Solaris Offgrid Inspiring Startups to Disrupt at AFD’s First-Ever Digital Energy Challenge

Solaris Offgrid acted as a special invitee at the first-ever Digital Energy Challenge, in Paris, between the 25th and 26th of November, initiative implemented by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and financed by the European Union, as part of their contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.

Solaris Offgrid at the the Agence Française de Développement Digital Energy Challenge

The scope of the event centred around the digitalisation and modernisation of the energy sector, with Sub-Saharan Africa grabbing the spotlight for the kick-off edition. Solaris Offgrid’s co-founder and CCO, Thibault Lesueur, did the honours and served as keynote speaker at the Challenge Bootcamp, where participating organisations, project partners and external experts got together to propose ideas on boosting the energy transition.


The invitation was perfect for Solaris Offgrid to inspire newcomers and introduce them to our journey as a disruptive organisation in the sector, where we started off as a -former- SHS manufacturer/distributor in Tanzania, to later on evolve into a key Paygo SaaS tech provider and, ultimately, a Fintech leader, currently serving partners in 35+ countries and helping last-mile distributors provide life-changing products and services to unbanked communities.


Based on his experience alongside Solaris Offgrid, Thibault provided key takeaways from our nearly 8 years old entrepreneurship adventures. Line of thoughts such as: Falling in love with the problem, never with the solution; Be ready to adapt the business model, concentrate your expertise and build upon it; Not to compromise on the “why”, but rather focus on delivering result-oriented value propositions. Focus on the ultimate value you are to deliver to stakeholders, always asking yourself “What if your organisation ceases to exist, what does the world lose?”

PaygOps at Digital Energy Challenge
Image credits from ©Sébastien Gracco de Ley

The 2021 Digital Energy Challenge was launched by the Digital Energy Facility, for a planned overall duration of four years, with a yearly call for projects. The objective of the programme is to support the development of innovative solutions for energy access, the integration of renewable energy and utility performance improvement.

We extend our thanks to AFD for the special invitation and the acknowledgement of our continued efforts in the sector. Congratulations to the eight winning organisations! Solaris Offgrid looks forward to seeing how they will be contributing to the energy transition in the years to come.


For a detailed listing of the winners, click here.


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