Empowering Anambra: The GVE Founder’s Mission to Illuminate His Home Town.

It takes grit, hard work, and unceasing resilience to build a sustainable company from scratch in Nigeria. This is a feat only a few have achieved, and the Chief Executive Officer of GVE Holdings, Ifeanyi Orajaka is one of the selected few. As part of the Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency’s (ANSIPPA) mission to promote investors operating in the State, the team had an interview session with the young CEO to better understand how he has managed to thrive in an uncommon sector despite the many challenges the global economy presents.

Although the ANSIPPA team was eager to hear all about the journey and huge strides taken by one of the major distributors of Solar Energy in West Africa, we had to listen and appreciate the origin story that led to the present-day GVE Group.

“The GVE ideology was developed by three graduates who saw how a bustling village with a swarm of activities during the day suddenly vanished at night due to lack of electricity. By forecasting the economic activities which could be attained with the availability of Power, the need to develop a workable energy choice for the people was created.” -CEO GVE

Contrary to imagination, it was not a eureka moment. The ideology that birthed GVE Holdings was more of a slow pondering, deep research, and intentional planning that would take months and countless sleepless nights before implementation.

After careful consideration, the ideology birthed a plan that would lead to the creation of a mini-grid at Egbeke in 2012. Its success and huge impact led to the embankment of more projects, all of which constituted the growth and development of the current-day GVE. Since its rise to power, the company gained numerous accolades from both regional and international bodies. Recognition from the London Stock Exchange as one of the fastest growing private companies in Africa, and another from the United Nations International Development Organization (UNIDO) as one of the Top Five Most Promising Global Green Investment Opportunity are instances of these renowned accolades.

As a true Anambra Son, GVE Holdings recently reached out to the Anambra State Government in hopes of bringing his expertise home. GVE proposes to partner with the State Government to provide Power to select major markets and unserved and underserved communities in the State.

When questioned on the inspiration behind this project, the CEO explained that it was largely prompted by the shortage of electricity supply in the Eastern part of Nigeria.

Anambra State with a population of over 6 million people. The State is well-known for its entrepreneurial spirit and is the hub of commercial activities in the South- East. Due to unreliable public electricity supply, Anambra State Government (ANSG) is currently left with no choice but to seek alternative sources of electricity supply to power the under-served and unserved areas within the state.

“The national electricity supply is far below the level required to fuel economic growth, let alone deliver electricity access to all.” Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, the DisCo in charge of the five (5) states in the South-East geo-political Zone: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo State with an energy distribution capacity of around 8% Kwh of total electricity generated, cannot meet the energy demand of an industrious population like the Ndi Anambra and achieve the economic revolutionizing gains that come with energy access.

“With GVE’s track record, it just makes sense to deploy in a State like Anambra which is strategically located at the heart of the Nigerian market, with easy access to several other major cities in Nigeria which makes the impact of a project in this location ripple its effects to other cities.”

The CEO hopes that this partnership will not only help improve the electricity supply in Anambra State but will also set the pace for more investors to key into the transformation agenda of the Soludo administration. The project also aligns with the administration plan for a livable, prosperous, and smart megacity for the progress of Ndi Anambra. Using Solar Energy as the Power source for this project, GVE Holdings will become a major contributor to fulfilling the Clean, Green, and Sustainable initiative recently launched by the State Government.

Regardless of its successes and proven competence, like most businesses, GVE Holdings faced its fair share of challenges and the CEO wholly admits that the early years of the company were very difficult. “We had to learn and unlearn in order to arrive at where we are today”.

Ifeanyi goes further to provide clear instances of some challenges the company faced over the years. High upfront costs, lack of access to finance, low patronage in some markets, shortage of equipment, and lack of expertise as well as regulatory challenges were identified as the core problems.

However, with the aid of the Partners and Staff of the organization, it has been able to not only overcome its obstacles but also launch and groom solar projects in different parts of Nigeria. We were also intimated of GVE’s plans to launch the 1MW Interconnected Minigrid at Wuse Market.

“The Wuse market project is the first interconnected mini-grid project to be developed in Nigeria and is aimed at ensuring energy reliability to over 2000 SMEs in Wuse Market Abuja through a 1MW PV solar hybrid power solution.

“Thanks to our partners on this project, AEDC & WUMATA; upon completion, the project will displace over 3,000 petrol/diesel generators, thereby mitigating a significant amount of Green House Gases, and transforming Wuse market into Nigeria’s first 100% green and generator-free economic cluster in the largest black nation of the world.”.

He further commended the Staff and Partners of the organization, whom he described as the strong suit of the company since its creation.

“Through the expertise and dedication of our Board of Directors, Management, Employees, and various business associates, we have been able to position the company as the leading renewable energy industry in Nigeria”.

While GVE is still building and expanding its influence in the Energy sector, the company has not forgotten the importance of grooming the next generation of Solar suppliers.

“GVE is heavily invested in absorbing Graduate interns that are interested in the renewable energy space and its workings. Our Intern programs are designed to take in Graduates that exhibit the GVE spirit and train them in the different business units we operate within the renewable energy space”

When the CEO is not running a multi-million dollar enterprise, he likes to spend time with his family and friends, travel, explore different cultures, and read new books. Finally, the CEO advises youngsters with visions as big as his to remain resilient and steadfast in their struggles.

“Everything big starts small and it is the little decisions that you make during the early days that will determine how big the outcomes of tomorrow will be” –Ifeanyi Orajaka 2023.

Favour Ezekeke, March 22 2023