Frequently Asked Questions

There are several different ways to collaborate with EnAcess. The most frequently asked questions about project funding and collaboration can be found here. Have a question that we didn’t address?

Let us know.

Section one: Funding FAQs

1. What types of projects and activities do you usually provide direct funding for?

The projects that are eligible for direct R&D cost funding are either at least in the pilot stage and directly address significant sector challenges -or- are ambitious, conceptual ideas addressing sector inefficiencies that are shared across the industry. Occasionally, we may also put out a specific call for proposals, focusing on one sort of idea or one location in the world.

For our ongoing work, we look for what we broadly consider to be “Building Blocks.” The amount of funding is highly dependent on the project - in some cases, we can fund project fees ourselves, and in other cases, we may want to seek funding opportunities with you. In any case when funding a project, we will also engage to ensure the quality of the product and the documentation in particular.

Generally speaking, we want to co-create solutions for problems that are commonly faced across the industry.

As an example, mini-grid companies need to design and estimate the costs of a distribution network for potential project sites. While some companies have an in-house team and/or tool to address this need, no such network design tool exists on a freely accessible and open-source basis. This means that new or upcoming mini-grid companies will have to spend time and resources figuring out this aspect of their operations. While being able to design and cost a distribution network is a critical part of becoming a commercially viable mini-grid company, it’s not the source of sustainable competitive advantage. In this sense, this shared challenge could be easily addressed by an open source tool.

An open source network design tool would be what we’d call a sector “Building Block”. All developers could download the tool, adapt it to their needs, contribute to the user community, and start using it as a jointly maintained tool in their operations.

Whether your project is big or small, concretely defined or exploratory, and has to do with either commercial or technology development, we are interested to hear about it. We are looking for radical ideas that can push new thinking or bring efficiencies to the industry.

2. Which Criterias are relevant for you to decide to fund a project?

In terms of specific selection criteria, we review several factors.

1. Demonstrated market need and/or appetite
We assess - through a dedicated market research/stakeholders consultation and based on our own experience - whether the proposed innovation is likely going to be useful and needed for the Energy Access sector.

2. Evidence-based theory of change
This criterion aims at ensuring that a certain proposed innovation is justified by evidence and not (solely) by the Innovator’s gut feeling.

3. Logical framework foundation
The proposed project narrative follows a logical framework and correctly identifies and connects cause-effect relationships.

4. Potential for sector-building impact
This criterion concerns the direct applicability of the innovation to energy access. This is the place where we draw the line between direct and indirect effects; if we think that innovation will only very remotely affect the sector, we tend to discard the project for our support or collaboration. This is related and goes hand-in-hand with point 1 above.

5. Innovative content
The proposed project must be innovative to the best of our knowledge and be backed by sector stakeholder feedback, suggesting a significant improvement in existing models or technologies or at least open-sourcing them for a wider audience than currently reached by the incumbent.

6. Open Source
The proposed innovation must be entirely open-sourced, and potential future adopters must be able to reproduce and use the innovation in its entirety with reasonable effort and without needing specific exclusive underpinning technologies or requirements. Here, we focus on funding the “building blocks.”

7. Capacity of the partner to deliver
The innovator or applicant must provide sufficient background experience in the sector and in the proposed category of innovation to give us confidence in their ability to deliver on the proposed innovation.

8. Quality of the project plan and budget
The proposed project plan is practical and reflects the closest reflection of the resource requirement with a proper explanation to deliver the innovation and not inflated to cover the applicant’s organization's usual business expenses.

9. Project-specific risks
Project proposals are also reviewed on any direct or indirect risks identified either during the evaluation of proposals or dependency on 3rd parties to deliver the project.

10. Timeframe of project
We strongly prefer projects that can be completed within 12 months.

3. Are there any deadlines or funding limits? I didn’t see that mentioned on the submission form.

Unless otherwise stated, you are welcome to submit a letter of interest for project funding at any time.

4. I am looking for over $100K for my idea. Can you help me?

Every dollar EnAccess spends goes towards Open Source content, and we do not often directly fund large project amounts. So while you may submit projects of larger budgets if you are convinced there is a great fit with EnAccess, please be aware that the likelihood of receiving larger funding amounts is not particularly high.
In terms of direct project funding, EnAccess is particularly interested in funding projects of less than 40K, and in adoptions and adaptations of our currently existing Open Source tools or other relevant Open Source tools.

