Solar Village designs, manufactures, distributes and finances solar solutions for small-scale farmers. Our products are tailored to farmers’ needs, and are sold at a price they can afford. We are currently operating in rural Zambia and are planning to scale across the African continent very soon.
Our main product is the Battery Stick™, which provides electricity in the field and in the home. In the field, it powers an ultra-low volume sprayer that helps farmers increase their productivity and improve their yields. In the home, the Battery Stick charges phones, provides lighting and even powers a TV (that’s what farmers want!). Thanks to our monthly Pay-As-You-Go payment plans, farmers are able to purchase the Battery Stick™ at a very low price, and immediately start to see the benefits. We sell the Battery Stick™ through a network of sales agents living in rural communities. We work closely with the cotton industry since their farmers see the value of the sprayer to increase their income and we recruit lead cotton farmers to become Solar Village agents.
We are a startup company and this shapes our work-culture. While we are still a for-profit organization, we take a triple bottom line approach to evaluating our performance. Profitability is an important metric and it will determine how quickly we can scale, but we are also here for the satisfaction of building something sustainable and meaningful. Working for a fast growing organization gives us the ability to influence outcomes and brings us the gratification of seeing a direct impact where we work.
We recently received significant financial support to expand our operations in Zambia. We expect to grow from 50 to 1000 sales agents and bring access to energy to 50 000 people by 2020. Additionally, many partnerships are being built to distribute the battery stick across the continent. This is a tipping point for us and we need help to make the most of it.
We don’t believe in “filling roles”. Instead we want to build our company around talented individuals who believe in Solar Village’s mission and who can help us build a culture of excellence, growth and inclusivity.
Being such a small company, we work very closely as a team. We are like a small family: We work, travel, live and eat together (when we feel like it). We keep an open mind and we invest in each other because we know we all have a lot to learn. We believe that when the players on a team are happy, focused on their strengths and fully engaged, customers are well served, goals are exceeded and the company grows.
Of course we still need some business functions to be taken care of, so you will find a few conventional job descriptions with this document. We believe it can be helpful for you to imagine how you could help but we want to make sure you understand that this is not how we think about growing the team. In the end, it is about who you are, how you can make the team better and how you can help us win. If you decide to work with us, and have the right mindset, you can expect high impact and personal growth. Are you up for the challenge?
ESSENTIAL CHARACTER TRAITS
Open-mindedness & humility We are pioneering the PAYG industry for rural farmers in Zambia. There is no roadmap on how to win in this industry or in this country. We need to learn from our mistakes and adapt. We believe it takes multiple perspectives to understand a problem and to find the best solution. A collaborative and open-minded approach is therefore essential. For that reason, there is no place for ego in our strategy conversations.
Adaptability Plan A never works here: If you like certainty and stability you will be miserable and anxious. We work around these issues by learning how to build flexible plans that account for the multiple layers of risk we face here and learning to manage expectations.
Growth mindset A desire to invest in yourself You may be a great leader but you will most likely have to adapt your leadership styles to maximize your impact here. You may be a seasoned businessperson but you will face unseen challenges. We will have to work together and learn from each other to come up with the best solution. Whether it is a skill, knowledge or even attitude gap, we are all a “work in progress” and we need to be intentional in our personal growth if we want to grow and win as a team.
A desire to invest in others It doesn’t matter which “position” you apply for, you will end up leading a team. We will invest in you to become the best leader/coach you can be and we expect you will do the same with the people around you. We believe that building local capacity is what responsible businesses should do and that’s what we expect from our leadership team.