Ayo Alonge, [email protected]
Justice Ekeke is the founder of Solar King Industries, a start-up with core competence in building and installation of solar panels, inverters and batteries.
The entrepreneur, who is an expert and a consultant in the business, believes that the venture is very lucrative such that the inherent opportunities can be tapped by anyone, with or without an initial capital to start.
Ekeke, in this interview, however, spoke on his clientele and skill acquisition for new investors, while telling his success story in the business.
Most of my colleagues who we graduated together are not into the business. Most of them went in search of the white collar jobs. When I graduated, the job was not forthcoming and I had to look inwards. I discovered I had a talent for electric wiring and when the idea of solar came, I had to embrace it.
I studied and practised it. In fact, I did a lot more of what others were doing. And that was how I got to where I am today. This is a skill which you cannot learn in school. After my NYSC scheme, I had to team up with the local electricians and I was able to apply the practicality of the job. Installing solar powers is more related to wiring a building and so, it was very easy for me to develop myself on the job. Before we knew it, we were doing very well. Our unique method of installation and maintenance has earned us the name “Solar King”. We are a leading provider of constant electricity in Nigeria.
Yes, we do. We train people who may want to learn to work and make money for themselves. Before you go into a business, you have to know how it works and have the necessary expertise. To be good at the business, you need to know the components of the business and this has to do with the inverters, recharge controllers, batteries and inverters. Batteries are not placed on the ground.
They are placed on racks. You also have to know about wiring. Wiring is very key to the job, if not, the job will be mesed up. Once there is heat in the cable, there is power loss and that amounts to a waste.
For me, I started with almost nothing. When I completed my NYSC scheme, because I had the desire to break through, I was able to learn the skills I didn’t learn from school. I had to meet people who had the skills in solar. I got an employment with such company and started work. The first year was enough for me to pull out of the company. I resigned, despite that I was promised so many things. I had to look for more reasons to convince the owner of the company. Already, the channel is open. We have an open door policy for people who want to acquire the knowledge. I will be happy to see people doing better. We have a one-on-one training and even a VIP training. It is a full package training to make you get fully equipped in the business.
Talking about profitability, you cannot over-emphasize the profit from solar business. It is profitable, especially If you know what you are doing. Most of the jobs we get are from referrals. Nobody would refer you if you don’t do a good job. It is not just about telling them but making them come to confirm for themselves. The best way to advertise is to make your work speak for you and you see people coming. I started with almost nothing. If you have nothing, people like us would back you. It is a simple thing. Get the client and try to link the client to us and get your cut. Something has got to your pocket. Getting an office would not be the best for you. It is getting a client that becomes the first thing.
Getting clients is one thing you have to take seriously. It is either you go from door to door or you use the print media available to you. It is one of the best things to sell. Just ask someone on the road: “do you have light?” The person is likely to tell you no. You can go about selling your idea from there. We can come on your behalf and you get a percentage from the deal. I am speaking as a business owner which was incorporated as a limited liability company. I am married with kids. I liive in a beautiful house with my cars. I am taking care of all my dependants, all from the business. The business has made my name so popular. Just google the name alone and you will see the kind of answers you get. The name has gone far and wide. I am not a hungry man.
I would not like to mention names of companies in the pages of newspaper but we have done a lot of jobs for a lot of organisations. A popular bank challenged us to do a solar power inverter that would last for 72 hours. That means three days. Not many can do that.
Most would just make it last for few hours. Take note that banks close for the weekend and expect the ATM to work with the solar over the weekend. It was so amazing to them that we did it and for years now, it is still working. An average ATM machine draws about 1,000 watts and some more. Technology is dynamic and we have to keep dong our best to keep up. What you know today may be obsolete tonmorow.
That is very huge and cannot be overestimated. Our population is over 180 million people and that keeps growing higher with the few in the business. So, there is a wide room for people to acquire the knowledge in solar and start their own business. Basically, we do installation of solar energy which comprises the solar panel, inverter, charge controller and batteries. We install in homes and offices. The purpose is to have uninterrupted power because we cannot rely on electricity distribution companies (Discos).
To be frank, we are getting patronage from people who know the worth of solar. Some think solar is for the rich but it is for both the rich and the poor. We are beginning to get people that know they can afford it. Right now, we are experiencing less patronage because of the economy. As I told you, many people are getting aware. The cost varies according to the weight of power. We first do a survey of the appliances in your house.