International impact investor Angela Homsi is so passionate about making a difference that, nearly 36 hours after the birth of her first child, she was back working.
For Homsi’s daughter was born the day she and her business partner – and husband – launched the commercial operations of their renewable-energy company, Ignite Power.
Ignite uses clean technologies to improve the lives of people in emerging markets, primarily through solar, agriculture and financial technologies.
It has become a leading solar power operator and financier in Africa, providing customers in rural areas with off-grid solar solutions at affordable prices using digital payment technologies.
Following the signing of a national electrification agreement in 2016 with the government of Rwanda, Ignite implemented a successful pilot.
It has since rolled out projects in five other countries in Africa, reaching last-mile customers. More than 1.1 million people are already connected to sustainable, clean and safe energy for the first time, creating some 3,500 local jobs. There are plans for Latin America and the Middle East.
Based on Ignite’s success, Homsi has also co-founded an African Innovation Fund focusing on sustainable impact investments in the continent. She is on the investment committee of Microvest, and was chair of the YPO Global Diplomacy network (a global network of young chief executives).
The mother-of-two says: “Africa is now the fastest-growing continent in the world. It is due to double in size in the next 30 years. We either have to find a way to support sustainable positive growth, or it’s going to cause many future crises with people who are living in unacceptable conditions. This is a big challenge today and technology and smart investment is the determining factor.”
Homsi’s passion for using business and technology to solve some of the world’s problems is deep-rooted. Describing herself as an Egyptian-Lebanese-Israelite, she was exposed to different cultures from a young age.
She recalls: “I quickly realised that if you wanted to have a constructive conversation focused on the future in conflict situations, you had to do it through business. Often business people forget about their differences and manage to think about how they can look towards positive relationships through working together. I thought that if I want to make an impact, I need to be a good businessperson.”