MECS and Acumen partnership to accelerate clean cooking solutions

By Kate Montgomery (Acumen), Malcolm Bricknell (MECS) and Joni Cook (MECS).

Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) is partnering with Acumen in their mutual aim to accelerate the transition from biomass to genuinely clean cooking.  Acumen is a leading non-profit impact investment group that serves low-income communities in Low- and Middle-Income Countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America. 

Since 2007, Acumen has invested a total of $29.4 million in 26 early-stage off-grid energy companies. In 2017, Acumen launched its Pioneer Energy Investment Initiative (PEII) to expand its work in energy by investing in the scale-up of early-stage businesses, filling gaps in the value chain, and supporting the off-grid energy ecosystem.

Many of Acumen’s investee companies such as d.light and Burn, have pioneered the off-grid sector, opening the doors for new energy companies to find faster and more efficient solutions to improve the lives of low-income people.

Acumen’s partnership with MECS complements PEII’s Third Subsector of focus, which is appliances. It will provide support to several of Acumen’s current investees who are exploring or piloting modern cooking solutions as part of their product range. These companies may include important pioneers in the clean cooking space, mini-grid or solar home system sectors.

Acumen will provide Technical Assistance grants to portfolio companies to support their clean cooking pilots and better understand the potential for scale. Depending on the success of the pilots Acumen anticipates making additional investments, based around the needs of the company, to scale their modern cooking business models.

Based on its experience, Acumen will share insights on the type of capital that is needed to scale modern energy cooking services and the type of business models that can work successfully with a view to catalyzing further investment in the sector.

In addition Acumen will apply the Lean Data impact measurement approach to better understand the impact of modern cooking on customers.

Read more about this new collaborative partnership in the recent blog post by Acumen on scaling clean cooking solutions in East Africa here.