More than 500 million people across sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity and the International Energy Agency expects that number to increase to 700 million by 2030. Since extending the grid to them would cost billions of dollars, micro-scale, off-grid power from solar is often the only viable answer to energy poverty.
In countries like Uganda, where only 20% of the population has an on-grid connection, there’s undeniable potential for solar to leapfrog traditional energy provision models; however, affordability, perceptions of low quality and the absence of last-mile distribution and maintenance networks are curtailing development.
These are the very problems that SolarNow was founded to solve. A Dutch company with its head office in Kampala and core operations in Uganda and Kenya, it sells high-quality solar solutions to fit the needs of rural households and small entrepreneurs — from 50Wp small solar home systems capable of powering a radio, phone and a number of lights to 10kWp systems that can power productive appliances and offices – plus a range of consumer electronics, including televisions, fridges, flat irons, shavers and water pumps.
Crucially, SolarNow also provides credit that allows customers to spread payment for all these products over 24 months. Together with a network of 56 branches (850 FTE) in Uganda and Kenya and a price plan that includes full installation and service, backed by a unique five-year warranty, SolarNow has all the pieces in place to take optimal advantage of this unique market opportunity. The company already serves over 25,000 clients in Uganda and Kenya
SolarNow is hiring a Chief Operating Officer (COO) to manage its fast-growing operations in East Africa. The COO will be responsible for the design and implementation of the company’s operating model. There is a significant opportunity to improve client satisfaction, productivity and efficiency levels across the organization. The COO builds a rock-solid foundation for further growth of the company in Africa.
The COO has full responsibility for the core design of the operations, and supervises the implementation in Uganda, Kenya and new countries. He/she provides supervisions and coaching to the Country Directors in those countries, and is supported by a Policy Design Manager, a Talent Design Manager and an ICT Design Manager. The COO builds an efficient organization, where responsibilities are clear, thorough checks and balances exist and people are held accountable for what they do and don’t. The COO reports to the CEO, and is a member of the Managing Board.
Client satisfaction is crucial for a company that generates more than half of its sales through existing clients and offers its products on credit to its clients. The COO is successful when targets are met for (1) Client satisfaction; (2) Sales revenue; (3) Credit portfolio quality; (4) Service portfolio quality; and (5) Operational profitability.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Identification of new commercial opportunities and/or opportunities to increase efficiency.
- Coaching and supervision of the Country Directors to achieve their business plan targets, including sales, credit portfolio quality and client satisfaction.
- Building management capacity, identification of gaps and recruiting senior management capacity.
- Developing and driving performance measures using dashboards of high level key indicators.
- Ensuring smooth collaboration with internal and external stakeholders.
- Designing and leading the implementation of improvements to strategy, policies and procedures.
You are someone who cares deeply about improving livelihoods in Africa. You bring more than passion to the role: you have the grit and resilience to do this work.
You have a deep interest in and proven excellence if it comes to managing commercial, fast-growing organizations in Africa. You are a natural leader able to guide and motivate decentralized teams to set and achieve their targets, while working in a complex, constantly changing and resource constrained environment.
You love to make people around you perform better by constant training and coaching, and you ensure underperformance does not occur. You are a persistent problem-solver, a direct and candid communicator, able to be hands-on without getting lost in the weeds.
You have over 10 years of successful commercial management experience, preferably in a decentralized retail or financial organization in Africa, with a focus on service rather than FMCG.
What to expect
SolarNow offers a dynamic role in a high potential for-profit business in a fast-growing market. The
COO will be based in Kampala, but the job requires intensive field travel across Africa.
The company offers a market conform package consisting of a salary, an employee stock option plan and medical insurance. The COO will be exposed to various learning experiences in and outside Africa.