Startup Europe Awards

Finnova Foundation kicks off its cooperation with Ghana and Africa to face the challenges the 21st century poses through open innovation

  • International experts discussed last Friday the situation in Africa regarding mobility, green energies, and climate change as well as different disruptive initiatives that may be put in place.
  • Finnova Foundation presented several EU funding opportunities.
  • During the event, the open call to find potential partners in Africa within the framework of the Energy Africa Startup Europe Awards was launched, which will be held in early 2022.

Brussels, 23.11.2021

Finnova Foundation reaffirmed its commitment to the green transition in Ghana and Africa and their endeavours to combat climate change in an event on last Friday 19 November 2021 to assess the situation in Africa regarding mobility, green energies, and climate change.

The Next Ghana Generation. Mobility and Energy: New Opportunities and Challenges in Ghana and Africa webinar was held to commemorate the recent announcement on the start of effective implementation of the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) between the EU and Ghana. This event was also held on the eve of Africa Industrialization Day, an initiative launched by the United Nations to foster Africa’s sustainable development.

The international expert panel featured Juan Manuel Revuelta (Finnova Foundation CEO); Alexander Charalambous (Team Leader, EU SWITCH to Green Facility); Juan Jesús Rodríguez Marichal (Chairman, Trade Department of the Cámara de Comercio de Fuerteventura); Jacob Fohtung (Research Associate, Global Prosperity at Clayton Christensen Institute); Prof Leendert de Bell (Researcher, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences); Gameli Adzaho (Regional Programme Manager, Just One Giant Lab); Cornelius Nartey (Volunteer, Africa Association of Entrepreneurs); Regina Nesiama Miller (Principal Renewable Energy Specialist, African Development Bank Group); Shantha Bloemen (CEO & Founder, Mobility for Africa); Festus Loma (Senior Commercial Specialist, Nigeria Electrification Project); Tony Tiyou (CEO & Founder, Renewables in Africa); Roberto Vigotti (Secretary General, RES4Africa Foundation); Gonzalo Piernavieja Izquierdo (RDI Director, Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias); Juan Viesca (EU Funds Director, Finnova Foundation), Alberto Navarro (HR and Training Manager, Finnova Foundation), and Yiboula Bazier Emmanuel, member of Foro Euroafricano.

Throughout the event, which was divided into five panels (institutions, innovation and entrepreneurship, energy and mobility, EU funds, and training and education), panellists presented different disruptive solutions, best cases, and initiatives conducted both in Ghana and in the rest of African countries in order to implement technologies and innovation in several domains like education, mobility, renewable energies, and the upgrade of infrastructures. It was also talked about the different barriers these countries must overcome to put in place these ideas, and an introduction of EU funds was also provided.

EU funding opportunities

The event was inaugurated by Finnova Foundation CEO Juan Manuel Revuelta, who provided some data regarding EU-Ghana cooperation since 2000 up until now, which encompasses some issues like climate change, food security, cross-border challenges, and how cooperation plans facilitate trade and the access to the EU market for exporting countries like Ghana.

“We hope that the EU-Ghana compromises will play a key role in facing the challenges that poses the green transition in Ghana and Africa as well as in terms of contributing to the United Nations’ ambition such as SDGs and the goals of Africa Industrialization Day”, said Mr Revuelta. “We believe that public-private partnerships remain crucial and that innovation is pivotal, as can be seen in all the projects we are involved and which were discussed at COP26, added Mr Revuelta.

According to Finnova CEO, “EU-funded initiatives like Startup Europe Awards as well as innovative and low-cost technologies will enable overcome our shared challenges, for which a public-private partnership approach will be required”.

Mr Revuelta mentioned other European projects upholding sustainability like LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0, which enables to transform sludge from wastewater treatment plants into green energy thanks to technology.

Energy Africa Startup Europe Awards

On the other hand, the event featured the launch of the open call to find potential partners to carry out the Energy Africa Startup Europe Awards in early 2022. This call takes place against a backdrop of the new 2021-2027 EU financial period which will help advance renewable energies and sustainable mobility. The announcement was made by Yiboula Bazier Emmanuel, member of Foro Euroafricano, and it was endorsed by World Diplomatic Institute.

As a sidenote, Finnova backs the CLIMA-RISK project, which will be presented during the Africa event, an international business platform which will be held from 30 November to 1st December on the island of Fuerteventura (the Canary Islands, Spain). Africagua seeks to connect the world with Africa from the Canary Islands, encouraging clean energies and sustainability.

Click here to watch the webinar.

About Finnova Foundation

Finnova Foundation is a Belgian-Spanish foundation which helps institutions and organisations receive funds for innovative projects. It aims to promote private-public cooperation through innovation in order to address social challenges, e.g., employment, training, entrepreneurship, SDGs, circular economy, etc. Finnova is in charge of organising Startup Europe Awards, a joint initiative by Finnova and the European Commission to reward the best European start-ups.