Lawrence Hoba is an entrepreneur, author, and intellectual property professional from Zimbabwe. He is the founder and CEO of Enrapower PLC, a renewable energy company that focuses on generation, retail innovation and distribution of solar energy solutions in Zimbabwe.
One of Zimbabwe’s main problems is access to energy for low-income communities, as prices are extremely high. This creates an enormous quantity of social and economic problems, forcing people to face several difficult challenges to improve their livelihoods.
Having witnessed this problem throughout his whole life, Lawrence felt the need to try to mitigate it, so he decided to set up Enrapower. He decided then to enroll in the Global MBA in Impact Entrepreneurship at the Catholic University of Zimbabwe, in Harare, to acquire the skills he needed to scale his business.
“One of the best things that comes along when you enroll in the Global MBA in Impact Entrepreneurship is the creation of a network of people and businesses. I have managed to do business with fellow entrepreneurs, who have bought products and solutions from us. We have also been linked to Italian businesses, who we are currently partnering with.” He stated.
But let’s learn more about his passion for solar energy.
1. How was your Business Idea born?
Enrapower was born to solve energy access challenges to low-income communities. This idea came after experiencing the challenges that people with no access to a reliable energy source go through daily, while trying to improve their livelihoods. These were mainly people in rural communities, where I was working on developmental projects. I noticed that, in most cases, the attainment of various sustainable development goals relied on access to energy and the absence of such energy meant all other developmental goals were not met.
2. How can your business improve the life of the beneficiaries of your activities?
Enrapower’s work focuses on ensuring people have access to a sustainable, affordable, and reliable energy source. By lowering the cost of accessing energy for our beneficiaries, we leave them with higher disposable incomes. Through the productive use of energy such as water pumping, refrigeration and running small machines families are growing their incomes and improving their economic status in society.
3. What has been the main challenge you had to overcome in your entrepreneurial experience?
The major challenge faced has been navigating the Covid-19 crisis, as it came just as we were scaling up our operations. We had to readjust our growth plan and stay in survival mode for the years 2020 and 2021. While we have not yet returned to our previous growth levels, we have managed to keep our doors open.
4. In your opinion, what are the main qualities an entrepreneur should have?
I believe an entrepreneur should be able to listen to others, learn quickly and change course if there is a need to.
5. Is there a person you are inspired by, i.e. an entrepreneur or a particular mentor?
I am inspired by Tony Elumelu, who has taken the first major step in supporting entrepreneurs across Africa through his Tony Elumelu Foundation. I believe this is the best way to grow the African entrepreneurial ecosystem.
6. What would you suggest to a new-born entrepreneur?
Whenever you are facing serious challenges it is okay to take a step back, but never forget why you became an entrepreneur.
7. Could you tell us a particular satisfactory moment you had in your entrepreneurial activity?
In 2016, just as I had started working on Enrapower, with nothing more than a business plan and a vision to change the energy landscape in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, I was selected for the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. This was a very satisfactory moment for me, as it was a validation of the vision I had, and it has spurred me on since then.
8. Could you tell us how the MBA has helped you and your business?
The MBA is very practical in its approach to training entrepreneurs. There is also a specific focus on meeting the specific needs of individual entrepreneurs.
Learn more on Enrapower PLC
Facebook page: @enrapower
Twitter Account: @EnrapowerPlc
Linkedin Account: @Enrapower