Irish Aid extends support for innovation and development from the ground up

The Government of Ireland’s development assistance programme, Irish Aid, enters its third year of collaboration with EIT Climate-KIC, bringing continued support to start-ups across Africa and in Vietnam and Colombia.

Since 2019, Irish Aid has supported entrepreneurs in emerging economies to bring innovative ideas to life through ClimateLaunchpad – the world’s largest green business ideas competition. This has focused on nurturing green innovation and entrepreneurship in seven developing countries in Africa and Asia – Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam, and support will also expand to Colombia this year. In addition, top teams will receive post-competition support to aid their emergence as viable start-ups.

Irish Aid first decided to team up with EIT Climate-KIC to help leverage private finance towards climate action. Ireland was quick to embrace the opportunity to invest in positive, innovative and forward-looking solutions to this global challenge. The programme’s investment in long-term development resonates with Ireland’s international development strategy by addressing climate change while simultaneously strengthening livelihoods.

“EIT Climate-KIC’s approach aligns strongly with Ireland’s priorities for international climate action, including support for adaptation for the most vulnerable and climate justice. The initiative contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation in key sectors of relevance to poorer communities such as small-scale renewable energy and sustainable fisheries. We are increasing our support for EIT Climate KIC’s efforts to include more women in this programme. We further welcome efforts to enhance consideration of the longer-term environmental, developmental, and local impacts of EIT Climate-KIC programmes in countries” said Sinead Walsh, Climate Envoy for Ireland.

Thanks to Irish Aid’s ongoing support, ClimateLaunchpad’s international competition continues to observe a rise in participation from the African continent. The initiative has proved to be a success with one-third of the applications in 2020 coming from African countries. In fact, Leafy Ke, a clean fuel start-up from Kenya won the sixth edition of ClimateLaunchpad in 2019.

Commenting on the award, Peter Gachanja, COO of Leafy Ke said: “This means so much to us. This means parents will be able to look after their families better. Children won’t have to sleep with smoke in their homes from dirty fuel. And carbon emissions can be significantly reduced.

Irish Aid will be the key partner of the ClimateLaunchpad Finals in Africa taking place in September this year. The international competition invites aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch climate-positive ideas – from renewable energy solutions to a sustainable transition in the food chain, to a mind shift in urban mobility. For more information visit:


This article was originally published on 6 July 2021.