September 6, 2023

From a College Power Outage to Electrifying Congo: Two Friends Spearhead Solar Energy Solutions

Friends Benedict Owanga and Chinelo Adi launched their startup Owanga to deliver clean energy solutions to Congo, Africa.

The startup launched in 2022 after Owanga had the idea during his sophomore year at Emory University School of Law. While pursuing an internship, he lost power for two hours during training. The inconvenience made him consider the experience of Congolese people back home.

“It got me thinking if someone like me loses power for two hours and it takes me two weeks to figure out something, what about people back home in Congo that go months without power,” he told AFROTECH.

When he launched in 2022, Adi was compelled to step into her role as co-founder after attending a conference surrounding the clean energy law sector.

Owanga Solar

Owanga Solar’s mission is to provide businesses and households in the Democratic Republic of Congo with reliable and affordable solar energy solutions.

They aim to reduce dependence on harmful and unsustainable energy sources whilst promoting economic growth and well-being in the region.

The 12-week commitment targets early-stage startups involved in equitable and inclusive clean energy transition.

The co-founders received a $10,000 equity-free grant of $100,000 in products and services, among other resources.

It offers a “plug and play” solution by providing portable battery packs that can power a one-bedroom home or small business for $2 per day.

The device can be purchased at their shop, and the pair have plans to build strategic locations in 2024 so customers won’t be bound to just one battery pack.

“Allowing people to have power gives a certain community an economic boost,” said Owanga.

“It’s actually proven when a certain community has enough power, the GDP goes up, and that’s our goal.”

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.