Invest and consult to make the world a better place. Focus on innovative geothermal in the Netherlands and solar in West and East Africa. Looking for customers and financing.
Scroll down to read Diederik’s story.
WawoeVentures is an investment and consultancy set up in 2014 to make the world a better place through investments and consultancy mainly around renewable energy. It is run by Diederik Wawoe, who has a background in the energy sector and worked for Shell for 19 years among other places in Gabon and India. Our strategic partners are:
- Canopus Drilling Geothermal, a company developing an innovative solution for geothermal drilling. Part of my time I spend as general manager for this company.
- SolarTechno, a company selling high-end off-grid solar systems, consisting of solar modules and batteries. Part of my time I spend on the marketing and sales for this company for their activities in Africa.
- Peregrine M & A, an M & A company focused on renewables. From time to time I help them with private equity opportunities in renewable energies.
- Apart from this, we work on my various projects currently mainly focussed on financing solar in Ghana and Tanzaniatogether with Guideplus and Sondutch.
Across all these activities the main focus is currently finding financing and finding customers.
Meet the Impact Community – Diederik Wawoe
How would you introduce yourself when meeting a new person?
I have become an entrepreneur because I strive to make the world a better place and I do that through renewable energies. I focus on geothermal energy in the Netherlands and solar energy in Africa. I think we have a lack of solutions for green energy in Europe and geothermal energy is something insufficiently explored, but has a lot of potentials. On the other hand, a lot of homes in Africa are without solar electricity, but what they do have is a lot of sun throughout the year, so we are helping them to generate solar energy by offering attractive loans. I realize the topics solar for Africa and Geothermal for Europe are very diverse but to me, they are both very important to make the world a better place.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
I want to leave something behind. I am now in my 50s so when I look back on my life I want to say this is what I’ve done, this is what I’ve believed in, I wanted to establish and I succeeded.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
We have recently been able to get funding from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency for a new drilling solution within the geothermal start-up. It was a major achievement and it took some effort. We have also had success with selling solar products in Africa. Lastly, I’m currently working together with very inspiring people on the financing of solar energy in Africa together with the Dutch Development Bank FMO.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?
I keep a daily journal where I write down what my main goal is and you should do it as well! The journal entry starts with what inspires me today, what my main target is and how I’m going to implement it. To grow, I also care about the feedback I get from people and I am always open to suggestions on how I can improve myself. Furthermore, I have some inspiring motivational recordings that sometimes help me go through the more difficult days (“you are energy” from Fearless Soul is my favourite). Being at Apollo is equally a very inspiring environment where I get the opportunity to speak to people which have already resulted in some collaborations. The Apollo Ecosystem I find very useful. E.g. during the start-up XL event, I spoke to a wide range of supporting companies from lawyers to accountants and they all gave me very valuable advice.
What are you currently working on?
I have four different targets. As mentioned, we have a commitment from the Netherlands Development Bank to finance large solar projects and I believe we are close to signing this deal. On the home territory, we really want to test drilling the first holes with the new geothermal technology from Canopus in 2022 and see if we can connect people to geothermal energy and therefore heat houses at a much lower cost. For Canopus, we are looking for funding this year and Canopus is my highest priority. We also continue to sell solar systems in Africa, such as containers with batteries. The sales of these products should grow this year. Finally, I’m helping African entrepreneurs on their journey. Helping African Entrepreneurs is something I would eventually like to do more.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I’ve been thinking about becoming an entrepreneur for a long time. I said many times during my 19 years working for a corporation that I wanted to do something for myself: I wanted and want to go on my own way to make my little mark in history. Saying it is a matter of “Just do it”, is an oversimplification: It is important to realize that there will be peaks and valleys during your journey. You should not underestimate the joy you get out of an achievement, but also the pain you will have to suffer for the things that are not going particularly well. The most important is that you really enjoy the journey, the goal you have in mind as well as what you achieve on the way. Finally, a key piece of advice is to celebrate success!