Patrick E. Ngowi is a Tanzanian entrepreneur, Climate Reality Awareness Leader, and a Youth Mentor. He is the Founder and Chairperson of Helvetic Group which has numerous subsidiaries operating across Africa.
He is the founder of the Light for Life Foundation (L4L), a non- profit organization that installs solar and small wind power systems for the less privileged youth and women in rural parts of Tanzania. The social enterprise mainly targets rural primary and secondary schools.
At age 15, Patrick Ngowi ventured into the mobile phone business selling call cards (recharge vouchers) which he noticed were scarce in the area. By the time he was 18, he was fully into the mobile phone trade, selling cheap handsets which he bought from Hong Kong. He started this phone trade business with a $1,800 loan from his mom and a free air travel ticket from a close friend.
At 22, Patrick started his first clean technology company, after studying renewable energy in China. Since then, he has diligently grown Helvetic into a group of successful and diversified companies. Helvetic Solar Contractors (1st Place Winner of KPMG’s Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies in Tanzania Award 2012) remains one of the most popular subsidiaries under Helvetic Group. It was the first company to offer renewable energy solutions in Northern Tanzania, demonstrating the business opportunities in providing solutions to combat climate change.
In 2014, Patrick was invited to speak at the World Bank and IMF Annual Meeting held in Washington DC, USA. It was a Youth Dialogue Panel on “Inclusive Growth and Entrepreneurship through Education, Innovation, and Passion”. He was also invited to speak at the Harvard Africa Business Conference held at Harvard University and the African Development Bank Annual Meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda.
In 2015, Patrick was elected Chairman of the United Nations Global Compact in Tanzania. The network houses Tanzania’s leading private sector and multinational companies.
In June 2016, Patrick Ngowi was selected and recognized by the United Nations Secretary-General – Ban Ki-moon; at the United Nations General Assembly, as 1 of 10 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) Global Pioneers; inaugural class of 2016. The recognition was for translating UN’s Sustainable Development Goals into Sustainable Local Businesses.
Amazingly, Patrick Ngowi is still only 33 years of age and according to Forbes, his net worth is estimated to be $210 million and climbing. Patrick said, “You should start small, with lean operations, and scale up as you go along. I started my solar company being the only employee, going on rooftops to install one solar panel at a time. I made sure every client got value for their investment and, most importantly, was satisfied. Our clients became our ambassadors, especially at a time when there was no budget for marketing.”
You’re never too young to be a millionaire or billionaire. Life is hard, but in everything you find yourself doing, do it diligently, joyfully and heartily. Whatever situation you find yourself in, you need to understand that the hard times have not come to stay, they will pass, so be determined to write a better ending to your story.