Popularly known as ‘The Generator Girl,’ Ejiroghene Udu, stands at the helm of Premium Power Solution Limited (PPS Ltd), a pioneering force in the realm of power solutions. Her dedication to personal development and growth is evident in her pursuit of an executive MBA at the esteemed Lagos Business School, simultaneously steering PPS Ltd as its visionary CEO.
Under Ejiro’s adept leadership, PPS Ltd stands as a beacon of innovation, offering an extensive range of power solutions encompassing power rentals, renewable energy, generator sales, and proactive generator maintenance. With a goal to empower businesses to flourish amidst the challenges posed by Nigeria’s erratic power supply, she ensures uninterrupted growth and sustainable market presence.
Ejiro’s journey as an entrepreneur commenced with the birth of PPS Ltd in early 2016, stemming from a passionate resolve to address Nigeria’s prevailing power supply disparities. Her vision has since flourished, meeting the critical need for reliable electricity supply across individuals and enterprises throughout the nation. In this interview with IFEOMA OKEKE-KORIEOCHA, she speaks on how she has defied stereotypes and excelled in a male-dominated profession.
What informed the name, ‘The Generator Girl’?
I earned this alias from my clients and colleagues. I began my career with one of the biggest generator rental companies in Nigeria in 2014 as a sales officer. Consumed by passion but with limited experience, I learned earnestly about generators from our technicians and spent most of my nights at the site with them during troubleshooting or site connections. This helped me to quickly develop technical skills and expertise in this field which made me popular amongst my colleagues and clients hence the name “The Generator Girl.”
Take us through your journey of setting up Premium Power Solution Limited. Was it a story of ‘From grass to grace’ or the breakthrough just happened for you?
My journey of establishing Premium Power Solution Limited is a testament to the unexpected twists and turns that life can bring. It’s not the typical ‘from grass to grace’ narrative, nor was it a straightforward breakthrough. Instead, I believe that every step along the way was orchestrated by God, and I am grateful for His divine guidance that has shaped my path.
I stumbled upon a job vacancy for sales officer for a generator rental company on my Blackberry status, an industry far removed from my academic background in Linguistics and Communications Studies. Looking back, I can’t help but see the hand of providence in leading me to that opportunity. Despite the initial mismatch between my qualifications and the industry, I was drawn to the challenge and potential impact of providing temporary power solutions. As I immersed myself in the energy sector, I quickly realized that this was where my true passion lay. The more I learned, the more I became captivated by the potential to make a meaningful contribution.
The transition from being an employee to an entrepreneur was another unexpected turn, one that I attribute to divine guidance. The decision to set up my own business was not a grand plan I had been meticulously crafting for years; rather, it was a calling that I felt deep within my heart. With the blessings of providence and the support of those who believed in me, I took the leap and established Premium Power Solution Limited.
Why did you choose to focus on the energy sector? Was it a decision you made from childhood?
While my childhood dreams may not have envisioned this path, I now understand that true passion can emerge unexpectedly and lead us to extraordinary destinations. The moment I stepped into this industry; I discovered a passion that ignited a fire within me – for bridging the power gap through temporary power solutions. I recognized that delivering temporary power solutions went beyond simply providing equipment; it was about ensuring unwavering dependability, seamless execution, and a level of service that would set new industry standards.
What services do you offer at Premium Power Solution Limited?
Generator rental, maintenance, repairs, and sales.
As the CEO of Premium Power Solution Limited, a company that competes with companies headed mostly by men in the energy sector, how do you thrive in this market?
Competing in a male-dominated industry can present a lot of challenges that are unique to females and one of the ways I have been able to stand the test of time is in expertise.
I can confidently say: “I know my onion”. I keep sharpening my skills and reinventing myself as a temporary power solutions expert. I have been able to build knowledge and expertise so it no longer matters whether I am male or female. All that matters is that I am where I am today mainly on merit.
Secondly, I would say networking strategically. Knowing who the main players in my industry are and exposing my skills, abilities, and business to them has helped me remain top-of-mind.
Thirdly, I have been exceptionally focused on the experience of my customers whenever they interact with my business. We find out what customers really need that our competition can’t give them and adapt our services to meet that need. We’ve been able to also leverage technology to drive that process and also build a diverse experienced team around our business that showcases our strength and increases performance.
Lastly, I’ve also been able to leverage on social media to showcase my achievements whenever I hit any major milestone. Social media has given me and my business more reach than I imagined. I have tooted my horn on social media and it has given me an edge and I am now being recognized. I have been invited to speak at industry events and of recent I was awarded one of the 100 most outstanding CEO’s to look out for in 2023 by EOM Business Network.
As a woman you have to toot your horn or else no one will toot it for you.
How did you get your startup capital to commence the business and what has helped you rise over the years?
