Momentum enables communities to take back their power: SA entrepreneurs light up townships with solar energy
August 10, 2021
Over the last decade, the whole country has been intermittently and rotationally plunged into darkness as we all suffer the ongoing effects of load shedding. While some may see this as a disaster, Pulser Kelebogile Moloi knows that disaster is simply a foot in the door for opportunity.
You see, Moloi knew that dependency on the national power grid was perhaps the biggest grudge purchase on everyone’s budget – but what if those based in townships only had to be dependent on the sun, to see in the dark?
Together with her business partner, Omphemetse Modimoeng, these visionary entrepreneurs decided to take back the power by establishing Puri Solutions. This innovative solar solutions company, which is 100% proudly black female-owned, offers an assortment of high quality solar products for rural, residential and commercial businesses across South Africa. They do everything from supplying, installing, maintaining and looking after solar power solutions.
Yet, it is the reason they started this solar endeavour that sheds the most light on their vision. “When we started Puri Solutions, we wanted to start by offering townships a chance to tap into solar electricity, says Modimoeng.
“These are the people that are generally not well informed when it comes to renewable energy and solar power. But in the midst of a national energy crisis, they are the ones who need the electricity the most.”
Puri Solutions’ mission was clear: to offering their customers solutions that would empower them to cost-effectively and sustainably generate their own electricity.
One of the greatest challenges that Moloi and Modimoeng faces is the fact that their customers and target market still require a lot more education when it comes to the benefits of solar power in their homes and in their businesses.
“There is always loadshedding, and this winter season has been no exception,” says Moloi. “The problem is, many of our customers prefer to wait for load shedding to strike – and then only do something about it. So, turning enquiries into sales is a challenge.”
Fortunately, Puri Solutions was recently recognised by Momentum as part of its Budget Speech #AdviceForSuccess competition, which saw South Africans nominate deserving female-led small businesses that were on a promising journey to success – but that could do with a little help to get them there. Thus Puri Solutions business received a R221k cash injection from Momentum. “These funds are going to go a long way to assist us in intensifying our marketing presence online as well as on the ground. By doing this we can include more education on the value of our solutions and hopefully convert some more customers,” says Modimoeng.
Along with the cash prize, Momentum also committed to supporting their business growth with a Success Adviser, courtesy of one of their qualified SME business development partners. “We can’t wait to speak to a coach to give us a different perspective on how to improve our online presence.”
As a young, ambitious and switched-on entrepreneur, Moloi says this capital injection gives her business the head start it desperately needs. “It is frustrating to have an excellent idea that you know will work, but not having the resources to get it off the ground. Now, we have a huge opportunity to help covert those most disadvantaged to solar energy.”
Charlotte Nsubuga-Mukasa, Head of Momentum Brand Marketing, says that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 98.5% of formal businesses in South Africa.
“There is a dire need to support entrepreneurs and SMEs in South Africa. At the same time, we also recognise that women are among the most financially exposed individuals in the country at the moment as a result of the pandemic.
“Momentum want to encourage and support female business owners and entrepreneurs, helping enable their journey to success.”