Habiba Ali - Clean Energy Woman Entrepreneur

*Ndewo my people!!

**Kedụ ka ọ dị?

 

RiA is starting today a new series called FAces of Clean Energy Africa or “FACEA”. With this series, we are getting to know OUR heroes, male and females, building up Africa Renewable Energy Industry.

We  start the series by a very impressive Woman that we met you at the Clean Energy Summit in Accra. She started her company out of a passion and hunger to make a difference in her community. She deeply wanted to feel people’s pains and use technology to solve it.  Her Name: Mrs Habiba Ali.

 

INTERVIEW

Dear Mrs Ali,

It is a pleasure to be talking to you. We are honoured that you have kindly accepted to share your story with RiA.

It is a key objective for us to showcase the projects and key players that are making our young Clean Energy Industry in Africa and you are undoubtedly a rising figure. Through the next 10 questions, we will get to know you and your company a bit better. Without further due, let’s kick off.

 

  • 1- Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

I am Habiba Ali, a wife and mother of two amazing kids of 11 and 7 years of age, Founder and CEO of Sosai renewable energies company. I am warm, fun loving and passionate about the things that I believe in. I have been with the renewable energy industry for since 2005 where I started by Working with Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) as a co-founder and National Coordinator. Here I worked on the CDM project Efficient Cook Stoves for Nigeria, The Solar Lamps Assembly and sales training programme, Solar Dryers for healthy foods project and a host of others. With the knowledge and experience gathered, I branched out to handle the commercial aspects of the renewable energy industry by launching Sosai. Sosai Renewable Energies offers efficient, reliable and sustainable products for example solar lamps, solar home systems and water filters to the people of mostly the rural and peri urban communities of Northern Nigeria.

Sosai Renewable Energies offers efficient, reliable and sustainable products to the people of rural and peri urban communities of Northern Nigeria.

 

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, a Master’s degree in Banking and Finance and currently at Dissertation level of PhD in Management (Finance). I also have acquired trainings in Energy and Environment like:

  • Energy for Sustainable Development,
  • Gender in Energy and Environment
  • Formulating proposals for CDM Projects
  • Entrepreneurial Management

I am a Vital Voices Grow Fellow, A Cherie Blair Mentee 2016, a World Bank Women fellow and a Cherie Blair Road to Business Growth Fellow. I am member of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and an Interim Vice President of Renewable Energies Association of Nigeria. A member of the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air, Global Alliance for Clean Cook stoves, Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves and the Nigerian Energy Network.

I am member of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and an Interim Vice President of Renewable Energies Association of Nigeria. A member of the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air, Global Alliance for Clean Cook stoves, Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves and the Nigerian Energy Network.

Currently active as the Managing Director/ CEO Sosai Renewable Energies Company Nigeria, Sosai together with its Partners C-Quest LLC are implementing a nationwide POA for improved cook stoves in Nigeria. Sosai is currently empowering communities and businesses with solar technologies ranging from roof top solar, Solar home systems, 10Kw Micro Grids for communities, Solar Dryers and Integrated Energy Centres.

 

  • 2- What kind of Corporation is your business and what made you choose this type of business

A private limited Liability company Sosai Renewable Energies Company is a company that deals with renewable energy technologies. I chose this line of business from seeing the harm inefficient energy does to the health of people.

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  • 3- What are your company’s goals?

To ensure the adoption of renewable energies by over 50% of the target market in 5 years.

 

  • 4- What is unique about your business

I find myself answering this question a lot lately. It’s simply the fact that we want to make a difference in people’s lives so for us it’s not just about the profit but a lot more about the benefit of the technologies to the people. It needs to reach them and solve the energy need that they have appropriately. Our Social impact is key to our survival.

My business is unique because we want to make a difference in people’s lives. It is not just about the profit but a lot more about the benefit of the technologies to the people. Our Social impact is key to our survival.

 

  • 5- How many years of operation you had and how would say your business has changed?

It’s 6 business years; I have seen hype and I have seen low…. My business was a fluke of a lot of luck in the beginning. We had deals coming in and we just did them without caring much about savings, office processes, business strategies or even just ensuring that our books were well kept., But everyone was paid because most of the projects we did covered our overheads appropriately but by the time we ran out of the main project and fell face flat, I knew we should restrategise and I got involved in a lot of business development activities, trainings, fellowships and accelerators. Did we see change? A lot I promise you. We are not yet where we want to be but we are confident that the learning curve is key and has taken place and we are gradually changing and firming up our activities. But we are so far happy with the changes we see as is.

 

Habiba Ali with US Ambassador Stuart Symington, Kaduna, Nigeria
Figure 1 – Habiba Ali with US Ambassador Stuart Symington during his visit to Sosai, Kaduna, Nigeria (Image from www.sosairen.org).

 

  • 6- What are your current challenges?

To finalise our business processes and ensure that the business has a life of its own. Then we will source financing and ensure we have the appropriate technological strength.

 

  • 7- The vision of the MASI project (MATAN AREWA SOSAI INITIATIVE) is to have successful women entrepreneurs in every community in Northern Nigeria. What about the rest of Nigeria? And Africa?

It is a gradual process and we believe that once we win around our vicinity, growing will be easier so we have plans surely to spread. There is a lot of work to be done but we also need to be better equipped to handle this challenge.

 

  • 8- How do you see the future of the industry in Africa in general and Nigeria especially?

With the energy problems being envisaged, I think and strongly believe that RE is the way to go and if only our leaders and other stakeholders could come on board, the growth of the industry can ensure sustainable development globally.

 

  • 9- According to you, what is the best way to raise Awareness of Clean Energy in Africa?

Constant and targeted behavioural change programs. Relentless efforts by stakeholders in developing great products and ensuring the reach of the products is deeply felt.

 

  • 10- Do you have any advice for new women entrepreneurs getting started in the industry?

When they decide to do this business, then they should stick to doing the business and not allow themselves to be scared away by any one. They should not feel intimidated or that they are not god enough and they should handle the business with a lot of business skill and savviness.

 

Women Entrepreneurs in the Industry should stick to doing the business and not allow themselves to be scared away by any one

 

Once again, thank you for the time and honour to speak to RiA. We will remind our readers that your company website is: http://sosairen.org/ and they can reach out to you by writing to sosai@sosairen.org

Watch below a presentation of Sosai Renewables Energies Conpany.

 

Thank you

 

*Ndewo: “Good day, Welcome, Good afternoon or Good evening”

**Kedụ ka ọ dị:  “How are you”

Igbo is the principal language of the Igbo people, one of the largest ethnic group of Nigeria. According to the CIA World Factbook, Igbo people account for around 18% of a total population of 182.2 million (World Bank, 2015) or approximately 33 million people. Igbo is also a recognised minority language of Equatorial Guinea.

Featured image: Picture coming from Offigrid Nigeria.

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