Profile: Elifadhili Shaidi – East Africa

5. ElifadhiliWhat is your off-grid energy business?

The business is the production of affordable efficient stoves which uses less fuel to produce more heat.

Can you give a brief overview?

The problem we identified is that most stoves produced locally dissipate large amounts of heat to the surroundings, do not focus the energy to the pan, and have incomplete combustion of the fuel. While the produced efficient stoves are too expensive for people to buy, some people complained about their durability and the poor marketing ability of the manufactures.

Therefore we will design and produce stoves which focus the heat to the pan, insulates the heat from flowing outside, has better ventilation for complete burning thereby utilizing less fuel and wont produce smoke and a better marketing strategy.

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

I was inspired by Dr. Quintone Mgani from University of Dar es Salaam, whom taught me about renewable energy and how it can be used to solve the energy gap in Tanzania. Also I have passion for science and an interest in renewable energies.

Therefore I took an initiative of opening a company with two of my friends whom we are currently producing briquettes and have a business plan of bio-diesel which we will begin production once we have enough capital to fund it.

Have you lived in an off-grid community?  If the answer is yes, what is something you want people with reliable energy to know about growing up off-grid?

No I have never lived in an off-grid community though I have experienced power output which can last  up to weeks. For those with reliable energy I would like them to know that its very troublesome to have power which one is not sure when it will go off. Since once its off it affects nearly all production activities and hence services in that area which uses electricity will not be available at that time, spoilage of stuff in refrigerators if power is gone for long and many others.

What is the most important thing you have learnt so far by being on the off-grid energy track?

Most important thing learned is how to properly plan your business idea and the properties a business should have. This I learned during the ideation stage. This knowledge I used it in the current business I am doing of briquettes and bio-diesel production.

What are some of the challenges you have faced when coming up with an off-grid energy business?

The challenges are

1) insufficient technical data

2) no experience in usage of many of the techniques we learned so far. Therefore requiring time to learn them so as to produce a reasonable product. Example I do not know about AUTOCAD and I need it  for some demonstration hence need to learn and master it fast so as to use it.

Where do you hope to be 3 years from now?

I hope my company I established will be running on its own and has a brand name which is known throughout the energy sector.

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