Uninterrupted power supply is something we were supposed to have in Nigeria by 2020, according to the famous Vision 2020. 2020 is here and we are still struggling with constant blackouts.
In a recent interview with the founder of Green Era Technologies, Gift Muoneke, one of the finalists at The Mentor Matchup Challenge 3.0; we discussed the impact of our collaborative efforts on our economy.
Kindly introduce yourself and the inspiration behind Green Era Technologies.
My name is Gift Muoneke, a student engineer with 5 years experience in power systems engineering. I am the Co-founder and CEO of GreenEra Technologies. The epileptic nature of Nigerian electricity affects our productivity as a nation. Solving this issue has been our motivation so far.
Unstable power supply is a major problem in Nigeria. What role does Green Era intend to play in the future of solar energy in Nigeria and how?
We aim to be the leader in providing electricity solutions using solar technology. We are beginning with the people below the pyramid. Solar energy is the future of renewable energy. We envision being a major supplier and distributor of energy to homes and businesses in Nigeria. We started this with our pilot project which entailed supplying constant electricity to about 5 businesses for two weeks. We keep expanding within the border of our resources and scale to other communities.
There are a number of solar energy companies actively playing in the power sector. What makes your company unique?
Our business model is what distinguishes us:
- Our users don’t need to worry about maintenance.
- They don’t need to worry about any upfront cost.
- They get two days payment holidays before payments begin.
What are the challenges you face in business and how do you mitigate them?
Some customers are skeptical about this technology until they see someone else using it. We have scaled through this hurdle through referrals. We do little or no marketing in our immediate environment.
The other challenge is finance – as more users enroll on our platform, we need to upgrade our system to accommodate their power needs. This is challenging because we are currently bootstrapping.
Green Era Technologies was one of the finalists at the recently concluded Mentor Matchup Challenge 3.0. Can you share your experience and some of the lessons learnt during the program?
Meeting passionate entrepreneurs that are solving local issues was quite refreshing. We were matched to mentors who shared their entrepreneurial journey with us. Real life scenarios were discussed. I learnt a lot, ranging from business strategies to legal practices as relates to business.
What lessons have you learnt so far in your entrepreneurial journey?
I have learnt patience and the ability to forge ahead despite rejections.
What are Green Era Technologies’ goals for 2020? What practical steps are you taking to achieve them?
Our goal is to power over 2,000 homes and businesses using solar technology – making the world a greener place. Another goal is financial inclusion and we are achieving this by implementing effective business models. Currently, we operate through the direct sales and pay-as-you-go models.
What advice can you give to aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals who are considering towing this path?
Do it afraid. Execution is key. The renewable energy market is large enough for everyone. Just make sure you validate your market and begin the grind.
How can people who are interested in purchasing your product reach you?