#Changemakers Meet Patrick Ngowi: The Inspiring Tanzanian Entrepreneur Who Built A Multi-Million Dollar Empire From Solar Energy

By Duchess Magazine

Right from teenagehood, Patrick Ngowi knew his calling – entrepreneurship, delved right in and has never looked back. Today Patrick Ngowi, CEO of Helvetic Solar Contractors, definitely needs no introduction in the entrepreneurial scene.

In his 20s he already boasted an impeccable resume having graced magazines like Forbes and being named amongst the most influential Africans. Now in his late 30s, he isn’t resting on his oars and keeps pulling big moves.

Way back at age 15, his independent streak had already led him into the world of business, after traveling to China, he began supplying mobile call credit to local vendors. At age 18 the business, which he started with a $1,800 loan from his mom and a free air travel ticket from a close friend, had yielded bountiful profits, but it wasn’t over, he made a game-changing discovery that most of his customers had no electricity to charge their phone batteries, Patrick’s eyes were immediately opened to the limitless possibilities that lay in solar energy.

He would later go on to study Renewable Energy at Denzhou University in China and then fast forward to 2007, Patrick Ngowi, keying from his discovery and experience founded Helvetic Solar, a firm that supplies, installs, and maintains solar systems throughout the northern circuit of Tanzania. The company sells everything solar from photovoltaic (a.k.a. “solar”) panels and water heaters to battery banks, generators, and back-up units.

At just 28, in 2013, he had already built an $8 million (revenues) solar energy company. That same year he was featured by Forbes as one of the 10 Young African Millionaires to watch in 2013. His company was also ranked at the top of KPMG’s East Africa’s Survey of Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies in Tanzania in 2012.

To date, the company which has since diversified still holds strong grounds boasting of an enviable clientele including the United Nations, the Tanzanian government, World Vision, and the Tanzanian Army. Helvetic Solar Contractors has since spread its customer reach to East African countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda has installed more than 2,000 solar water heating systems in government institutions and several UN projects including schools, hospitals and hotels.

Patrick Ngowi is also into promoting brands of leading manufacturers of solar panels and equipment in the USA, Europe, and China.

An avid environmentalist and philanthropist, amongst his greatest achievement, is contributing toward Tanzania’s advance in renewable energy through his Light for Light (L4L) Foundation, which offers Helvetic Solar kits that provide rural households with basic lighting and power to charge mobile phone batteries as well as giving employment to the needy in his country.

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