UNCDF and Clean Cooking Alliance launch Digital Innovation Challenge to improve access to clean cooking

“Through the Challenge’s three-step process, we aim not only to develop innovative solutions, but also to accelerate and implement them at scale, ultimately increasing access to clean and affordable cooking options for families and communities.” – Vincent Vierda, UNCDF

More than 2.4 billion people worldwide lack access to clean fuels and technologies, costing the planet over $2.4 trillion each year. As part of their ongoing partnership to address this global crisis, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) are launching a Digital Innovation Challenge to improve funding opportunities in the clean cooking sector. Click here to apply now!

A healthy clean cooking sector is the only way to ensure that people have access to clean and affordable safe cooking options for their families and communities. But success in the sector depends on the ecosystem around it. A lack of finance, data and information limits the ability of clean cooking businesses to scale up, often resulting in shallow market penetration in most developing countries. The Digital Innovation Challenge aims to discover, test and bring to market digital solutions that address these market barriers. To achieve this, the Challenge seeks to:

  • Develop innovations to facilitate access to finance, including publicly funded, results-based finance programmes, carbon markets and trade credit markets.
  • Improve data transparency and accuracy across the clean cooking supply chain.

“The expansion of broader digital infrastructure and capabilities offers a unique opportunity to disrupt some of the key drivers of investment in clean cooking,” said Faisal Hussain, CCA’s senior director of innovative finance. “We believe that implementing an innovation challenge offers a structured path to the accumulation of players in the digital economy towards clean cooking markets.”

The Digital Innovation Challenge will be introduced in a three-stage process, in which successful applicants will participate if they qualify for each stage. The first stage is a bootcamp where applicants will have access to mentors to develop their concepts. The second stage is an accelerator, where bootcamp winners will be able to test their project on-site for six months. The third stage is aimed at scaling up, where projects will have the opportunity to secure additional funding to expand their solutions.

“Achieving a sustainable clean cooking sector requires more than just developing the technology and products. The Digital Innovation Challenge seeks to discover and promote digital solutions that address the shared constraints facing the sector. Through the three-stage challenge process, we aim to not only develop innovative solutions, but also accelerate and deploy them at scale, ultimately increasing access to clean and affordable cooking options for families and communities,” said Vincent Vierda, head of UNCDF’s Inclusive Digital Economy.

Lack of access to clean cooking solutions continues to be a major challenge for billions of people around the world, with significant negative impacts on the environment, climate, health and economic opportunities. The Digital Innovation Challenge is an opportunity to improve funding in the sector to reach more people with the clean cooking solutions they need.

The Digital Innovation Challenge is accepting applications until May 7, 2023.

For more information, please visit uncdf.live/digital-challenge

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