Patrick Epaphra Ngowi
FOUNDER of Helvetic Solar
SECTOR:Renewable Energy Entrepreneur
Patrick Epaphra Ngowi is a Tanzanian entrepreneur, businessperson, environmentalist, Al Gore’s climate change reality leader and United Nation’s SDG 7 Pioneer. Patrick has founded and led several businesses over the course of his career.
Patrick Epaphra Ngowi : EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Ngowi was born in 25 January , 1985 in Tanzania. He is 37 years old. Ngowi started his first business at age 15 when he started selling top-up vouchers for mobile phones in high school. After graduating, Ngowi travelled between China and Tanzania and brought back trendy and cheap phones, and began buying inexpensive phones from low-cost manufacturers and selling them in the Tanzanian market. He enrolled at Denzhou University in China, studying renewable energy.
At the age of 15, Patrick Ngowi started his first business at $50 and later received a loan of $1,800 from his parents. while still at high school he started selling top-up vouchers. Mobile phone companies like Vodacom, Tigo, and others had only just established operations in the country and the only place to find recharge vouchers were in the shopping malls and exclusive phone shops.
There were very few distributors or super dealers in Arusha and people had to travel long distances to buy airtime. He saw a niche and raised Tsh 50,000 (about $50) from his mother and bought top-up vouchers from the big dealers.
Since he was still in high school and couldn’t devote much time to the business, he mobilized fuel station pump attendants in the local community to sell the vouchers.
He made a small margin on each sale and kept at it for the next two years. Patrick Ngowi developed his company Helvetic Solar Contractors a Tanzanian company that supplies, installs and maintains solar systems throughout the northern circuit of Tanzania. The company sells everything solar from photovoltaic panels and water heaters to battery banks, generators and back-up units.
As it is widely known, a lack of electricity is one of the most important questions on the agenda of many African governments. As for Tanzania, its electric power grid meets only 10% of the population’s electricity needs.
The problem is that the lack of electricity makes a negative impact on most companies, government agencies and wealthy families that depend on electrical generators. What Ngowi was doing when selling low-cost cell phones and traveling back and forth from China to Tanzania was learning about solar panels and renewable energy.
Ngowi realised that this was a new business opportunity that was knocking his door, so he decided to answer. Therefore, he founded Helvetic Solar Contractors, to help his country manage the energy crisis.
This little start-up was transformed into the Helvetic Group. Ngowi’s company has installed 6,000 rooftop solar systems. He also founded similar companies in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.
Helvetic Group is known to partner with The Climate Reality Project to make the renewable energy solutions more affordable and accessible for as many Tanzanians as possible. Ngowi’s non-profit social initiative, Light For Life Foundation, is known to provide free solar power to women living in the villages of Tanzania providing better access to clean renewable energy.
Patrick Ngowi Honors
Ngowi’s inspirational story has been featured and profiled on Forbes (The Young African Millionaire Lighting Up Tanzania) and listed under Forbes list of 30 under 30 Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs, He was listed by Forbes as Young African Millionaires to watch.
In 2014 he was listed by Forbes among Africa’s Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs. Through Helvetic Group with networth in the millions of dollars. Ngowi was named as East Africa’s Young Business Leader of the Year by Forbes and CNBC .He was listed among Top 100 Most Influential Africans 2013–2014 by New Africa Magazine. He was among the Top 100 Young Economic Leaders 2014–2015 listed by the Choiseul Institute of Paris, France.
His net worth has been growing significantly in 2019–2020 so it is estimated to be between $1 Million — $5 Million