The United Nations Environment Programme’s Rural Energy Enterprise Development REED initiative operates in Africa as AREED to develop new sustainable energy enterprises that use clean, efficient, and renewable energy technologies. These new enterprises can meet the energy needs of under-served populations while reducing the environmental and health consequences of existing energy use, particularly low quality biomass fuels such as wood and dung.

AREED offers rural energy entrepreneurs in Mali, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal and Zambia a combination of enterprise development services and start-up financing. This integrated financial and technical support allows entrepreneurs to plan and structure their companies for growth and makes eventual investments by mainstream financial partners possible.

AREED provides early-stage funding and enterprise development services to entrepreneurs, helping build successful businesses that supply clean energy technologies and services to to rural and peri-urban African customers.

AREED services include training and hands-on business development assistance. For the enterprises that show the best commercial potential, AREED also provides early-stage investment and assistance to secure additional finance.

The AREED initiative also works to broaden the skills of organizations involved in the energy and investment sectors to help them nurture energy entrepreneurs.

AREED works with African NGOs and development organizations, helping them to identify potential energy projects and provide follow-up business support services to entrepreneurs. Resource tools are also available which focus on business planning, management structuring, and financial planning for the rural energy sector.

AREED also works with financial institutions, helping them to assess and integrate the rural energy business sector into their portfolios. AREED provides workshops and specific hands-on tools centered on rural energy markets and enterprises, appropriate project finance models, financial analysis and risk management issues. Opportunities for co-financing are also explored.

AREED has to offer:

– Training and tools to help entrepreneurs start and develop energy businesses

– Enterprise start-up support in areas such as business planning, structuring and financing

– Seed capital for early stage enterprise development

– Partnerships with banks and NGOs involved in rural energy development