Ademola “Demmy” Adesina is the founder and CEO of Rensource, a West African-focused distributed energy services company.
Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in as a business owner.
An investor essentially defaulted on part of their investment commitment after executing a subscription agreement and repeated assurances of payment. Unfortunately, in anticipation of their payment we had already ordered inventory and extended offers of employment.
Once we realised they weren’t going to pay, we hustled and scrambled to find a replacement in a relatively short period of time. It took a few sleepless nights, but we got it done.
What entrepreneurial achievement are you most proud of?
We’re still in the early stages of growth, but I’m most proud of the team I’ve been able to assemble and the robustness of the various processes I see the team building and implementing. From two guys with an idea, we’ve come a long way in learning how to execute precisely.
Describe your greatest weakness as an entrepreneur.
I’ve always been biased towards business development and just getting things done myself. This is hardly tenable in any start-up environment and even less so with a business as operationally intensive as Rensource. We’re a small company with big ambitions, so we have to maximise everyone’s talent. To do that, I’ve had to force myself deliberately to be a more active manager and focus on hiring talent with management experience.
Is there anything you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before you started?
I wish I knew how much emotional volatility is involved. One literally careens from extreme highs that go alongside successes like fundraising, proving market viability and client origination, to the extreme lows that come with delays and failures like technology challenges, clients falling through, red tape, etc.
Coming to grips with these challenges and learning how to relish success while managing disappointments has been a welcome learning experience for me.
Name one business opportunity you would still like to pursue?
Some combination of a gallery and a wine bar. It seems like a pleasant way to spend time.