GVEP_logo_fullcol_JPG.jpgGVEP, The Global Village Energy Partnership, is a non-profit organisation that works to increase access to modern energy and reduce poverty in developing countries.

We do this by supporting the development of small and medium sized renewable energy businesses, in part through entrepreneurship development programmes providing technical, financial and business development advice. We also help renewable energy entrepreneurs and projects access capital, through a variety of programmes including: a SME-focused grant platform and associated technical assistance fund, business plan challenge competitions, and collaborations with and credit support for local financial institutions providing loans to energy entrepreneurs.

GVEP was founded at the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg and registered as a charity in 2006.

GVEP International from GVEP International on Vimeo.

GVEP's work

The lack of access to modern energy services condemns billions of people in the developing world to live in absolute poverty. Today, almost one third of humanity have no lights in the evening, unhealthy cooking equipment, limited access to modern communications, inadequate education and health facilities and not enough power for their work and businesses. While governments can help large utilities through effective policies and incentives, grid extension in rural areas is often not cost effective. Only 40% of the new energy provision required for access is likely to be by grid extension.

Pie_chart.jpgSmall stand-alone renewable technologies can meet the energy needs of rural communities more effectively. Hence, the remaining 60% of the solution is the natural domain of small and medium enterprises. This is the sector in which GVEP operates. We help local businesses to achieve lasting access to clean energy and to improve the quality of life for thousands of people.

To take off and become self-sustaining and successful, energy businesses need access to enabling resources, such as technology, skills, capital and delivery network. Our programmes are designed to help SMEs overcome these gaps. We provide them with technical and business advice and link them with financial institutions to access the capital they need to deliver real results in their communities.

GVEP brings the energy businesses the enabling resources they need to grow and thrive:

GVEP provides technical training and advice, assistance with product sourcing and manufacturing,facilitates access to technical advice and offers prizes, such as financing and business advice, to innovationcontest winners.

GVEP trains entrepreneurs in business planning, sales and marketing, record keeping, helping them to develop their businesses and gain access to capital.

GVEP trains financial institutions on renewable energy and entrepreneurs on how to deal with financial institutions, offers loan guarantees, operates business plan competitions to provide capital and is launching an impact investment fund focusing on energy businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Delivery network
GVEP uses its local knowledge to entrepreneurs about alternative suppliers, buyers/ distributors/markets and technology/ product offerings, and collaborates with entrepreneurs in purchasing and sales opportunities.

Our programmes

We are not a think-tank; we advise entrepreneurs, we raise and arrange finance, we bring people and organisations together and we facilitate projects on the ground. Therefore we design and implement programmes that help us meet the needs of energy businesses, providing them with advice around investment and business plans.

Recent strategies and partnerships include:

Norah_briquettes_customers.JPGDeveloping Energy Enterprises Project, a programme training and supporting over 900 micro entrepreneurs in East Africa.
Through the DEEP programme, GVEP is developing a sustainable and widespread industry of micro and small energy enterprises. Spanning five years and supported by the EU and the Dutch government, this project aims to provide modern energy services and products to 1.8 million people in the East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

We provide about 900 entrepreneurs in east Africa training service and mentoring services who acts as multipliers in their community. 500 new employees have come out of this programme, and 800,000 people have now improved energy products in their homes such as solar equipment and cleaner and more efficient cooking stoves.

Masimeru_micro_hydro_in_Rwanda.jpgSupporting energy SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa, a large programme providing technical and financial assistance to small and medium enterprises.
GVEP worked with the World Bank to provide to programme’s focus and is supporting its implementation in six counties in Africa. This programme aims to assist small energy enterprises by offering business training, access to finance and investment.

The programme is funded by the Russian Government and covers Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Mali, and Senegal and targets operators and developers of mini-grids, small hydro developers, biomass and biogas for electricity generation, and development of the solar PV market. In Senegal the use of energy that enhances people’s productivity and economic activities is the specific focus.

Loan guarantee fund encouraging the flow of credit by underwriting loans to energy businesses.
In 2010, GVEP started a loan guarantee fund, aiming to increase the availability of credit for small energy enterprises. GVEP’s role is to develop loan products with banks and financial institutions which reduce the default risk to the lender and the cost to the borrower. In some cases these arrangements are also being used to facilitate consumer credit arrangements. This programme is being pioneered in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and seeks to establish a methodology that can be applied elsewhere in the developing world.

So far about 80 businesses have benefitted from these arrangements.

Prometheus_100x100.jpgEnergy Access Finance Fund raising a new fund to invest in energy companies, together with impact investment fund manager, Alpha Mundi.
GVEP has recently teamed up with an impact investment fund manager to raise an investment fund targeting clean energy in Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa. The fund will specifically target SMEs which increase access to energy using renewable and clean technologies. The fund will target investments of US$250,000 to US$3 million and require investees to demonstrate not only financial viability, but also significant and measurable social and environmental impacts. It will consider opportunities to invest in distributed generation projects such as mini hydroelectric facilities, as well as companies, which provide products to the base of the pyramid, including solar and cookstove manufacturers and distributors. The fund will be a key method of leveraging GVEP’s donor-funded support with private sector capital to generate even more scalable impact.

Aquavito_rotor_100x100.jpgBusiness plan contests to award financial and technical help, such as the IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest and the Access to Clean Energy Challenge East Africa, run in tandem with the BiD Network. GVEP has been running business plan contests to award financial and technical help, such as the IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest and the Access to Clean Energy Challenge East Africa, in partnership with the IDB, GIZ and the Korean fund in Latin America and with the BiD Network in East Africa.


Over the last three years, we have mobilised US$10 million to stimulate growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the energy economy. We are working with 900 small businesses providing modern energy services to more than one million people throughout Africa and Latin America.
As a result of our activity over the past year, over 500 new jobs were created; and an estimated one million people now have improved access to clean energy, whether that’s through purchasing a more efficient cooking stove or a solar powered device to light up a room or charge mobile phones. The environment has benefited at the same time, with an estimated 200,000 tonnes of carbon emissions avoided.

The completion of our existing programmes over next couple of years should see this total increase to around 3.5million. By adding to our existing set of programmes, in both the immediate and medium term, our objective is to increase this total further, so that, in five years, we will have contributed to clean and reliable energy access for 15 million people at a fraction of the cost of typical development interventions.

Why? Because our programmes are not about giving away new infrastructures and equipment. By focussing on helping small and medium businesses selling good quality products and services at affordable prices GVEP is making a real difference for less: for every 2 euros spent another person is gaining access to energy.