Innovative business solutions to improve the productivity of the sardine fishing industry in Tanzania.
An international jury of experts announced Millennium Engineers as the 2022 EEP Africa Project of the Year for Start Up category. The company is a local, woman-owned and led renewable energy start-up specialising in solar and wind technologies. By providing innovative business solutions, the company improves the productivity of the low-income sardine fishing industry on Lake Victoria in Tanzania.
The company takes a user-centred approach to understand the challenges of a particular business value chain, industry or community when developing a solution. On Lake Victoria, the company is replacing pressurised kerosene lamps and LED lead acid battery powered lamps for night fishing with solar-powered LED lamps to improve health and reduce respiratory problems to fishers while reducing their operational costs and significant levels of GHG emissions. It is establishing sardine drying facilities that use a combination of solar and wind power, which significantly reduces the drying cycle of sardines while improving its quality and shell life. Through capacity building and skills training more women are integrating into the fishing value chain.
“We are honoured to work with EEP Africa. Your trust in us gave the push to go forward and invited also new investors. We also had good conversations when we experienced challenges. We experienced our relationship to be not just investee and investor relationship, but a closer partnership with joint targets.” Diana Mbogo, Managing Director, Millennium Engineers
In 2022, Millennium Engineers relocated from Dar es Salaam and establish offices in Mwanza, allowing them to be closer to the two project sites they acquired and to establish one site for operations. They procured 500 solar fishing lamps and installed two solar drying facilities, agreeing to sell lamps to 20 boat owners at their site areas and mobilizing 20 fish traders for the sardine drying service. Overall Millennium Engineers provided 30 new employment opportunities to the local communities while expecting to impact a total of 756 fishermen by the end of 2024. The year culminated in Diana Mbogo presenting the project at a high-level Ministerial panel session at COP27 and securing further co-financing of 150k & 200k euros from DOEN Foundation and Rural Energy Agency.
“Millennium Engineers stood out as they have a holistic approach and tackling the entire supply chain in a challenging market. They work with technology providers to create a service offering that is fit for purpose. The team engages with a wide range of stakeholders, from the fishermen on the lake to politicians in the capital and different financiers. They have demonstrated an innovative approach to address several energy poverty needs in the industry, from production/fishing to processing.” Sam Grant, Senior Director, Clean Energy Access, Clasp
The Project of the Year award celebrates outstanding achievement during the past year in terms of innovation, delivery, impact and/or fundraising by an EEP Africa portfolio company. This year the award was once again split into two categories – Start Up and Scale Up. Project of the Year Start Up seeks to recognize a company that is still at an early stage but succeeding in innovation or opening the market.