Tell us a few words about the founders and how the idea came
The founders are Shehu Aliyu, Idris Mohammed, Mukhtari Abdulkadir and I (Ibrahim Mohammed Aboki). With exception of Mukhtari Abdulqadir- who is a trained mechanical engineer, we are all farmers and were born to families of farming activities. Idris Mohammed is trained agriculturalist, Shehu Aliyu is an Electrical Engineer, and I am a Geographer and had acquired a diploma in ICT, Renewable Energy (Solar Power) and Education respectively. Three of us have the previous years’ experience in Solar Pumps Installation and all of us now have two years’ and five months experience in Solar Pump installation in our company. Mukhtari worked with Sigmatech for 16 months, Shehu worked with Embeded Solution for three year and I had my internship at Sigmatech Nigeria Limited.
Most of the dry season farmers in Nigeria use petrol consuming machine to draw up water for their irrigation purposes, and the price of petrol is always increasing, which is now a threat to the profit the are making, production capacity and global warming. With these background, we started thinking about the way out, which is changing from petrol-consuming machine to mobile solar power technology.
Your products and services
Our services are: Installing solar pumps for group of small holder farmers, so that it will be serving the watering need of their farms, using our own fabricated inverter which reduces the panel’s & battery load and the cost of installation in the end.
We also install solar pumps for those who bought their own, and in return, we charge them some amount. We also serve as consultants for those who may need their solar pumps to be fixed when it is faulty or so.
Your success factors
Our success factors are: At initial stage, we have tested our market and got 68% market acceptability. After launching our services, in just six months we have further recorded 87% market acceptability.
Our own version of solar is also different. Different in the sense that we fabricate our own different inverter which is best suit to our environment than the foreign one. It reduces the number of panels & batteries required for a particular pump installation; thus it reduces the cost of solar installation, increases the farmers’ profit and increases the level of their production as well.
Right now we have installed 6 solar pump and many clients have subscribed to it, and from the survey we conducted the demand of solar pumps is very higher than the supply.
Your factors differentiating and disruptive compared to the existing
Our differentiating factor is the local inverter we fabricate, which is more strong than the foreign one. We also group farmers and make them manage one solar pump, and pay the charging amount together, which they always find cheaper and easier.
They also sell, install and do consultancy services on solar power. But they do not fabricate their own new version of Inverter which will reduce the cost of installation and that which fits our community best than foreign one. Thus, most of their customers are rich people and local farmers can’t afford to pay for their solution. Our own is affordable for small-holder farmers, who constitute over 90% of Nigerian farmers.
Our disruptive factor is lack of adequate financial resources to supplement many communities (small-holder farmers) and people’s believe that using petrol consuming machine is the best and more reliable.
Your business model (how do you make money?)
We are making money by charging our customers a small taken amount at the end of every month, usually 18,000 naira only through subscription. By paying this for sixty months according to the bond, the possession of solar will be transferred to farmers completely. They pay through monthly subscription.
A few words about your competitors
Our major competitors include: Sigmatech Nigeria Limited, Universal CCT Nigeria Limited & Embedded Logic Solution. They are well equipped with both human and financial resources and are located at North’s commercial city of Kano.
Unlike us, they are very big enough and have adequate human and financial resources than we do. They are all situated at the most busy and commercial city of Kano and are highly networked with government agencies and other mega customers.
Their products/services are purely company made, while we fabricate the locally made inverter, which eases the process of acquiring and installing Solar Power.