Three Youth Entrepreneurs Honoured with IRENA’s NewGen Rising Stars Award


Young business leaders from IRENA’s NewGen Renewable Energy Accelerator Programme are recognised for their unique sustainability solutions at COP28.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 9 December 2023 – The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), supported by the United Arab Emirates, announced today three recipients of the newly established IRENA NewGen Rising Stars Award.

Earlier this year, IRENA, in collaboration with Social Alpha, a non-profit organisation based in India that supports social start-ups, and the Enel Foundation, a global non-profit organisation focused on supporting the development of studies and research in the energy field, launched the NewGen Renewable Energy Accelerator (NewGen) Programme. The goal of the programme is to empower youth to be active participants in the energy transition by providing them with the tools, knowledge and support needed to develop and implement their ideas.

IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera said: “Youth are vital actors when it comes to energy transformation. They are agents of change for economic growth, innovation and environmental protection. They are also some of the most vocal advocates raising awareness about the need to cut emissions, triple renewables and implement a holistic approach to climate action. Via the NewGen programme, we at IRENA have had the opportunity to witness first-hand the incredible, climate-smart, clean energy solutions young people are developing.”

While commenting on the results of the first edition of the NewGen Award, Manoj Kumar, Founder of Social Alpha said, “The climate crisis demands action, not just discussion; and innovation is a major catalyst for change. It’s time for the world to shift from talking about climate change to actively addressing it. Our hope lies in the hands of young entrepreneurs who are stepping up to lead the way in climate action. At Social Alpha, we are committed to supporting the most impactful start-ups in their lab to market journey.”

Carlo Papa, Managing Director of Enel Foundation, also added that as Enel Foundation “we are proud to serve as knowledge partner of the NewGen initiative powerfully lead by our colleagues at IRENA. Knowledge sharing, intergenerational cooperation, sectorial interplay are absolutely critical to power an effective just energy transformation.”

The first edition of the NewGen programme comprised 40 youth innovators and entrepreneurs from 20 start-ups motivated to engage with the renewable energy and climate technology markets through ideas, solutions, or novel innovations in their respective local, regional, or global communities. They benefited from a series of training, mentoring, and knowledge-sharing activities designed to scale business impact, boost youth climate impact, and help them secure investments to implement their business plans and solutions.

The IRENA NewGen Award selected the 8 best solutions from the accelerator programme and granted those entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of potential investors and investment experts. IRENA and its guest panel of judges then ultimately selected three winners from Nigeria, United States of America, Romania, India, Argentina, China, and Sri Lanka.

The winners are:

First Position: Climatenza Solar (India): A pioneering company in the realm of solar thermal technology, with a special focus on industrial applications.

Second Position: HD Photovoltaics (Argentina): A youth-lead startup developing new, affordable and sustainable building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) solutions that helps families and businesses in rural areas access affordable, safe, and sustainable energy.

Third Position: Apeiro Energy Private Limited (India): India’s first clean energy start-up developing patent pending commercially viable scalable Vertical Axis Wind Turbine technology for standalone, on-grid and microgrid energy solutions.

Read more about IRENA’s engagement with the youth.