The aforementioned innovations are not their only home-grown solutions. The organization has internal IT, accounts, HR, customer service, design, media, operations, repairs and maintenance and training departments, all consisting of individuals who have been recruited and trained locally in Rwanda and elsewhere on the continent, including the SAFIRIDE riders knowns as ‘Captains’ or SAFIRUN delivery staff known as ‘runners’. The organization’s founders see it as illogical to hire internationals permanently instead of giving the residents of Rwanda and Africans in general the opportunity to be trained, and thus empowering the local economy while creating a feasible business structure. Their approach to recruitment is not founded on resumes or first impressions, but on the employee’s response to the company culture. Tony Adesina, the C.E.O himself, is a Pennsylvania State University Engineering Alumni who decided to turn a blind eye on white collar jobs in pursuit of becoming a serial entrepreneur, founder, investor, innovator and philanthropist. Today, he is the founder of GURARIDE, SAFIRIDE, SAFIRUN, EVPLUGIN, and SUL MOBILITY, companies all operating in the green transport/e-mobility sector. Tony Adesina and his fellow cofounders believe anyone can be trained and enabled to the extent of unlocking unprecedented life-changing opportunities.
GURARIDE and S.U.L E-Mobility organizations is founded on an impact driven set of innovations that reflect the company’s community-centric business model and youth empowerment initiatives. One issue they’ve dedicated themselves to tackling is sexual inequality, which is particularly present in male-dominated spaces such as the transport and logistics industry in Rwanda and Africa. In their efforts to upskill the labour pool, they have trained 300 women and 2150 youth to work in their assembly line. Their goal is not only to employ these skilled workers, but to equip them with the tools to begin their own businesses and ventures, and to essentially create a skilful and financially independent community. As of June 2022, S.U.L E-Mobility launched the ‘Women Empowerment in Entrepreneurship’ (W.E.I.E) initiative under its E-Mobility Academy with the purpose of training 120 women in Kigali and further equipping them with electric motorcycles, work kits, and electronic gadgets. The initiative is set to generate a daily revenue of 12 to 15 US Dollars per day to each beneficiary that has successfully graduated from the initiative’s training program. November 2022, predicting an increase to around 400 trainees, the organization’s commitment and dedication to sustainability also goes one step further than its innovations and solutions in the electric mobility space. In an effort to ensure an authentic transition from ICE motorcycles to electric motorbikes, S.U.L E-Mobility has partnered with ENVIROSERVE which a local authorized recycling and E-waste management company. The partnership is set to trigger the recycling and repurposing of electric motorcycle batteries that have reached their end of life while retrieving ICE motorcycles engine parts such as exhaust pipes from operators in order to scrap them.
The organization’s founders came up with strategic approaches to generate funding for these large-scale programmes. Such approaches including, but not limited to, GURARIDE sponsored bike-share programs that allows businesses and big corporate brands to place their adverts on bicycles, partnerships with financing institutions to offer leasing system to operators interested in acquiring EVs, and fund sourcing from international sponsors and donors who take heart in spurring change in this world through the organization’s different initiatives. S.U.L E-Mobility and GURARIDE own the entire system, allowing total control over the brand. All on-ground solutions and assets are a long-term investment; the founders are not in the business for quick money. Instead, they view their innovations as ‘social solutions’ with the purpose of uplifting the community. Their advice to cleantech entrepreneurs is commitment to the ideas, when you have a truly feasible and unique idea it’s worth investing in. Don’t worry about the money at first; it will come. First you must solidify your idea and be committed, and if you don’t believe in what you’re selling, don’t sell it. Look at everything as a lesson to do better next time.
These insights are so valuable in the entrepreneurial and tech start-up space. AltGen has the privilege of engaging with and learning from some seriously innovative individuals and companies in the renewable energy and sustainability sector, and truly believe that the lessons from Tony Adesina and Jean-Louis on backing your ideas, taking the risk and investing in your venture, and strive for socio-economic betterment through your business, then you are on the right path!
We hope you have found our second instalment of #disruptorsden insightful and inspiring. Are you or anyone you know doing amazing things and making waves in their field to totally change certain economic and social paths? We really want to know more, so send us an email at email@example.com or click here to fill out this form telling us more!