Solar Energy Leader Fenix International Establishes Global Headquarters in Uganda
Leading solar energy company Fenix International, part of global energy group ENGIE, is establishing its global headquarters in Uganda and moving its engineering and technology development centre from San Francisco to Uganda. Fenix will be one of the first international companies headquartered in the East African country.
The new HQ will cement the company’s role as a major employer in the region and will support ambitious Pan-African expansion plans. Fenix currently employs over 350 people in the country, providing off-grid energy to more than 1 million people. By 2020, Fenix plans to employ 2,000 people, over 500 of whom will be based in Uganda. The Uganda HQ will support operations in 12 countries around the world, in Eastern, Western and Southern Africa, as well as China and the United States.
As well as moving senior leadership roles to Uganda, Fenix will invest in expanding specialist technology teams with both hardware and software skills. Alongside these roles in technology, finance and business strategy, the move will also create entry-level roles and jobs for younger people. Uganda has the world’s youngest population, with 78 percent of the population aged under 30, providing a huge pool of talent to empower Fenix’s growth plans.
Uganda has also topped Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s list of most entrepreneurial countries in recent years. As one of the first global employers to locate its HQ in the country, Fenix is further investing into the growing ecosystem of talent, entrepreneurs and industry bodies in the region. Fenix’s lease-to-own solar energy offering is used by many customers who are living off-grid to power businesses.
Fenix is committed to making a long-term impact in the country, and has developed a unique inclusive employee ownership programme, Fenix Flames, to ensure all team members benefit from the company’s success. Employees in Uganda recently received a pay-out of up to 2-5 times their annual salary as a result of the Flames scheme.
Fenix, recently acquired by ENGIE, is the only pay-go energy company which is part of a global energy group. ENGIE has ambitious targets to reach millions of households across Africa and will accelerate and expand Fenix’s ability to scale off-grid energy and financial services. Fenix will be able to capitalise on ENGIE’s supply chain, expertise, long-term capital investments and talent across the energy value chain. This strengthens Fenix in its mission to improve customers’ quality of life through inclusive energy and financial services.
Lyndsay Handler, CEO of Fenix International, comments: “Fenix’s approach has always been centred around the customer, and officially moving our headquarters to Uganda means even more of our employees will be close to our end customers. Providing outstanding service and developing products best suited to our customers’ needs is at the heart of what we do.
“We chose Uganda after a considered review and analysis of multiple locations across the continent, including several other countries in the East Africa region.
“Uganda’s inspiring 2030 vision focuses around the transformative power of new technologies and business development. We want to play a major role in Uganda’s thriving business ecosystem.
“The quality of the country’s universities, the government’s renewed focus on ease of doing business – and the support we have received from the government and President Museveni to date – make Uganda a fantastic, but often underestimated, place to do multinational business. We hope that our move will encourage other global companies to do the same.”
Lyndsay continues: “Having so far spent 6 years building an exceptional Ugandan team, we know the wealth of talent, knowledge, and skill that can be found within the country. We also know that our Ugandan employees can offer these skills to Fenix teams in other countries. We’re excited to facilitate opportunities for travel as our Ugandan employees support our expansion in other African markets.
“Additionally we hope this announcement will send a positive signal to other companies working in Africa, encouraging them to consider Uganda as the right location for their global or regional headquarters – especially for those organisations looking to serve a fast growing, underserved customer base that represents a significant opportunity.”