We may be able to help you find larger funding amounts by coming on as a partner to your project. The first step is to submit a letter of interest and explain what you need.

5. What happens after I fill out my letter of intent?

The letters of intent forms are reviewed on a first come, first serve basis. Once you’ve clicked “submit”, this is the process that takes place:


• When your application has been received by a real person, you’ll get an email confirmation that we have it in good order. This usually takes 2-5 business days.


• If the proposal is very far from what EnAccess does or if you didn’t fill out the letter of intent correctly and completely, you may not hear back at all.


• If your idea or proposal meets our co-collaboration criteria, you will receive a positive email from EnAccess asking to schedule a call to go over some details. This email may already come with a series of follow-up questions that you should be prepared to answer. At this point, we need to get your response before we move ahead. Assuming the back-and-forth communication happens rather efficiently, this part of the process can take one-two weeks. If the communication does not happen quickly, this part can end up taking longer. To move this step along, please respond promptly and completely to any emails we send.


• If the follow-up communication leads us to decide that your proposal does not meet our co-creation criteria, you will receive an email with that information (a rejection). On the other hand, if we think your proposal has potential, we will move ahead and start talking about more details.


• From this point onward, our communication will be figured out on a case by case basis.

6. What questions do you ask in the Letter of Intent?

These are the questions you'll have to answer when you submit your letter of intent. Incomplete forms will not be considered.

Section two: General FAQs

1. I am looking for a partner organisation that can help me/my team apply for a large grant. Is this something you do?​

Yes, it is. We understand that it can be easier to approach funders or grants as a joint effort, and we will consider coming along as a partner - as long as the project is totally Open Source or (in case of larger projects) if it has a relevant and significant Open Source or Open Access component.

2. I'm hesitating to submit my idea for funding support or collaboration because I'm not sure that it's "perfect" - will EnAccess give a straight "Yes" or "No", or is there a chance to hear feedback?

The short answer is that we give feedback to every applicant that has an idea for an Open Source project that benefits the Energy Access sector. Ideas that have potential to grow into something fitting will definitely be considered, and we can work together to make it fit into the EnAccess criteria. We believe the application process should be a conversation, not a gamble. In case your idea is clearly outside off our scope - for example, it has zero relevant Open Source components - it might get rejected relatively quickly. But wherever we see a chance and some potential, we can re-scope and shape the project together with you.


3. What kind of organisations do you work with on co-development and other Open Source collaborations?​

We work with startups and established companies, non-profits, individual innovators, investors, and researchers. During our screening, we’ll ask questions to assess applicants/ organisations capacity to deliver the project. We have a slight preference for companies located and run by people in economically developing countries.

4. Can my organisation submit more than one project?

Yes. We’re a small team; hence have limited capacities to perform high-quality assessments. Please consider this if making multiple submissions.

5. Can I submit a project in collaboration with partner organisations?

Yes, Open Source thrives from joint efforts and collaborations. Our engagement will be with one “lead” entity, but you are free to collaborate with partners.

6. Can I submit a letter of intent, request for assistance, or a proposal for collaboration in a language other than English?

We prefer receiving any sort of communications in English as this is the language we share in common in our Team. This facilitates and speeds up the evaluation process. However, we also speak French, Italian, and Spanish. You may submit in any of those languages as well, but be aware this might significantly delay the review and feedback process. All project documents for publication and review will need to be in English.

7. Does certification of my project have a cost? If so, how much?

Our first review when you submit a project for the certification process is always completely free. After this first review, it depends on the type of project and the quality of the project documentation. If your project meets all common standards for collaborative (Open Source) projects, we might be able to provide the certification immediately after our review. Other projects might need several rounds of review, feedback, guidance, and refining of the project and its documentation. In this case, there would be a cost related to the effort required to make the project fit the standards. We will always share our free feedback and provide an indication of the expected costs (if any).

8. What partners have you worked with in the past?

List name of all our project companies + INENSUS, + CCA+ UNCDF+ Climate Solution Consulting+ A2EI

9. Are you hiring?

The best place to check any open vacancies is our careers page. But even if you don’t see anything there - always feel free to reach out and let us know why you should work with us.

10. How are you funded? How many projects can you support each year?

Our work has been generously funded by the Mott Foundation and by the DOEN Foundation. The amount of projects we can fund each year honestly depends on a wide range of factors