Profile: Neema, Tacode -East Africa

Tuesday September 12th, 2017 - Smart Villages

What are you currently working on? For how long? Can you give a brief overview?

  • Still working on it but up to right now there isn’t much progress – limited scope with UTT . Have recent undergone an exhibition in January at UDEC – worked on their prototype to refine their idea. Still in close contact with the rest of her colleagues.

What inspired you to start working in off-grid energy?  Are there any key people who inspired you to work in this area?

  • Something she was just interested in. Nyarandu – made an application known as Shulex – provide materials for primary and secondary students – for free all you do is sign up – paperless systems.

Have you lived in an off-grid community?  What is something you want people with reliable energy to know about growing up off-grid?

  • Few years back, at home when they were still building – there was no electricity in their area – were using batteries or chargers – Kimara Kitunda – near the airport. The area is very interior – electricity is not yet established. Took a year for electricity to arrive. By that time, she was in form one – coming home from school to home at night can’t really study – were using battery which were providing electricity – doesn’t last for a long time. We shouldn’t take electricity for granted. Small battery costs 80,000 – 100,000. Not everyone could afford batteries to light their homes – they had to use candles.

What are the main things you have learned while working as an entrepreneur in off-grid energy? Your biggest success and biggest failure? Key epiphanies or turning points?

  • It is important to choose a business idea that you are passionate about and think realistically about what your business might look like. It is difficult to search for funds. Funding can be a serious hindrance to business.
  • Biggest success – It has always been a dream of mine to go to university – the second is to have a company of her own. Right not on the way to that which is very exciting.

How did the DAREnterprisers course help you?

  • When I entered the course, she did not have much experience working with a lot of people – she learned how to handle different characters. Especially people with a lot of temper. A lot of knowledge about business in general.
  • I didn’t really enjoy waking up early to start the course. In the summer, I will be working with the entrepreneurship team to support students.

What has surprised you most about working as an off-grid energy entrepreneur?

  • Never expected the course to be so interactive – that you can learn in an interactive manner – speaking to people from different areas.
  • It was fun using games to learn.
  • Surprised by the business idea itself – can cow dung produce anything useful. And people’s perception on the idea.

-What has been most difficult/most rewarding?

-If you could share some wisdom with yourself 3 years ago, what would it be?  

-Where do you hope to be 3 years from now?

  • I will be finished with university- hope plans of having a business would be already settled. Hope to have own company and business also with Tacode.