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dVentus Technologies: Creating a Brighter Future for Ethiopia

By Lulit Negash | Tue Oct 20 2015
To continue with our Q&A series with the employees of RENEW’s portfolio companies, I recently had the pleasure to speak with one of dVentus Technologies PLC’s engineers.
Daniel Gizaw founded dVentus with the idea of promoting sustainable energy solutions, which he and a local team would manufacture at facilities in Ethiopia. Since the IAN’s initial investment in 2013, dVentus has been making strides in building local capacity and in new product development. The company has successfully designed and built a prototype and system for smart meters to improve the reliability, security and efficiency of African and Middle Eastern power grids, and is now working on certifying the prototype to customers' specifications. dVentus’ expansion has enabled the company to increase its staff by approximately 25%, as it has brought on engineers and other highly skilled local professionals since the close of the IAN’s investment. The company is also developing other exciting new products, such as energy efficient generators and other components of smart grid solutions.
dVentus’ headquarters are truly a site to behold. The building is a beacon of hope that glints silver and green in the sunlight, signifying the sustainable, green energy technologies and products that Daniel and his team of engineers work on everyday. By pursuing this focus today, engineers like Abisa Girma Yigezu are helping to ensure a brighter and cleaner future for generations to come.
Abisa was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and has never lived outside of the city, but this has never stopped him from dreaming big and creating an impact in his local community and beyond.
When you were a child, what did you dream of doing for work or as a career, and how did this influence your decision to become an engineer?

I liked making things as a child. I was very curious child; I have always been fascinated to know how things are made and how they work. I have attempted to make small motors, a homemade battery and even crude photo paper in my high school years. I have that curiosity even today. I was sure, somehow, that I would be in the business of creating things early on. I like studying both mechanical and electrical engineering design and developing products.
How did you hear about dVentus?

I first heard of dVentus through a vacancy announcement poster at Addis Ababa University Technology Faculty, now Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAIT), where I was studying for my BSc in electrical engineering. Back then, dVentus went by the name Danotek Motion Technologies LLC. I had always wanted to work in a place where electro-mechanical products are made. In the subsequent years, I closely followed Danotek (now dVentus). After I earned my BSc in electrical engineering in 2011, I got the opportunity to be a recruit engineer at dVentus. I started working at dVentus beginning July 2011.
How did you become an engineer, and what education / training have you received to date?

In Ethiopia, the Ministry of Education (MoE) assigns students to various universities after they graduate high school through its countrywide field and university assignment program. So when I graduated high school, the MoE assigned me to study electrical engineering at Addis Ababa University Technology Faculty. In later years, I majored in control engineering. After working for three years at dVentus, I began studying my MSc in microelectronics. I am now in my second year. I’ve taken many on the job trainings while working at dVentus, including: ISO9001: 2008 QMS auditing, project management, design reliability, electronics circuit design, test and other technical trainings.
What is your position title at dVentus, and what are your responsibilities?

I am an electrical engineer at dVentus. My responsibilities are designing electronic circuits, building prototypes, testing, reviewing other designs, training new recruits, and I (am) also involved in ISO9001: 2008 QMS related tasks.
In your own words, tell us what is means to work at dVentus?

dVentus is a technology company that is on the rise. Working at dVentus for me is looking at different opportunities that are not found in many places. I get to work on products from conception to end of manufacturing and so much more.
How has working for dVentus changed your life?

I like working for dVentus. I have gained lots of experience, knowledge and skills both from (a) technical and business aspect. I am still learning a lot. I am more confident in my craft than ever.
Do you have a family that you provide for (children, spouse, parents, extended family), and what does your family / friends think about your work at dVentus?

I live with my family - parents and siblings - and I contribute my share. I am sure my family is happy for me working at dVentus. I like what I do, so I am pleased with where I am.
Has your job at dVentus made you feel empowered as an individual?

Definitely. I see more solutions and things that can be done in Ethiopia. There are many untapped opportunities in the energy sector.
What is your favorite part about working for dVentus as an engineer?

Working on new proof of concept tests in electronics lab and peer learning with colleagues, especially with my seniors.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

In the years coming, I see myself working on new products, involving in manufacturing products at dVentus. I would like to learn more and do more at dVentus.
How has your job at dVentus inspired you to pursue your own dreams?

I am very much inspired to have my own company one day that designs products. I am building an edge both in the business and technical aspects.
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. For the latest on investing in Africa, subscribe and follow us at our social links below.

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