID) as part of their Transforming Energy Access programme who have invested more than £60m.


The key objectives of the international brokerage trips are to help organisations applying for the Energy Catalyst Round 8 to gain an understanding of the energy access issues in Sub-Saharan Africa and South/South East Asia and find links to potential partners who would be interested in submitting an Energy Catalyst Application.

There are three key parts to the visit:

• Getting Ready: Pre-visit briefing to provide background information on the market and training on how to improve your business and technology pitch for in-country brokering. Hints and tips session on applying to Innovate UK.

• The Visit: Access to NGOs, local businesses, academics and governments who will be able to provide information about local opportunities. They may also become potential partners to apply into Energy Catalyst Round 8.

• Helping you make the best of the opportunity: Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) and Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) support to help you prepare your application.


Rwanda has a dense population of 12 million, the vast majority of which are rural residents (82.9%), and has struggled with the political and human rights legacy since the events of the mid 1990’s. However Rwanda is striving to rebuild its economy through exports. The World Bank has praised Rwanda’s “remarkable development successes”, which have helped reduce poverty and inequality. Rwanda is a net importer of UK goods and services valuing approximately £19M. Both French and English are official languages along with Kinyarwanda and Swahili and the time zone is 2 hours ahead of UK GMT.

The country’s biggest contributor to GDP, are Services (50%), Agriculture (30%) followed by a small Industry contribution at just 17%. Rwanda’s economic growth has rallied due to zero-tolerance to corruption and a stringent programme of economic reform. The World Bank ranks Rwanda 2nd in its Ease of Doing Business Index for sub-Saharan Africa. It has strong urbanisation targets focussed around 6 identified second cities as regional growth poles.


Rwanda is endowed with natural energy resources including hydro, solar, and methane gas. It currently only has 218 MW of installed generation capacity. Rwanda is planning to expand to 556 MW capacity in 2024 and may import some additional from neighbouring countries. In addition, it is installing small solar units throughout the country to ensure electricity supply to buildings not connected to the national grid, or to help deal with power outages. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Rwanda’s national electrification rate is estimated at 30% (12% in rural areas, 72% in urban areas).

Rwanda’s biggest issues are misalignment of power supply and demand, limited financing for off-grid companies and limited affordability of electricity solutions for rural households and businesses. There is an active strategy to support the electrification of rural populations, creation of solar households and mini-grids. Currently, the government plans to bring electricity access to 100% of the population by 2024, as opposed to 51% in 2019.


To qualify, organisations must be interested in applying for Energy Catalyst Round 8. They must also be working within technology that addresses all three areas of the energy trilemma and aiming to increase energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia. They must also be one of the below:

• UK-based micro or SME business (given priority)

• research technology organisation(RTO)

• academic organisation

• charity

• public sector organisation

This programme employs the De Minimis exemption regulation (public support with a €200,000 limit). Eligibility also subject to financial checks.

Companies that have joined previous GCRF missions may only apply if they can demonstrate:

• positive impact of their previous participation in applying for the Energy Catalyst Round 7

•clear additional benefit and impact through the application process

The maximum number of GCRF missions an organisation can attend is 2.


• Pitching to companies and organisations to find potential partners

• group meetings with key industry players to help understand the energy landscape and energy access issues

• Group site visits and potential linkages to local companies, renewable energy plants and villages that use outstanding renewable energy technologies

• Pre-mission workshop in London, week commencing Monday 4 May, providing market information and pitching training

• Your organisation’s profile in the mission brochure

• In-market help and advice


On acceptance to the mission, a commitment fee of £500+VAT will be taken from you, which will be returned on completion of the mission and feedback form.

Non-attendance after formal acceptance will result in forfeiting the commitment fee.


This visit is part of GCRF. For approved organisations Innovate UK will fund flights, visas, (5 or 6 nights) accommodation, in-country transport, and group meals. GCRF does not cover travel and health insurance for the mission. This must be obtained individually.

Travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK including for measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine. Malaria, Dengue fever and other tropical diseases are common, additionally day-biting mosquitos carry Zika virus. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. There are occasional outbreaks of cholera. You will need a yellow fever vaccine certificate. Travellers may be exposed to Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection, during activities such as wading, swimming, bathing or washing clothes in freshwater streams, rivers or lakes. Health facilities in are reasonable and well distributed following Government intervention post 1994 but are based on a health care insurance format. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.


It is a competitive process; places are limited, and applications will be evaluated by a panel of experts from the organisers.



For more information on the Energy Catalyst Round 8, please contact: Alice Goodbrook, Innovation Lead – Energy, Innovate UK, T: +44 (0)782 6513 670, E: Alice.Goodbrook@innovateuk.ukri.org or Dr Nicola Lazenby, Innovation Lead – Energy, Innovate UK, T: +44 (0)7342 088736, E: nicola.lazenby@innovateuk.ukri.org.

For any additional information related to the mission, please contact: Thierry Delange, thierry.delange@rtcnorth.co.uk 0191 516 4400


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