12 Clean Energy Innovations at Bootcamp in Nairobi


You might think that there is hardly anything less exciting than innovative products and business ideas that come from a university context: Too much theory, too little practical relevance. The 12 participants of the Clean Energy Bootcamp of Startup|Energy from April 10 to 15, 2024 in Nairobi proved the opposite.

The innovations range from the production of biogas through plastic recycling to services for organic farming and efficient cooking to a solar-powered atmospheric water harvesting system. Some ideas are already so advanced that pilot projects are being carried out with large companies such as Kenya Airways.

Four universities have each selected three innovators for the Bootcamp:

  • Kenyatta University (Kenya)
  • Makerere University Business School (Uganda)
  • Mount Kenya University (Kenya)
  • Universität Freiburg (Germany)


The international composition enabled the participants to think outside the box and gain new impulses by broadening their horizons.

Maureen Lugolobi Kizza presenting her innovation


“The Clean Energy Bootcamp from Startup|Energy not only gave me theoretical impulses, but also showed me how much persistence and entrepreneurial energy it takes to build a company. It’s a long journey, not a short sprint,” said one participant, explaining that the bootcamp not only provided theoretical knowledge but also the opportunity to get to know the real business world: As a kind of “reality check”, the participants visited four local start-ups in one day and were able to discuss about the practical experiences with the founders. These are:

  • Llyord Mwaniki Gitau, Co-Founder of Zuhura Solutions, which has developed for the first time in East Africa a food vending cart powered by renewable energy: the “Halisi Trolley”
  • James Mulatya, Co-Founder of Drop Access, whose flagship product is a mobile solar refrigerator for medicines and vaccines
  • Omondi Makalliwa, Founder of TryKe Group Limited: a booming startup in the e-logistics sector in Kenya
  • Chris Maara, Founder of Kiri EV, operating with a disruptive business approach for electric bikes.


All four founders have participated in Startup|Energy’s accelerator program for African startups and are currently Fellows of Startup|Energy.

James Mulatya, Co-Founder of Drop Access, in dialog with Bootcamp participants


The Bootcamp concluded on April 15 with a public Demo Day at Kenyatta University, followed by a panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges for Clean Energy Innovations in East Africa. The panel discussion was attended by prominent participants:

  • Mark Ameyo, Investment Officer at Kenyan Climate Ventures
  • Kelvin Khisa, Principal Research Scientist at Kenya Industrial Research And Development Institute (KIRDI)
  • Chris Maara, Founder and CEO Kiri EV
  • Prof Maina Mwangi, Director Innovations Incubation and University Industry Linkages (Kenyatta University)
  • Charity Wanjiku, Co-Founder Strauss Energy Ltd. and Coach of Startup|Energy Accelerator


Public panel discussion at Kenyatta University on 15th April 2024


What remains after the Bootcamp? One participant answers this clearly: “Now, as innovators, the onus is on us to translate this wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience into tangible action. It’s our collective responsibility to turn our dreams into reality, effecting positive change in our communities and advancing the cause of sustainable development goals.”


About Startup|Energy: Startup|Energy is a joint initiative of Stiftung Solarenergie (Germany) and the University of Freiburg to promote startups in the field of decentralized, renewable energy supply in Sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative builds on the long-standing activities of the Stiftung Solarenergie – Solar Energy Foundation (Freiburg) to promote local solar companies in Africa.

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The Clean Energy Bootcamp in Nairobi was possible thanks to the support of