How winner built 4bn/- business at 27

Mr Ngowi (right)and his sister and Mr Ephraim Kimati 
Eight years ago, Patrick Ngowi’s mother gave him a Sh2.3million loan to start a business. 
That seed money has since grown in leaps and bounds—and into a business that yields 4bn/- in annual turnover, thanks to Patrick’s courage and determination.

With the boost from his mother Emma, Patrick ventured into selling Chinese mobile phones. It yielded a tidy profit, but it was not enough and he was soon scouting for more opportunities. 

Having discovered that only 14 per cent of Tanzanians had electricity, he decided to venture into a more profitable trade—supplying solar power.

He had no time to waste. He took a loan from a Swiss man, Philippe Glauser. Helvetic Solar Contractors Limited was born. 

Five years down the road, the firm outshone more established companies to be crowned the winner in this year’s Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies survey, released on Friday last week by the leading consulting and auditing firm KPMG.

In 2007, Helvetic’s first year in business, the 27-year-old engineer yielded a turnover of Sh30million. Today, he has an annual turnover of Sh4billion, making it the fastest growing medium-sized firm in Tanzania.

“The company has grown tremendously during the past five years and I’m certain KPMG were very professional in their audit,” Ngowi told The Citizen.

His father Ephra and his mother are secondary school teachers. He learnt a great deal during a stint living in Botswana with his family. 

He credits his mother with drumming the virtue of financial discipline into him very early in life—and probably setting him on the path to success that he enjoys today.

The young entrepreneur explains: “I was just a teenager then but my mother would show me all the bills [water, electricity, transport and school fees] along with her monthly earnings. I realised that it was only because of sound financial discipline that she was able to provide us with all our needs.”

Patrick attended kindergarten and primary school in Francis Town in Botswana, where his father worked as a teacher at Sashe River Secondary School. 

The family moved on to South Africa but his mother later decided to return to Tanzania and secured a teaching post at Arusha Model Secondary School.
Source: The Citizen,, reported by Samuel Kamndaya in Dar es Salaam

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