WIE Rise Together Campaign - Elana Laichena




We touched base with Elana Laichena, founder and director of Acacia Innovations Ltd. Elana is an entrepreneur with diverse experience in sales, programme management, policy advocacy, & design in the renewable energy sector. Previously, she served as Director of Sales and Operations at GreenChar Solutions, a briquettes start-up. She held program management roles for Here Comes Solar, a solar energy social enterprise, and Green Jobs - Green New York.

Here's what Elana had to say about her experience being an inspiring woman in energy.

Why do you believe in Africa’s energy sector?

Africa has the potential to leapfrog the energy sector in the Western world and build a low-carbon and equitable energy system.


What is your advice for women who say they struggle to make themselves heard in the workplace? 

Don’t be afraid to assert yourself and call attention to it if you feel like you’re getting unequal treatment. Leading companies recognise that putting women in leadership gives better results; if your company doesn’t give you a voice as a woman, it is their loss.


How do you deal with women competing with each other in the workplace?

I try to remind my staff that the company needs every single employee to do well in their area for the company to succeed. But some friendly competition is also healthy!


As your country’s Energy Minister what would you do to make it easier for women to enter/stay/thrive in the energy sector?

I would ensure that public institutions have a mandate to use renewable energy, in order to grow the sector and create more jobs for women.


What is your favourite book/quote to recommend as inspiration to others?

Real Happiness at Work by Sharon Salzberg (a very helpful book about mindful working and how to be centered in your career).


Who would you like as a mentor at work if you could ask anyone in the world? Why?

The late Wangari Mathai, first African woman to win a Nobel Peace prize.  She was an inspiration for combining environmental protection, social equity and democratisation.


What is your superpower?

Effective time management!


If you are part of an association – how has this association helped you in your career?

The Clean Cooking Alliance and Clean Cooking Association of Kenya have helped expand my business by advocating for supportive policies (such as the removal of VAT on briquettes) and creating linkages with like-minded businesses in the sector.

Host Ministry

  • Mineral resources & energy

Host Utility

  • eskom-logo

Host City

  • City-of-Cape-Town

Platinum Sponsor

  • Conlog
  • Actom Pty Ltd
  • Gridspertise
  • SAP
  • Sulzer

Diamond Sponsor

  • General Electric

Silver Sponsor

  • Siemens
  • Megger

Registration Sponsor

  • SAP

Host Publication

  • ESI Africa

CEO Forum Partners

  • Conlog
  • Eaton
  • Oracle Utilities
  • Prime Alliance
  • Eskom GC

Municipal Leaders Forum Partners

  • IFC

Global Knowledge Partner

  • Enel Foundation

Initiate Supporting Partners

  • Sarebi