You will agree that it takes courage to quit a well-paying Job in an Oil and Gas multinational to pursue what you believe in. This is the tale of Salma Okonkwo whose courage paid off as she is now on to making history in Ghana by building Ghana’s biggest solar farm, called Blue Power Energy, which is slated to open in March 2019 with 100 megawatts of energy. The solar farm is set to be one of the largest in Africa.
According to UNICEF’s research, Northern Ghana is the poorest amongst all regions. There are so few employment opportunities in the region besides farming that most women migrate to Accra looking for work and for more than a decade, this 48-year-old Ghanaian entrepreneur has been quietly building a multi-million dollar oil and gas outfit called UBI Group to solve this challenge.
She hopes to provide employment for youths and also, add to Ghana’s economy by bringing cheap energy to northern Ghana through the solar farm. By doing this, she hopes to encourage more companies to create lasting jobs in the region, rather than sell their products/pitch the company’s latest incentives and then leave.
Growing up in a village in Accra did a lot to influence Salma’s views about life. Problem-solving and creating opportunities for others however little, were part of the training she got growing up and so when she got a job in the oil and gas industry which exposed her to opportunities in the energy sector the company could maximize, she put her entrepreneurship drive to action by pitching an initiative for expansion to the company.
In her own estimation, the firm could grow by opening several retail gas outlets. Her initiative, was however turned down. She fine-tuned the idea and presented it in a different way at different times. Still, it was turned down. Knowing, she wasn’t going to make a headway by persisting that they adopt and implement the idea, she took the bull by the horns. She quit to try it herself and the result? Blue Power Energy.
Her greatest focus is on bringing liquefied petroleum gas to the “hard-to-reach” region of northern Ghana, where many families still rely on burning firewood for energy.
According to Salma, “I want to bring support to my people in the north,” and by doing this, she believes “There will be more Salma’s all over the place.”
Culled from Forbes