When I embarked on the journey of starting my business, I didn’t have monetary capital to invest. The only thing I invested in at the time was branded stickers. But I possessed a valuable asset that proved to be just as influential: Social Capital. I tapped into my network of relationships, connections, and expertise to build the foundation of my business. I collected generators from my colleagues in the industry, performed quality control, pasted my stickers and delivered to my customers.
Through word-of-mouth recommendations and endorsements from my network, I was able to attract customers who valued the authenticity and passion that went into my business. This early support not only provided crucial initial revenue but also laid the groundwork for sustainable growth.
While I may not have started with monetary capital, I firmly believe that my strategic use of social capital has been a driving force behind my business’s success. It’s a testament to the power of relationships, collaboration, and resourcefulness in achieving entrepreneurial goals.
How old is your company and what success stories have you recorded since you set up this company?
My company turned six years in July 2023.
Reflecting on the journey of the past six years, I am incredibly proud of the milestones we have achieved and the impact we have made. Since our inception in July 2017, we have been dedicated to providing reliable power solutions for a wide range of events, businesses, and individuals.
One of our proudest achievements is the fact that we have successfully powered over 4,000 events, serving as the reliable backbone that ensures smooth operations and memorable experiences. Whether it’s been corporate events, outdoor festivals, weddings, or emergency situations, our generators have consistently delivered the power needed to keep things running seamlessly.
What truly sets us apart is our commitment to excellence and our relentless pursuit of minimizing downtime. With less than five percent downtime over the years, we have demonstrated a level of reliability that instills confidence in our customers. This track record is a testament to our meticulous maintenance, rigorous testing, and the expertise of our dedicated team.
I am also humbled by the fact that 95 percent of our customers express their satisfaction and loyalty through their actions and words. When we asked our customers about their experience, an overwhelming majority indicated that they not only plan to return but also eagerly recommend our services to their friends and families. This level of endorsement speaks volumes about the trust we have built and the value we bring to those we serve.
Our success story is a testament to the passion, dedication, and teamwork that drive us forward, and I am excited to see where the next chapter of our journey takes us.
What are your major challenges of operating in this market, especially one dominated my men?
Introducing myself as a woman in this industry often led to raised eyebrows and sceptical looks. There were times when my competence was questioned based solely on my gender. Yet, what I’ve come to realize is that these initial doubts have only fuelled my determination to prove my worth through action.
Once I engage with clients, partners, and colleagues, the narrative shifts dramatically. I’ve witnessed how doubts are replaced with respect and admiration as I demonstrate my in-depth knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and track record of successful projects.
I am proud to stand as an example for other women who aspire to thrive in fields traditionally dominated by men. My journey serves as a reminder that diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords but essential elements that contribute to innovation and progress.
What did you study in the university and did this in any way influenced the profession you practice today?
I studied Linguistics and communications studies in the University of Port-Harcourt. It may not seem directly connected to my current entrepreneurial pursuits. However, I firmly believe that the communication skills and insights I gained during my studies have played a pivotal role in shaping my success as an entrepreneur.
Who were the key people that contributed to the success of what you do today? And what were their roles in making you who you are today?
God, who has granted me wisdom, witty invention and a resilient spirit. My Husband, who has been the wind beneath my wings. He actually lent me money to buy my first truck and has been my greatest supporter and cheerleader. My Family, who have been the greatest support system. My customers, who have trusted me with their resources, and My staff, who have bought into the vision and are impacting society alongside myself.
As a woman married with two kids, how do you create a work-life balance in your profession as well as your family life?
For me, there is no such thing as work-life balance. Work is part of life, not in opposite. Whether its work-life balance or integration, they both aim to help us achieve greater fulfillment and better quality of life.
I have learnt to delegate task and seek help when necessary. My family has been so supportive in this regard.
Having a schedule has also helped me categorise and integrate my family into my work time. For example; I have a reminder on my phone to call my husband and my children or bring my kids to my office after school.
I take stock of my life activities and priorities. Regularly assessing my commitments helps me realign my priorities, ensuring that my time and energy are devoted to what truly matters at that particular season.
Being kind to myself has also helped me. Recognizing that setbacks are part of any journey, I try to maintain self-compassion and avoid being overly critical of myself when challenges arise.
Incorporating these principles into my daily life empowers me to integrate my professional aspirations and family responsibilities.
What is your advice for young ladies looking to set up their own businesses but lack funds and support?
Starting a business with limited funds and support is undoubtedly a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity for growth.
I will first tell you what my mentor told me: Ejiro, create value, money will follow. So, focus on creating products or services that provide real value to your target audience
Secondly: Research. Research. Research. Thirdly, believe in yourself. Trust in your abilities, stay committed to your vision, and don’t let discouragement hold you back.
Fourthly, start small. I didn’t have any capital anywhere but I started anyway.
Expect unconventional support. Support will come from the places you least expect. In fact, the very place you are soliciting for support from, you won’t get it.
Do you have any regret in your career pursuit you think you would have done better if you are to take back the hands of time?
One regret I had was opening another branch without proper risk assessment or feasibility studies.
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