By Amanda Ellen Nicola Jojo
ACCESS to energy is recognized as an essential for the majority of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as such solar power is disruption at its finest. According to SDG7 focus must be on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The Entrepreneurial Magazine caught up with the Managing Director of Litecristal Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd Johannes Kudakwashe Simau whose story is a testament that there is a tremendous potential to create employment and entrepreneurial breaks in the clean energy sector. Simau secured funding for construction of a solar farm from a United Kingdom based renewable company called Naano Energy which is led by Tony Fiddy.
Below are the extracts of the interview.
What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?
I have enjoyed the challenges and the processes that I have faced during the time as it has taught me that nothing comes on a silver platter, no one will do anything for free to you above to remain strong no matter how hard things are.
How did you decide where to establish your company?
As a young man from Zimbabwe and in Zimbabwe, I decided to start a business in my country. So that I can create jobs for my fellow brothers and sisters.
Funding is a lifeblood of any corporate how did you raise your funds?
We made applications and met some Good Samaritans who connected us to our investors.
Unpack your business relationship with Naano Energy. Is there an agreement in place and when was it signed?
We have signed an MOU to start the development of the project.
What are the key takeaways of the agreement and when is construction set to start?
The agreement is that Naanovo will finance the whole project and they will bring in the technology
How big is this project and how much will it feed into the national grid?
The project will feed 100MW into the national grid and its worth $120 Million USD.
Take us through the implementation. If all goes according to plan, what is set to happen, including the time frames?
We are conducting Viability reports once complete team Naanovo UK comes through and we start with the groundwork.
How much employment is it set to create for locals?
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to become an entrepreneur?
My advice is to stay focused no matter what the world throws at you above all remain humble. Always picture yourself as an elephant when you decide to do big projects don’t worry about pigs giving birth every 3 months you are pregnant and as we know elephants take 24 months before putting to bed and when they do the earth shakes.
Human capital is vital in any company set up. What selection criteria did you use to hire your team?
I look at their passion mostly. I have discovered lately that we are choosing careers because we had that someone made money in that career or we chose that career because our parents forced us to take that program either they failed for some reason to take that career path and now they want to live that through their kids. Mostly they are now in it for the sake of making money not that they are passionate about it, that is why many companies are failing to grow.
How did you establish your culture?
We made sure we kept our focus on the price and never lost track of what we wanted to achieve.
How long did it take you to find success?
It took me over 5 years to find success
What are you working on now?
All I can say is watch the space for God is preparing something amazing.
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
Challenge I had to overcome at the beginning included raising funds, getting the right people to work with, fear of the unknown, and being told you cannot make it among others.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?
I have learnt not to trust people too much in business.