Exclusive Interview: Simon Gosling, MD of Energynet
Simon’s role is to lead the team and to develop Energynet’s global business portfolio, with a specific focus on government and private investment in Africa’s power and industrial infrastructure sectors. Simon is responsible the company’s focus on growing economies where energy access is a critical barrier to political and social stability which directly impedes growth.
Over the last four years he has led the creation of a number of important initiatives and investments including; the ‘EnergyNet Student Engagement Initiative’ which has supported 53 African students over the last two years (of those students 18 are now on management training contracts with some of the world’s leading solution providers); ‘The Arts Energy Partnership’ which promotes artists and musicians and works with them to express how access to energy impacts their work and creations; ‘The Not Just Talking Fund for Energy Access’, which is a not for profit investment vehicle that has financed and facilitated knowledge partnerships for ‘Off the Grid’ energy projects – the first investment was into the South Africa ‘Solar Turtle’ which is a micro-utility providing electricity to the ‘Pheasant Folly Primary School’ in Johannesburg and its 1,500 school children, as well as 300 homes in the community of Palm Ridge.
EnergyNet has received a number of awards including inn 2014, when on the advice of Rt Hon David Cameron, EnergyNet were awarded the Queens Awards Enterprise: International Trade by H.M. Queen Elizabeth ii at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
In 140 characters or less – what is Energynet?
The pioneering energy-focused organiser of forums and collaborations designed to facilitate investment into Africa’s power & industrial sectors
What was the driver for creating Energynet – what gap did it fill?
Facilitating investment summits where international investors can build relationships with credible African public sector stakeholders. When we founded Energynet 23 years ago, we wanted to provide an environment to do business. This is still the case today.
Who does it primarily serve?
Energynet works in Europe, the USA, China and across the African continent to facilitate investment summits where international investors can build relationships with credible African public sector stakeholders.
Best known for the Africa Energy Forum, which is taking place in London in June, and provides a meeting place for senior level decision makers in Africa’s power sector. EnergyNet also produces the Powering Africa: Series- in-country investment meetings which provide a more detailed perspective on the investment landscape and power generation potential of countries such as Nigeria, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana Ethiopia, South Africa and Egypt.
What difference does Energynet want to make?
We understand what it takes to work in challenging environment to generate, transmit and distribute power, and how easily millions of dollars are wasted because of changing politics, out of date industry data or simply cultural nuances. We help connect businesses with investors and regional governments to bring power to Africa.
Energynet has proved over the last 18 years that by remaining focused, you can build a network that can find solutions in the most challenging of environments – “It’s all about what you know and who you know
What are the barriers to making that difference?
A changing and fragmented political landscape, a lack of infrastructure for innovation and investment that is required to develop Africa’s power projects.
What needs to happen politically to accelerate your growth?
A solutions focused approach that brings together all the relevant stakeholders. That is why Energynet has developed and nurtured the Off the Grid Club which will bring the right people together. This will make a real difference and will help African communities to establish the infrastructure required to move forward economically.
How can people – individuals and organisations – find out more about Energynet?
You can learn more on http://www.energynet.co.uk or check out how the Off the Grid Club (website) is making it happen. The Off The Grid Club officially kicks off on the 23rd June at the Africa Energy Forum in London with a festival-style gig celebrating African music.
What is the Off the Grid Club?
Off The Grid Club as a new membership programme developed by Energynet, to bring together credible off grid technology providers, financiers and regional leaders to invest in and develop reliable and scalable power solutions for Africa. It will provide a platform for members to form partnerships, giving them the opportunity to scale up their products and bring them to market more quickly.
Off the Grid Club will launch at the Africa Energy Forum in London this June, as African artists come together to perform in a special gig to raise awareness of the importance of energy access. The gig is organised in partnership with Shake Your Power, one of the Founding Members of the Club.
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