On Wednesday, October 11, 2023, Oswald Dundas emerged as the winner of Mercury International’s Freetown Pitch Night, securing a grant prize of $5000. Dundas impressed the judges with his innovative idea of harnessing renewable energy from seawater to tackle the challenges of expensive and unreliable electricity supply in Sierra Leone. This initiative, which Dundas initiated in 2018, aims to provide affordable power, particularly to those living in rural areas where access to electricity is limited.
Dundas highlighted the significance of his solution, stating, “Electricity is very expensive, and recently the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authorities (EDSA) have increased the tariff. However, water is always available, and if we can utilize it to generate power, it will be affordable for everyone.”
According to the World Bank, only 23 percent of Sierra Leone’s population currently has access to electricity, primarily in urban areas. Dundas hopes to make a significant impact by reaching over 30,000 people across the country with his innovative energy solution within the next five years.
The Freetown Pitch Night, in partnership with Mercury International, awarded a $25,000 grant to support Sierra Leonean startups in 2023. Dundas competed against five other entrepreneurs who presented diverse ideas, including skincare products and educational support.
Martin Michael, the Managing Director of Mercury International, emphasized the company’s commitment to supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem as part of their corporate social responsibility. This initiative complements their previous efforts in building schools, offering scholarships, subsidizing medical expenses, and contributing to tree planting in Freetown.
The previous winners of Freetown Pitch Night were Emily Fanday and Franklyn Momoh. Two more pitching events will be hosted by Mercury International and Freetown Pitch Night this year, and interested participants are advised to stay updated on Freetown Pitch Night’s social media channels for announcements.