All in Trade
All in Trade has been harnessing the power of the sun since 2008, offering a product portfolio covers photovoltaic projects in various sizing from domestic to large-scale industrial solutions, thermal water heaters, and services and component sales.
However, their growth in the past has been limited, due to lack of working capital and access to funding, and they’ve even lost projects due to the non-availability of required equipment in the country.
They wanted to further diversify their product portfolio to include stock of fast-moving items that they could use to quickly implement projects without lengthy import processes and to include new products that we saw being in high demand, but were unable to pre-finance a full container shipment to get them into their warehouse.
In order to scale up their business and access the financing required, they looked to PFAN. ‘’We are grateful to PFAN support. Through their support, we were able to get a coach, Mr Lukas, who has supported us on this fundraising journey. And we believe that through the PFAN network, we can be able to find investors to work with us,’’ says Mohammed.
‘We are grateful to PFAN support. Through their support, we were able to get a coach, Mr Lukas, who has supported us on this fundraising journey. And we believe that through the PFAN network, we can be able to find investors to work with us.’
‘’For so many years, energy access has been a barrier to so many communities, individuals and businesses in Uganda, and this still continues to be a big problem,’’ says founder Muhammed Lubowa. ‘’And this is why we have All In Trade. We are a company that has touched and benefited so many people, especially in the off-grid areas. Our unique business proposition is, we say, “let nature pay electricity bills”.’’
PFAN matched locally-based Advisor Lukas Gruener to provide support. ‘’We work with the companies to get them investor-ready. We help them to get their business plan in order, to create a solid financial model, to create projections to help them assess the capital needs and to understand, if you get this financing that you’re looking for, how are you going to use it? How do you want to grow your company with it? We work with the company to get all these documents in place, and also to connect them to potential investors and to support them along the way until they actually receive the financing.’’
Through applying Lukas’s advice, Mohammed and his team are able to view scaling up through a new lens. ‘’We look at businesses that are still struggling with energy, and our focus now is looking at commercial and industrial scale energy deployment. Our deployments of energy solutions we have provided have a direct impact on improving the quality of lives of the people where they live in their communities, but also in their households.’’
They have helped their customers, many of which are local business, to reduce their electricity bills and increase profit. ‘’We have cut on our costs because before we were using a lot of electricity, but right now we are using the [solar panel] heaters’’ says Jackie Nakabubi, Manager of the Kingston Motel.
Kabale Moses Rahid, General Manager of Kangimulia Horticulture and Vanilla Cooperative Society, says ‘’We have been using locally made dryers. We thought of electricity, but electricity also is very, very expensive. But now, as we partnered with the All in Trade, Triggerson German and now we have got the hybrid dryer. We expect to have the best quality for international market.’’ Through this productive use of renewable energy to dry their vanilla beans, they can improve their business and reach more customers, helping to support the local economy and employ more people.
Having worked in the Ugandan market for many years, Lukas is intrinsically familiar with the local energy markets. ‘’I like All in Trade. It is one of my favourite companies because they have a longstanding experience in the solar sector in Uganda,’’ says Lukas.
‘’They are one of the one of the pioneers that basically helped develop the market. They have excellent technical expertise and they have been working profitable for many years, which is something that you don’t find and see with all companies here. They have a very talented management, Mohammed and the rest of the team, and they actually have the vision to grow the company to a whole new level. All they need is financing which I hope to them get more of it.’’
So far, PFAN has helped them to secure USD 500,00 from the SIMA Energy Access Relief Fund (EARF) facility, and they are still seeking USD 1 million together with continued PFAN support.
‘’Our long-term vision is that we can run a sustainable business that can be able to reach out to so many people out there in terms of benefit where we are able to connect more people to the grid, but also be able to provide solutions that are relevant to their energy demands.’’