IEEE Smart Village @ PowerAfrica Conference

What is ISV?

IEEE Smart Village stimulates social enterprises by providing renewable electrical systems, start-up training and ongoing support to help poor, energy-deprived communities globally build toward sustainable prosperity.

The goal of IEEE Smart Village is to engage ten Smart Village Entrepreneurs each year, support them with up to $200,000 of seed funding and help them grow a micro-utility business that will impact a million people with clean electricity, communications and quality education (Read More about ISV).


The ISV program at PAC 2021 will be distributed across sessions scheduled from the morning of the 23rd to 27th  of August. Several sessions will be open to the general body of PAC registrants while others will be limited to ISV participants.

Entrepreneurship Tutorial & Workshops
This year’s ISV program kicks off with a two-hour tutorial, in combination with other tutorial topics across many subjects of interest to PAC and ISV delegates.
Some of the topics that will be covered are:

  • Intro to Business Models – Dr. Surya Raghu
  • Intellectual Property in East Africa – Woman from the Uganda Patent Office
  • How to Bootstrap a Company  — Samantha Snabes, Past Chair IEEE Entrepreneurship
  • Overview of the comprehensive Tutorial Workshop at PowerAfrica 2021 – Dr Surya Raghu

It will focus on the many business development issues faced by the aspiring and practicing rural micro-grid operators. ISV-funded programs encourage and assist current and aspiring micro-utility developers to validate their business models and methods to scale. As many off-grid project managers will attest to, getting the hardware installed and micro-utility commissioned is the easy part. It’s after that which determines if the operation is self-sustaining and scalable. Having a good business model up-front, based on knowing products and understanding the market, is essential.

Educational Sessions
The second of ISVs three pillars is promotion of educational opportunities in the community served. Through presentations and workshops throughout the week, participants will learn to identify needs, set learning objectives, establish a curriculum, and discover resources on how to provide vocational training that creates village opportunities. The issue of digital learning technology and access for remote off-the-internet communities will also be addressed.

Enterprise Development
ISV’s third pillar is community enterprise development. Productive uses of power will be explored along with real-world case studies. The energy entrepreneurs will share lessons learned as well as the challenges encountered. ISV Volunteers, leaders and energy practitioners present their past achievements and new developments, encouraging the attendees on viable models of implementation. At ISV we acknowledge that providing electrical power to the energy impoverished is just a first step in community transformation. Stimulating and supporting the growth of local craft, trade, vocational, and community enterprises is the key to ISVs overall success. The mission is for the eradication of poverty through income generating uses of the energy provided and these sessions will involve presentations from successful social entrepreneurs worldwide.


IEEE Smart Village (ISV) co-locates a series of workshops, presentations and round-table discussions each year at IEEE’s annual POWERAFRICA CONFERENCE (PAC). Two of IEEE’s larger societies, the Power & Energy Society (PES) with 40,000+ members, and the Industrial Applications Society (IAS) with 14,000+ members joined forces to coordinate the latest international forum on clean and affordable energy pathways in support of the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs).

This year’s PAC will last 5 days from the 23rd to the 27th August, 2021 and will be held Virtually.

ISV activities will kick off on Tuesday the 23rd with all-day networking sessions, plenary sessions, exhibitions, tutorials and parallel tracks. Between the events, the ISV delegation will partake in a selection of PowerAfrica sessions and events as well as conduct its own semi-independent series of programs.

ISV New Talent Program - who can apply?

Pursue your passion! Give back to the community!

Follow your dreams and make choices which help others.

The IEEE Smart Village (ISV) New Talents Program supports talented individuals who aspire to become Smart Village Developers. Our Developers are passionate entrepreneurs working to provide electricity in the most vulnerable communities in the world.

ISV provides leadership opportunities and financial support to participate in the IEEE PowerAfrica Virtual Conference 2021 (PAC 2021) and Smart Village Workshops  August 23rd to 28th, 2021.

At the PAC2021 event, you will meet members of the ISV leadership and funded Developers that can guide you to become a Smart Village Energy Entrepreneur.  At the Workshop you will network with a generation of ISV project managers that are building and operating successful and sustainable micro-utility business across Africa and India.

Be a leader for a new generation!

