Damilola’s story: lighting up Nigeria

Damilola's solar energy company is paving the way for a more sustainable future.

Date

2021

Location

Ibadan, Nigeria

I see myself contributing to changing the world in a positive way... I see my work in trying to reduce energy poverty as very critical.

Damilola Asaleye, Co-Founder and CEO of Ashdam Solar Company and Road to Growth participant

Damilola’s solar energy company, Ashdam Solar, provides affordable and sustainable energy solutions in Nigeria, where 93 million people lack access to power. Here, she shares her story of how she strengthened her business through our HerVenture and Road to Growth programmes.

My name is Damilola Asaleye and I am 37 years old. I am the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Ashdam Solar Company Ltd., an energy company in Nigeria that is focused on solving energy poverty through affordable access to clean energy. I also help run Ashdam Solar Academy, which aims to build an army of renewable energy entrepreneurs that are ready to solve the energy problems of the world. Finally, I am the Founder and Executive Director of a non-profit organisation which mentors girls and women to be bold and confident technology leaders.  

To excel as an entrepreneur in the renewable energy and technology space, you need to have solid skills in financial literacy and financial management in addition to technical skills. I have been using the HerVenture app by the Cherie Blair Foundation on my phone for some time now, to improve my financial management and digital marketing skills and learn how to sustain my business. 

I saw a call for applications for the Road to Growth Programme online. Seeing that using the HerVenture app was a prerequisite for applying, I thought that since I had learned so much from the app, I would be able to gain even more skills from the programme – and so I applied and was selected. Since then, I have gained a lot of new skills, such as how to do financial modelling and financial projections, as well as how to simply read my financial statements. 

I have gained a lot of new skills, such as how to do financial modelling and financial projections, as well as how to simply read my financial statements. 

There are numerous challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. For example, I have three children, and find it quite challenging to balance my family and social life with work. There is also the challenge of being able to understand technical jargon around business management and financial technologies. Through the mentorship and online sessions in the Road to Growth programme, I was able to understand how to balance my work life and my business, and how to delegate tasks without micromanaging my staff. This has resulted in me being able to spend more time with my family.

My business has now been able to access three grants – thanks to improved skills in presenting ourselves and our financial management skills properly, thus showcasing that we have our records up to date and in place. 

My business has now been able to access three grants – thanks to improved skills in presenting ourselves and our financial management skills properly, thus showcasing that we have our records up to date and in place. 

The programme has also helped me to grow my network. I now know a cohort of women that I can easily reach out to when I need encouragement or assistance, because I know that these women are also entrepreneurs such as myself and are facing the same challenges that I do.  

I see myself contributing to changing the world in a positive way. Every industry needs energy assets for them to be able to deliver whatever they’re doing. So, I see my work in trying to reduce energy poverty as very critical.  

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Are you a woman who owns or is starting a business in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Indonesia or Vietnam? Download our HerVenture app and boost your business skills and knowledge today! It's fun, flexible, free and can be used offline.