By Adedapo Adesanya
The international jury of the non-governmental organisation, Endeavor, recently honoured two German founders and managing directors of the Nigerian solar energy company, Daystar Power, as High Impact Entrepreneurs.
Messrs Christian Wessels and Jasper Graf von Hardenberg, the only selected entrepreneurs from Nigeria, were honoured at the 93rd International Selection Panel (ISP) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, after being picked from 23 high-impact entrepreneurs from 11 markets.
Christian Wessels and Jasper Graf von Hardenberg founded the solar energy company Daystar Power in Lagos in 2017 and have since installed more than 170 solar systems for schools, hospitals, banks, factories and other facilities in West African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Togo with a total capacity of 8 megawatts.
This has already saved more than 800 tons of carbon dioxide. Daystar Power relies primarily on local workers and offers them above-average income as well as health insurance according to European standards and further training opportunities.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Daystar Power, Mr Christian Wessels, who had once been named Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2012, said, “A lack of electricity is the central obstacle to growth for the whole of West Africa. The chronically underserved regions here have so far been dependent on the operation of diesel generators, which is expensive, unreliable and environmentally harmful.
“We have set ourselves the task of equipping West Africa with sustainable solar energy, thereby creating the necessary basis for further investment. I see Endeavor’s award as both a confirmation of our efforts and an incentive.”
The other recipient and co-founder, Mr Jasper Graf von Hardenberg, noted that, “We have been committed to managing the company according to leading international standards since Daystar Power was founded in 2017. These include adherence to European social standards in Africa, the advancement of women and continuous training and education of employees.”
“Since the founding of the company, we have created more than 100 jobs at various locations in Nigeria and Ghana and the majority of our managers are women. In this way, we are already exercising a leadership role that has now been rewarded by Endeavor,” he added.
On the part of Endeavor Nigeria, Ms Eloho Gihan-Mbelu, the Managing Director, welcomed both Messrs Wessels and Graf von Hardenberg into its community of high-impact entrepreneurs in Nigeria meaning they join over 2,000 Endeavor Entrepreneurs scaling transformational companies in more than 35 growth and underserved markets globally.
She said, “We look forward to supporting Daystar Power with access to capital, talent, new markets and experienced mentorship on their journey to scale.
“Christian and Jasper successfully passed through Endeavor’s rigorous selection process, designed to identify entrepreneurs that combine the potential to effectively leverage our unparalleled global network of support, with mindsets to multiply their impact on the next generation of entrepreneurs in their local ecosystems.
“Historically, less than three percent of Endeavor Entrepreneur candidates have successfully crossed this milestone. Endeavor focuses on companies that have successfully passed through the initial start-up phase, and demonstrate the potential for rapid expansion.”
Endeavor founded in 1997 is active in more than 35 markets and coordinates its activities from 20 offices worldwide. The aim of the NGO is to influence societies in a culturally, financially and socially sustainable way with the help of the commitment of high-impact entrepreneurs.
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