The ISV program is built to help you become a leader. The ideal candidate:

  1. Understands and embraces ISV’s three pillars: Electricity, Education and Enterprise
  2. Demonstrates startup experience with success
  3. Builds respectful relationships with communities and treat them as working partners, not charity cases
  4. Establishes respectful relationships with authorities at the village, state and national levels
  5. Creates an excellent management team with business, technology, and education components
  6. Develops a clear vision of a business plan capable of reaching at least a million people in five years
  7. Foresees the ability to attract investment capital for growth after a successful pilot
  8. Envisions an ownership plan that includes and incentivizes community members as business partners
  9. Willing to collaborate with holistic partners in addressing other critical needs.
  10. Passionately dedicates themselves to tackle the daunting challenges along the way.

To apply, kindly fill this Google form.

The submission deadline is July 24th, 2021

The successful applicants will be notified of the results after May 30th. Incomplete or late application materials will not be considered. Selection decision is final, there is no appeal process. Successful applicants will need to register for the Power Africa conference themselves and will be eligible pay a special ISV reduced fee. For further information, please contact

Why Apply?

Award recipients should note that they will have to pay their own conference registration fees. As an awardee, you will be provided the ISV registration code which will give you access to ISV’s special reduced registration fee.

At the IEEE Power Africa Conference, you will meet with members of the Smart Village Leadership that can guide you to become a Smart Village Energy Entrepreneur. At the Workshop you will network with a new generation of Smart Village Entrepreneurs that are building and operating successful and sustainable micro-utility businesses across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the rest of the world. You get an opportunity to be mentored by the old ISV friends, get insights into latest sustainable business practices.

This is a highly competitive opportunity. Only a few candidates will be awarded solely determined by Smart Village based on the merits of the application and perceived need. Smart Village support will be dedicated to providing the following:

  • Purchase of a 4 day data plan to enable attendance to all the virtual conference proceedings.
  • Attendance to PAC tutorials.
  • Assistance with access to electricity for the conference period.
  • Rare opportunity to meet and greet IEEE Senior Leadership
  • Chance to take part in the “Meet the Entrepreneur” competition.
  • Avenue to present your potential project proposal for funding consideration.

Award recipients should note that they will have to pay their conference registration fees. Scholarship support will be awarded to the winners on a reimbursement basis, according to IEEE policy, subsequent to the conference upon submission of expense reports with documented receipts.

How to Apply?

This is your opportunity to “make the case” for ISV to modestly support your: 

  • Purchase of a 4 day data plan to enable attendance to all the virtual conference proceedings.
  • Attend PAC tutorials. 
  • Assist with access to electricity and power tokens for the conference period.

For the New Talents

The application package consists of:

  • Completed application material with signed release form and three essays
  • Professional resume
  • One reference letter scanned, with contact information from past or current professional supervisor or mentor
  • Scanned official transcript of highest level of education achieved and/or currently in progress

New Applicants/ Talents are to apply online. Kindly complete this form.

The submission deadline is July 24th, 2021.

The successful applicants will be notified of the results by August 4th, 2021. Incomplete or late application materials will not be considered. Selection decision is final, there is no appeal process.

What does the program include? 

  • Participation in all group Smart Village workshops, events and activities
  • An opportunity to pitch your project ideation to the IEEE and ISV Leadership
  • An opportunity to participate in the Meet the Entrepreneur competition.
  • Visibility to key power industry stakeholders
  • Insights into latest renewable energy technologies and market access initiatives
  • Insights into financing opportunities and fundraising avenues.

For the Old Friends: 
Are you planning to join us virtually? Although you will be registering directly with the conference, we would like to update our database and would appreciate your completing a simplified Old Friends form. At the end of the form, you will be provided an opportunity to request modest financial support (see above New Talents).

  • Please apply by completing this form.


  • If you are participating in the “Meet the Entrepreneur” video competition, you must be registered to the conference and complete a New Talent or Old Friend form.
  • If you would like to view and vote on “Meet the Entrepreneur” video submissions, you must be registered to the conference.
  • Remember, joining us virtually will also provide you a rare opportunity to  present your potential project proposal to ISV leadership for funding consideration. Participating virtually affords you a very unique chance to showcase your project across ISV leadership all at one time.

IEEE Smart Village, all of its programs, projects, events, and volunteer support, is totally funded by generous donations from  both within and outside of the IEEE. By submitting your application, you understand and agree that your information may be shared by the IEEE Foundation, and others in an effort to solicit support of your travel and conference-related expenses.


