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Clean Energy Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Abstract

Many clean energy ventures, particularly those in the early stage and operating in the developing world, never get off the ground because traditional sources of capital like banks tend to shy away from sectors that seem unfamiliar or too risky. As highlighted most recently in the COP21 Paris Climate Change summit in December 2015, there is a critical gap in market understanding of and limited scholarly research on the role clean energy entrepreneurship can play in addressing energy poverty and sustainable business model development in the developing world. To address these gaps, this chapter seeks to connect the theory and practice of clean energy entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. Three issues and questions will be explored in this chapter. First, what are the critical differences in terms of sustainability and entrepreneurship between industrialized OECD countries and emerging markets and developing countries? Second, what key issues and questions need to be addressed in order to design, build, and scale a clean energy entrepreneurial ecosystem in sub-Saharan Africa? Third, what is the future outlook for clean energy entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa?

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... In addition, Knuckles [33] argues that most studies typically overlook the nuances of firm-level processes in BoP settings. Moreover, the critical issue of entrepreneurial efforts has been under-examined in the literature on low-income markets, as Park [48] indicates. The current case study attempts to fill the research gap concerning firm-level processes by focusing on the mini-grid operations and entrepreneurial efforts of HPS. ...
... Therefore, a process-centric view of social entrepreneurship [9] has a number of distinct advantages, while we acknowledge other interpretations of social entrepreneurship [80]. First, the process-centric framework helps interpret nuances related to the firmlevel processes (as Knuckles [33] suggests) and entrepreneurial efforts (as asserted by Park [48]) of HPS. Second, this framework fits the multidimensional nature of mini-grid operations involving market imperfections and resource constraints in the rural BoP environment. ...
... To augment the findings of previous studies on business models (see [33,34,45,49,51]), we propose a new business model framework (see Table 3) that takes into account the on-site experiences and HPS's firm-level processes. This framework embraces entrepreneurial efforts, as suggested by Park [48]. Furthermore, unlike user-centric business models (e.g., [133]),the framework adopts an organisational perspective. ...
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... Governments should provide a conducive environment for RE entrepreneurs to participate in transitioning towards a clean energy system. Entrepreneurs in developing and emerging countries such as African countries face multifaceted challenges in attempting to invest in and develop clean energy infrastructure (Park, 2016). Comparatively, countries have inconsistent levels of information regarding the state of their RE contexts, let alone the contexts regarding RE IPPs. ...
... This paper attempts to fill the knowledge gap of the relatively recent phenomenon of DRE entrepreneurship in SSA focusing on a review of the key technologies and business models and the market-enabling factors for scale and impact [18]. Literature relating to renewable energy (RE) entrepreneurship topics can be clustered into five main themes: (1) RE technologies, business models, market, and industry analyses; (2) energy access journal articles, policy notes, market studies, and practitioner insights, especially relating to DRE, sustainable energy, and rural electrification; (3) entrepreneurship and innovation research and market trends in SSA; (4) entrepreneurship, inclusive business, social enterprise, and enterprise-based solution practitioner insights and policy recommendations; and (5) RE startup, entrepreneur, investor, entrepreneur support programs databases, blogs, websites, and press releases. ...
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Chapter
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This research explores the need to establish new sustainable business models in China and uses multiple objectives to examine in a sample of Chinese companies the reality of the level of sustainable development, environmental awareness and performance, community responsibility, performance barriers and drivers and other sustainability issues. A mixed methodology was adopted, using a questionnaire survey and interviews with 20 manufacturing companies in Guangzhou and Shenzen. Evidence from the small sample of companies demonstrates the lack of significant sustainable development practices in China, although small and medium sized companies appeared to show interest in this area and would like to further contribute to for example triple bottom line objectives. Increasing concerns are found from the company level regarding the need to use renewable energy, source alternative sustainable materials, close the loop of the supply chain, improve the quality of products produced rather than reducing cost, export to Europe and treat employees as an asset. The lack of skills, finance and knowledge are found to be prohibiting the effective embedment of sustainable development within companies and hence cause an under-performance in this regard. The study concludes that the establishing of a new business model for sustainable development in China is needed urgently, and this should be a joint effort with the Chinese government. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
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This paper reviews the opportunities and strategic choices facing banks considering branchless banking options. Technology, and in particular the spread of real-time mobile communications networks, permits financial service providers to delegate 'last mile' cash management and customer servicing functions to third-party retail outlets. By making basic deposit, withdrawal, and payment functions available securely through retail shops that exist in every village and neighborhood, there is an opportunity to dramatically increase the physical footprint of financial service providers in developing countries and to transform the basic economics of low-balance savings.
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Summary This paper explores the role of indigenous and foreign innovation efforts in technological upgrading in developing countries, taking into account sectoral specificities in technical change. Using a Chinese firm-level panel dataset covering 2001-05, the paper decomposes productivity growth into technical change and efficiency improvement and examines the impact of indigenous and foreign innovation efforts on these changes. Indigenous firms are found to be the leading force on the technological frontier in the low- and medium-technology industries, while foreign-invested firms enjoy a clear lead in the high-technology sector. Collective indigenous R&D activities at the industry level are found to be the major driver of technology upgrading of indigenous firms that push out the technology frontier. While foreign investment appears to contribute to static industry capabilities, R&D activities of foreign-invested firms have exerted a significant negative effect on the technical change of local firms over the sample period.
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We explore different business ventures in low-income markets in order to understand the factors influencing business model innovation in this context. Grounded in the rich data obtained from multiple case study analyses and in the received theory in strategy in low-income markets and business models, we identified a set of contingency factors that permitted us to distinguish between isolated and interactive business models. Isolated business models widen its entrance into new markets by leveraging firm's current resources and capabilities for taking advantage of existing opportunities. Interactive business models require a firm to combine, integrate and leverage both internal resources with ecosystem's capabilities to create new business opportunities. Finally, we discuss the main implications on value creation from these business models.
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Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world's top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers - often implicitly - assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these "standard subjects" are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species - frequent outliers. The domains reviewed include visual perception, fairness, cooperation, spatial reasoning, categorization and inferential induction, moral reasoning, reasoning styles, self-concepts and related motivations, and the heritability of IQ. The findings suggest that members of WEIRD societies, including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans. Many of these findings involve domains that are associated with fundamental aspects of psychology, motivation, and behavior - hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation. Overall, these empirical patterns suggests that we need to be less cavalier in addressing questions of human nature on the basis of data drawn from this particularly thin, and rather unusual, slice of humanity. We close by proposing ways to structurally re-organize the behavioral sciences to best tackle these challenges.
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Pursuit of sustainable development requires a systems approach to the design of industrial product and service systems. Although many business enterprises have adopted sustainability goals, the actual development of sustainable systems remains challenging because of the broad range of economic, environmental and social factors that need to be considered across the system life cycle. Traditional systems engineering practices try to anticipate and resist disruptions but may be vulnerable to unforeseen factors. An alternative is to design systems with inherent "resilience" bytaking advantage of fundamental properties such as diversity, efficiency, adaptability, and cohesion. Previous work on sustainable design has focused largely upon ecological efficiency improvements. For example, companies have found that reducing material and energy intensity and converting wastes into valuable secondary products creates value for shareholders as well as for society at large. To encourage broader systems thinking, a design protocol is presented that involves the following steps: identifying system function and boundaries, establishing requirements, selecting appropriate technologies, developing a system design, evaluating anticipated performance, and devising a practical means for system deployment. The approach encourages explicit consideration of resilience in both engineered systems and the larger systems in which they are embedded.