Graham Knight and starting DIY Solar businesses
Thank you for your persistence with DIY Solar (and our Minciu Sodas
lab). It's a meaningful mystery to solve, what does it take to start a
business? both in Africa and elsewhere around the world. I know that
for my own business, Minciu Sodas, there are so many mental hurdles of
my own and others, too. And also certain realities that aren't
immediately apparent. Many people aren't naturally sellers, and the
pressure of poverty doesn't seem to make us sellers, either. But it is
part of entrepreneurship and so I think a good skill for all of us to
develop, at least a little, as independent thinkers. So this obstacle
for DIY Solar is one reason why DIY Solar is very valuable for our lab
as it's a way for us to support our participants so that we grow as
sellers and entrepreneurs. In that way, it can be a stepping stone for
larger projects. Folabi Sunday at Ago-Are is an example. If Folabi can
sell DIY Solar panels, then he can sell Internet cafe services, too, I
think. So that kind of support (or investment) in personal development
can be key for developing sustainability.
Fred Kayiwa's email is fdkayiwa AT yahoo.com Fred is, I think, a great
entrepreneur, always earning money helping others at the Internet cafe
learn different skills. I would focus on people like Fred who are good
sellers, and then they can coach others. I like Peter Ongele too,
because he is frank and gave important feedback and ideas. Peter sent a
business plan which we didn't have time to review but should. One of
the challenges is that the person who may have the aptitude to sell DIY
Solar may typically (I imagine like Peter) work at a level of income
higher than average and so it would be better if they helped others make
a living from selling rather than try to make a business of it directly
We've learned a lot about DIY Solar this last year and I think we can
keep at it and get these businesses going.
Samwel, Peter, Fred, Folabi and all, I ask for your advice.
I also alert us to your interest in mud stoves. I have set up this page:
I encourage you and all to work at our wiki. No password is required!
+370 699 30003
> Hi Andrius,
> Interesting chat yesterday!
> I would like to elaborate on my response to your question to me
> where I replied that people are reluctant to try new devices, etc.
> There is more to it than that but, as you know, I try to avoid
> upsetting people!
> It is been a major mystery during these last 15 years that so few
> people have tried, let alone succeeded in starting DIY Solar projects.
> The fact is that virtually all projects have been due to the efforts
> of Westerners in Africa.
> Peter O was an good example where an African who had tested the mobile
> charger but refused to take advantage
> of this to start a business. *Like nearly everyone his attitude is
> that a business requires capital!*
> As he was pleading poverty I sent him gratis some larger pv modules to
> do what he wished with.
> Instead of selling them for food he used at least some to make a pv
> panel for his mother!
> I just can't get people to accept that if you have a novel product you
> can sell it without any publicity, shop, etc!
> P.S. I was supposed to contact Fred-Uganda but cannot find his email.
> I found his Wiki but there is everything there but that!
> Do let me know if you come across anyone who knows anyone connected
> with mud stoves