The “Meet the Entrepreneur” competition is an opportunity to pitch your ideas to the IEEE Smart Village community. This video pitch competition, in view of the ‘decade of action’ aimed at driving change between 2020 and 2030, invites individuals with original and innovative approaches to current world problems. These projects should have great potential to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in line with IEEE Smart Village’s three core pillars i.e. energy, education and enterprise development. This is in line with the IEEE Mission of Advancing Technology for Humanity.

What Do We Require of You?
Just send a brief video (videos longer than 7-minutes will be automatically rejected) showcasing your exciting fast-growing startup with local or global market ambitions. Show us your field experience and provide us with an insight into how you execute your business strategy. We particularly encourage proposals for competitions from emerging areas or new technologies for ISV interdisciplinary topics to attract a significant cross-section of the group.

We recognize that everyone is a gold medal winner in their own way, so we will strive to identify and highlight the different unique skill sets exhibited in the various submissions. The criteria used to judge the videos will be based on whether there is a story narration, the clarity in flow of thoughts, the audience’s reaction, visual appeal, overall impression of the narrative, how compelling is the idea and finally, attention to detail.

There will be a total of 5 awards, $500 award each in the categories of:

  • “Best overall production” – aka “Academy Awards or Best Picture” highest quality video, audio, lighting, informative and entertaining. Overall a great production) – The ideal candidate will have a chance to produce, direct or create other videos for Smart Village. This criterion is not quite focused on the idea but the effort put into making the video presentable.
  • “Most likely to succeed” – aka – “Best Screenplay” – Regardless of the quality of the video produced, the ideal project appears to be a project/program with best chances of success if it were to be funded and supported. The ideal candidate would be in a good position for future ISV funding consideration. They are a potential candidate to evaluate for other ISV support applications. They could also be a script-writer for other projects/programs to be videotaped.
  • “Most Charismatic Delivery” – aka “Best Actor” – This recognition will be awarded to the best story teller or narrator or one who looks best “on camera” This person will have the chance to be the future “voice” of Smart Village … Maybe be an on-camera spokesperson or provide voice-over narration on other ISV videos.
  • “Best Planned Project” – aka”Best Production Design” – This recognition will be awarded to the candidate who has the most financially thought out, most sustainable project or program proposal. Their project has the real potential to go to scale and reach hundreds of thousands of people in the near future.  A project or program that can be replicated by others and expanded, this would serve as a replicable model for other energy entrepreneurs.
  • “Best Technical Advance”– aka “Scientific & Technical Award” – This could be an actual hardware/software project or program, or a conceptual/pilot or wild idea. In effect it could be a great microgrid installation or a new concept for a technical solution that needs to be developed.

Winners of the ISV Meet the Entrepreneurs categories will automatically qualify for the IEEE Entrepreneurship / UN-MGCY Video Pitch Competition at G-STIC 2021.

Students, researchers, companies, and individuals will compete in three different categories: ideation, founded start-ups, and mature companies. Each category supports IEEE’s mission of “Technology for the Benefit of Humanity” and the UN MGCY’s focus on people-and-planet centered innovation, giving participants a chance to contribute to global efforts towards the SDGs.

If selected, the winners in each category will be invited to attend G-STIC 2021 in Brussels, Belgium to receive their award.

In plain terms, the additional benefits include:

  • Opportunity to earn a $500 prize in 5 categories.
  • Showcase your project to leadership of IEEE Smart Village
  • Introduce and solicit support for your project from IEEE and other funders
  • Get feedback from your peers who are doing similar projects across Africa
  • Demonstrate your on-camera and off-camera video skills
  • Be featured on the ISV website and other IEEE media channels

All submitted videos will be judged by peers (co-entrepreneurs), the Academy Awards are selected by the “Academy members.” ISV is following the same process. All registered ISV delegates to the conference are invited to view and vote on each video submission.

Videos will be released for viewing at the start of the conference (August 25th). Votes will be tabulated during the conference and the winners in each category will be announced on Friday the 28th.
During the assessment, the parameters to be considered will include Impact, originality and relevance to ISV three pillars. Aspects like humanitarian and/or positive social effects are particularly encouraged this year.

Video submission deadline is August 16th, 2021 (midnight GMT) . The videos of the competition will be made available shortly before the conference for your peers to review and vote.


  • Video links from only YouTube and Vimeo are accepted.
  • Please title your video this format:
    • “Meet the Entrepreneur 2021 – Your Full Name – Organization Name – Country”
    • Submit the Video link through this