Careers & Education

Nathaniel Peat: Enterprising entrepreneur

By KIMBERLEY HIBBERT Career & Education reporter

Sunday, July 27, 2014    

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GROWING up in the United Kingdom, multi-award winning entrepreneur Nathaniel Peat was faced with stereotypes of what West Indian children were perceived to be. Such stereotypes at the time, according to Peat, were that these children were underachievers, drug users, and instigators of crime.

It was with the help of God and his parents that Peat said he developed a spirit of resilience and persistence to rise above the challenges.

Today Peat, who holds a bachelor of engineering degree with honours and a master of science degree in advanced manufacturing systems from Brunel University, is the CEO and chief engineer of Gennex Elite, which he started three years ago from the Virgin media Pioneer platform -- an online community of enterprising people who use videos and blogging to share their ideas and experiences.

Gennex is geared at assisting and supporting economic growth and development in regions of low income and poverty in the form of solar renewable energy sources.

"In several places around the world people had issues with power. On trips to African countries I would notice that some sections would be blacked out in comparison to other countries that had light.

"As a company we want to play a significant role in the transition from unsafe candles and kerosene lighting to our solar-based bright LED lighting systems, for both portable use and homes. This in turn will help to slash energy bills from both the grid and electrical generators. We also aim to assist those who struggle to pay light bills by giving them the opportunity to have portable pay-as-you-go solar lighting and aim to create jobs through sale, manufacture and maintenance of our devices," Peat said.

With this plan, Peat, who is of Jamaican heritage, travelled to the island to assist with the Kimroy Bailey Robotics Summer Camp in Trelawny to help 32 young people get trained in building renewable energy sources.

From the camp, six were selected to participate in the Gennex project to build a full solar lantern.

"The Gennex Solar Project will fuse both technical and entrepreneurship education around solar energy into a single programme. Participants will learn how to assemble solar devices and solar lanterns and will gain vital transferable business skills, which they can use to earn money as entrepreneurs selling solar products," Peat said.

The company is divided into two arms -- Gennex Blueprint, the social scheme which partners with charities and social entities to empower, train and develop young people in the area of renewable energy; and Gennex Elite, the commercial arm of the company which sells to entities like JPS and then has consumers purchase the goods.

However, the background of the company ensures that the blueprint takes precedence over the elite.

For Peat, the partnership with Kimroy Bailey Foundation supplying parts for the project and sourcing funding through the I Support Jamaica crowd funding website was not a move to create something new.

"The idea is never to reinvent the wheel but to add to existing projects and see how best we can improve," he said.

After the project is completed it is expected that the participants will be able to not only assemble the lanterns, but also install home lighting systems.

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