Zimbabwe requires about 1 600 megawatts (MW) of electricity daily, but the country’s electricity body, ZESA’s five power stations at Hwange, Kariba, Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo generate less than 1 000MW. As a result, serious operational constraints have been evident. Harare Power Station has been producing 25 MW of electricity a day on average, while Hwange Power Station, the country’s largest coal-fired power plant, has been producing 265MW. Kariba is generating 285MW due to low water levels in the Kariba Dam, a situation which has reduced the group’s projected revenue. To plug the country’s electricity shortfall, the power utility imports expensive electricity from South Africa’s Eskom and Hydro Cahora Hassa (HCB) of Mozambique, worsening the power utility’s financial position.
Recognising the challenges of power in Zimbabwe which is not peculiar to the Southern African country, Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur, Lawrence Hoba set out to plug in his solution into the power problems faced by his country through Enrapower. Though he has been an entrepreneur for slightly longer, venturing into the energy sector in 2015 came from a realisation that poor energy access is at the core of most of Africa’s developmental challenges. Thus, the main drive was to build a business that increases access to a reliable energy source to mainly low-income communities and these has brought success through partnerships with various solar and other energy equipment suppliers for the purpose of servicing the energy market.
Enrapower takes a holistic approach to energy provision through creating solutions for various client level and needs by focusing on energy generation, retail, innovation and distribution (GRID) for domestic, commercial and utility-level consumer groups. This came from the realisation that the energy crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa occurs at both the micro and macro levels and solutions have to be crafted to address each group’s specific needs. As a business Lawrence and his team have largely been driven by a consistent focus on client needs, research and commitment to quality and affordability.
In 2016 Lawrence was selected for the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme and this he says was a transforming point for his business as getting on the programme enabled him to commence and finance operations. The TEF programme not only helped him with the seed capital needed for his business he says, “The TEF programme has been a life-changing encounter for myself and the business. The programme helped me appreciate the need to take a structured and systematic approach to running the business. I continually refer to the tasks we used during training to also teach my team members. The funding not only enabled us to launch our operations but also to sustain us during the most critical stages of setting up the business. We have thus been able to run a professional business due to the funding, support and training I received from the TEF programme”
With a vision to build a business that becomes the leading player in the provision of reliable and affordable energy solutions through energy generation, retail, innovation and distribution, Lawrence currently employs 4 technicians, 2 administrative staff and 2 managerial staff and has gone on to win multiple awards and recognition including been shortlisted for a grant by UKAID , nomination as a Future Energy Leader by the Zimbabwe Energy Council (2017) and a TEF Hub Lead for Zimbabwe by the Tony Elumelu Foundation (2017).
This year Lawrence plans to grow the business into a medium scale operation with fully functional departments and sufficient staff and funding. Within the year we will be scaling our solar equipment wholesale business. “We are also growing our power generation projects efforts with plans for a 25 megawatt solar plant and efforts to secure coal bed methane gas concessions in Zimbabwe. These efforts will be coupled with increasing our capital sources through borrowing and raising equity.”
Facebook: Lawrence Hoba Company page: ENRAPOWER PLC
Twitter: @lawhoba @EnraPowerplc
Linkedin: Lawrence Hoba
Phone: +263772939136/ 08644054251