WOMEN IN POWER INTERVIEW: “Divaine Growth Solutions is running an 18-month Female Development Programme focusing on the emancipation and empowerment of women owned businesses within the energy sector”
Exclusive interview with Sindi Mzamo, Director at Divaine Growth Solutions and valued member of the African Utility Week Advisory Board and an official event ambassador.
Let's start with some background on your journey in the energy sector and Divaine Growth Solutions.
My journey started as a Chief Operating Officer and Head of Marketing of the EDISON POWER GROUP, as the first and only woman among the five directors on the board of the Edison Power Group. One of my roles was to critically influence the overall charge over strategic planning, quality systems, operations, management and other full leadership responsibilities of electrical installation enterprise. My vision has always been to break new ground for South Africa’s black people, particularly women in the business and economic arenas particularly in the energy sector.
My role at Divaine Growth Solutions is a directorship role and we are an organisation with vision to facilitate and implement 2030 sustainable development goals. Our focus is on clean and affordable energy, gender equality, consultancy, project management. As a black female organisation we are committed to black economic empowerment and seek to commit Divaine Growth Solutions’ resources where appropriate, to further this cause.
I personally seek to be a role model for more active participation of black women in business leadership roles in South Africa and within the energy sector.
Any particular projects in the energy and infrastructure sectors you are involved in that you are currently very excited about?
We are working with our stakeholders in off grid projects within the Western Cape and North West, that is something in the pipeline and we are excited about and looking forward to finalise.
Any success stories/case studies you can share?
Our success story as a women owned business is an ability to be part of the Association of Municipal Electricity Utility Women in Business from its inception up until now, we have seen transformation within the sector and we are still looking more. We will definitely share the case studies in due course we are currently working on exciting projects.
Where in Africa are you active?
At the moment from an infrastructure project point of view we are in South Africa. However, with the gender equality - female development we are working with other SADC countries in ensuring that women are empowered and supported with the energy sector.
What is your vision for smart energy in South Africa? And on the continent? What are the main challenges in your view?
South Africa is now facing increasing economic challenges with a changing electricity landscape. The national drive for lower carbon generation options including renewable energy and distributed generation combined with greatly improved efficiency on the demand side should have an intelligent network capability. Renewable energy and smart meters are a perfect solution for a smart energy solution in South Africa.
Despite Africa’s huge sustainable energy potential, it still faces a serious power crisis, which has crippled efforts to increase the manufacture of consumer goods and industrial equipment. Smart Energy is the solution to the energy crisis in the continent. The challenges are technical, institutional and socio economic challenges that relate to regulatory frameworks, lack of integration and a lack of strong business cases and a lack of incentives amongst the owners and end user for flexible consumption.
What can be done to attract more women to this sector?
Divaine Growth Solutions is currently running an 18 month Female Development Program focusing on emancipation and empowerment of women owned businesses within the energy sector. The vision for the program is to provide needed support to these SMEs from industry related information, access to market, access to financial information, network and possible venture opportunities with well established businesses which will address the BBB-EE. I think having a program like this will not only encourage the current women in the sector but will also attract the upcoming young women leaders to pursue careers within the energy space.
What are you most looking forward to at African Utility Week in May?
Outcomes that will address electricity poverty on the continent. A Women Programme driven by AUW project managed by Divaine Growth Solutions that will look at Women Executives across the continent with the utilities and companies affiliated to AUW. A commitment by President Cyril Ramaphosa to enforce women empowerment in the sector across the continent working with his colleagues, the Presidents of other countries and to be a champion in South Africa.
Anything you would like to add?
All conference resolutions need to be followed up and also have CEO Forum sessions across the continent follow ups on what was agreed upon at the conference. We can call it the AUW CEO forum and have sessions in different countries and project manage it on behalf of the AUW. Next year the women agenda must be part of the plenary, not a side line event, so that we can engage with the sector and have targets on how to resolve the glass ceiling matter with women executives and have commitments from the private sector.