16 May Entrepreneur of the Month
My journey started on a sunny Tuesday in the suburbs of Lagos. At age 9, a nuclear family of seven staying on my street died of carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust fumes of the infamous ‘I better pass my neighbor’. The neighbor became better off as the family died in their sleep. The children were my friends and the mother had invited me for dinner the same evening. When the rains came, it was chaos as my family and I would pack the flood out of our more than average abode. This continued strangely for seven years and disrupted the bond between our family, accompanied by a ridiculous drain in finances to curb flooding. This established my interest in energy and the environment. I studied chemistry at the University of Ibadan, and currently studying mechanical engineering at Cardiff University, the United Kingdom.
Persistence is a trait has shaped my journey through life and also led me to discover purpose which is basically service.
Martin Luther King said: ‘Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great through service’
We are eager to hear about Yetty flames but it’s only fair we talk a bit about Rees Africa.. Please give us a brief history and what inspired Rees Africa.
For me, REES Africa is the purpose and was borne out of personal experiences. The purpose is a journey, not a destination and in this journey, I have the privilege of leading a community of millennials at REES Africa, an NGO that enables energy access for unconnected rural Nigeria and promotes environmental sustainability. We provide electricity and socially include rural and marginalized communities without prior access to electricity. With a team of about 200 millennials, we carry out programs to create awareness on issues such as climate change and plastic pollution. REES Africa communicates the urgency of how we need to take action towards preserving the earth.
How did Yetty flames begin?
Over 60 percent of Nigerians are not connected to the grid, and the 40 percent living in urban/ periurban areas suffer from the epileptic power supply. These 60 percents live in rural and marginalized areas, are vulnerable, socially excluded, and swamped in extreme poverty. REES Africa addresses this target audience. However, for the urban areas, I founded an energy company, WATTCORE Energy, a product and service company to provide dependable energy solutions to curb the inefficiencies of the grid. People have the notion that solar or any renewable energy solution is expensive. But with YETYFLAMES, a solar generator developed and fabricated in Nigeria, we have been able to create a time preference for money that allows people to enjoy the benefit of having an energy in a box that is mobile, affordable, noiseless and environmentally friendly.
What challenges do you face with respect to production?
Like I mentioned the solar generator is developed and fabricated in Nigeria by my team and of course we encounter challenges from time to time but we ensure that solutions are provided to tackle this. Every waking day is a new challenge but we will never give up, we will continue to strive to overcome whether it is from the government, staff, contractors, investors, and partners, or even clients.
As a Nigerian entrepreneur, what pushes you to thrive in the face of the challenges you’ve just shared?
Thriving as a Nigerian entrepreneur can seem like an elephant project but what pushes me is results, knowing that the only failure that will be recorded is when you give up.
How would you describe people’s response to Yetty flames solar generators?
People’s reactions are nothing short of amazing especially when they actually see the product work. This is an innovative way of delivering electricity, they say. This reaction even heightens when we let them know it is fabricated and developed in Nigeria. One of our clients who uses our solar generator in his shop has been able to save on his electricity bills and currently enjoys the dual charging option our solar generator presents.
How will you use a One million naira Grant for Yetty Flames?
This is really simple to determine. This grant will be used to make more products as demand for these products is ever increasing . the funds will be used to purchase components for at least 10 solar generators.
What does Yetunde do to relax?
I rarely find time to relax and if I do, I just lay on my bed listening to music or watching Netflix series.
Please share one of your favorite quotes and why it’s a favorite.
I will just paraphrase. I reckon that the challenges in the present are not worthy of being compared of what the future holds. For the earnest expectation of the world waits for your reveal. Romans 8:18-19. This quote is my favorite because it challenges me to do more in every area and put in my best because there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. Another perspective to this quote is that you can waste time brooding over losses, drawing lines, and regretting mistakes or you can use the mistakes as a stepping stone and cross those lines.