ENERGY ENTREPRENEURSHIP INTERVIEW: “Don’t wait - start now. Research and adapt new, emerging technologies in creating energy solutions.“

1)    Let’s start with the background to GreenWize Energy – what was the impetus for founding the organisation?
GreenWize Energy was founded to advance African designed and developed energy solutions within Africa. It was founded on the realization that most renewable energy solutions being implemented in Africa are developed out of Africa, and that local innovations remain untapped. The founders of GreenWize wanted to build on the many years of experience working a program with local youths to develop simple solar lamps called Mwangabora, so that GreenWize donates part of its profits to enhance sustainability of such community oriented programs.

2)    Please explain more about your different projects?
Greenwize Energy focuses on Renewable energy products and solutions- Mwangabora solar solutions for households, small businesses, street lighting and institutional cook stoves.

GreenWize has also developed its custom PAYG system that it seeks to license to various companies interested in using the technology in selling their products to consumers who pay over period.

With the ever-increasing energy costs for manufacturing companies, businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations, GreenWize has been among pioneers in conducting energy audits, and providing custom advisory to clients to reduce their energy consumption.

When you think about Green Energy in Africa, you need a partner with local experience – a partner who has a team of personnel – in Engineering, Project Planning and Management and Financial Management. At GreenWize, we offer a unique Project Consultancy experience- we have a team of relatively young but extremely innovative people who would move your energy project to the next phase beyond other solutions in the market.

GreenWize has developed an all in one EnergieRapide energy hub that will generate power from solar and wind, incorporate water purification system, refrigeration as part of its distributed energy solutions.

3)      Any specific success story that you would like to highlight for us? How has this changed people’s lives?
GreenWize energy solutions are; helping manufacturing companies reduce their energy costs and become more move towards green production, helping rural households access clean energy, and helping develop new locally designed solutions that provide clean water and clean water to communities. These solutions collectively help reduce carbon emissions, improve incomes, enhance productivity, and create employment for young people.

4)      How do you see the future of renewable energy on the continent?
Africa is ripe for renewable energy. The cost of various forms of renewable energies is coming down and this is an opportunity to tap and leap frog the expensive non-renewable sources. Africa needs to explore more of the huge potential in Geothermal, solar and wind.  Decentralized energy systems as well as using use of block chain, AI and mobile money can be applied effectively to ensure cheaper and more efficient access to renewable energy which can then help solve food security, healthcare, education, access to clean water and other challenges.

5)      What is your message to young entrepreneurs who want to get involved in the energy industry?
Don’t wait - start now. Research and adapt new, emerging technologies in creating energy solutions.

6)      What are the investment obstacle or challenges in the sector currently in your view?
Lack of adequate patient capital to de-risk energy projects- many of which require longer period to be profitable- is a major hindrance.

7)      Are there lessons that the rest of the continent can learn from Kenya?
Kenya is effectively developing a mix of energy sources- there is huge strive in wind energy, solar energy as well as Geothermal, that compliments the hydro-generated utility.  Kenya has also been on the forefront of advancing Pay As You Go energy solutions for rural households.

9)      What are you most looking forward to at the event?
I look forward to meeting various stakeholders at the AUW and learning their interventions in different contexts.

10)  Anything you would like to add?

It’s time for governments to also give incentives to local innovations and entrepreneurs in energy, access to water and agriculture, instead of always focusing on the Foreign Direct Investors.

More about Evans Wadongo:

Evans Wadongo is a Co-founder at GreenWize Energy, which is advancing cutting-edge African-designed renewable energy solutions in Sub Saharan Africa. He is also the founder of Sustainable Development For All, an organisation that has helped lift thousands of mostly rural people out of poverty. Mr. Wadongo is also the Chairman of Wadson Ventures, an angel impact investment firm working with promising African start-ups. At 19, he designed the first-ever African designed solar lamp, dubbed MwangaBora®. Evans has received several global awards including CNN Hero, Outstanding Social Entrepreneur in Africa, Pan Commonwealth Youth Award for excellence in Development, and the Mikhail Gorbachev Award for Man Who Changed the World. He has also been named among Africa’s ’30 under 30’ best young entrepreneurs by Forbes, listed among top 35 innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review, and named among 20 Men who will shape the next 20 years by UK's Esquire magazine. Wadongo grew up in a rural village in western Kenya before earning a BSc. (Honors) in Electronic and Computer Engineering from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.