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The 32-Year Old Behind the Largest Solar Firm in Zimbabwe

The world is currently bowing down to Mr. Simbarashe Mhuriro, the 32-year old gentleman from Zimbabwe, who is now known as the founder of a solar company named Oxygen Energy Private Limited. This is an independent renewable energy and power production company specializing in commercial rooftops and power plant setups.

Zimbabwe is known to be an intriguing land where regardless of the rough economic environment, young businesspeople are continuing to evolve and come up with solutions to some tough problems faced by the country. Simbarashe Mhuriro is the perfect example of such a young, enthusiastic and proactive entrepreneur. The man decided to step foot in the field of renewable energy and has so far done exceptionally well. In 2016, Mhuriro was listed on the Forbes list of the 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa.

In the earlier part of 2017, a renewable energy fund managed by the African Development Bank approved a grant of US$ 965,000 for Oxygen Energy Private Limited with a view to boosting the preparation of a profitable business prospect aimed at developing a 20MW solar photovoltaic off-grid rooftop project. The project is primarily for buildings that are owned by Zimbabwe’s Old Mutual Property Group.

Upon the completion of the project, there will be competitive and dependable solar power available to several hundred medium and small-sized companies throughout Zimbabwe.

Making his Dreams Come True

Mhuriro has had an extraordinary journey while setting up his company. In a recent interview with Forbes, the young entrepreneur spoke about Oxygen Energy’s multi-million-dollar planning. He said that it was his dream to develop a renewable energy firm based in Zimbabwe; one that will grow to acquire valuable market share. In fact, this man has so much passion and zeal that he is hopeful of his company getting a listing on Zimbabwe’s stock exchange.

To ensure that all the plans fall into place and have the intended impact, the company, i.e., Oxygen Energy has entered into a partnership with a top international financial institution, Old Mutual Zimbabwe. Mhuriro believes that this dynamic project has the potential to save nearly $4.5 million spent in importing power substitutions each year.

It has been proven that entrepreneurs and leaders who have a tremendous hunger to succeed, are almost always capable of forging solid and profitable partnerships. Mhuriro’s solar project is nearing the implementation phase, and he is quite proud to enlist Soventix GMBH Germany and Jabil Energy as the construction and engineering partners for the project.

The Attraction Towards Solar

Mhuriro is often asked the question: why solar? To this he answers that while thinking about the industry which should be the focus of Oxygen, he was looking for something that would fit a specific description:

  • The product should be used at the place of production
  • It should be needed by every aspect of human life
  • It should clearly demonstrate a need or market deficit
  • The raw materials required must be conveniently accessible
  • It must generate predictable and constant income

Solar happened to fit the above criteria quite well and also promised minimum maintenance and operations cost because the plants do not have any moving parts. Also, it is possible to deploy plants in any size and any place.

Mhuriro’s project has received tremendous support from organizations such as the Ministry of Energy & Power Development, The Ministry of Finance & Economic Development and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate. It has managed to champion some of the key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals including

  • Climate Action
  • Decent Work & Economic Growth, Sustainable Cities & Communities
  • Responsible Consumption & Production and
  • Affordable & Clean Energy

Renewable energy is a field that has the potential to attract foreign direct investment. Also, in case of local funding, it could replace power imports since the economy needs sustainable, reliable power in order to grow. The project also presents an opportunity for young women and men to contribute and participate in various aspects of the project such as procurement, construction, engineering and legal and financial advisory.

Mhuriro also got a chance to interact with Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, when he went to address the 19th edition of the World Festival of Youth & Students’ opening ceremony and spoke about the African Energy approach. The festival was co-organized by the WFDY (World Federation of Democratic Youth). This is a UN-recognized global youth organization with a non-governmental agenda. During his visit, Mhuriro was able to briefly discuss his solar project with the President and Mr. Sergey Kiriyenko, First Deputy Chief. He also requested for greater participation from Russia in the field of agriculture since it has a colossal fertilizer industry which has birthed billionaires.

Why Mhuriro Loves His Role as an Entrepreneur

Besides the typical benefits of money and stimulation, entrepreneurship has also rewarded Mhuriro with a few other things. He says that he loves his nation and believes that he is a patriot. In his role as an entrepreneur, he is always defending his country against negative comments and perceptions. Mhuriro feels that he is always ready to talk about the immense opportunities for growth in the nation and fight for his country before a group of potential partners and investors.

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