In the energy access space, women’s entrepreneurship has gained momentum in the last few years. ENERGIA, International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy, has been implementing the Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) programme since 2014, focusing on developing women’s enterprises in the clean energy sector. With its five partners, ENERGIA has supported more than 4,000 women in clean energy businesses in seven countries. WEE programme experience in the dissemination of clean energy technologies shows women entrepreneurs to be effective in ‘last-mile’ distribution for affordable clean energy technologies through their social networks. Supporting women entrepreneurs calls for a multi-pronged strategy combining the approaches of enterprise development and women’s empowerment. Useful tactics to promote women energy entrepreneurs include combining technology and business skills upgrading with empowerment and agency building; sustained mentorship support; and trust-based one-to-one selling approaches. There is also a need to take an ecosystem approach that places an equal emphasis on the enabling environment and direct support to entrepreneurs.
Volume 51 Number 1
Published: February 20, 2020