Hello readers! Spiffy here, bringing you another interview with a fabulous social entrepreneur. Today I’m speaking with Parveen Begum, one of the leaders behind Solisco, a company making electro-mobility a reality. Time to learn more about her impact on SDG #7: Affordable and Clean Energy.
Spiffy: Good day, Parveen! What challenge are you addressing through Solisco?
Parveen: Thank you for having me, Spiffy. At Solisco, we are trying to give people energy freedom by demonstrating new ways of powering things that are usually responsible for carbon emissions—such as the cars we drive. Our mission is to transform ordinary spaces into innovative energy hubs by implementing solar carports, smart chargers, and battery storage to support electric vehicle uptake. Unless this sustainable infrastructure exists, our shift to electro-mobility will not be as green and innovative as it can be. The heartbeat of our company has always been to educate others about the benefits of EVs and clean technology and provide thought leadership on what the future of electrification could look like—clean and affordable for everyone.
A rendering of a future train station with EV charging infrastructure. (Image designed by Solisco & Bluetop)
Spiffy: Where does your motivation come from to do this work?
Parveen: The motivation behind my work stems right back to my childhood memories. My parents used to take us on holiday to their home country, Bangladesh. There, we would experience firsthand the beauty of nature, but also the hardship of challenges it faces—things we often take for granted like clean water and reliable electricity. Exposure to life in Bangladesh gave me the realization that I am very fortunate to be living in a country where I have the opportunity to learn and choose a career path with the hope that, eventually, I could make a difference to help others in less advantaged situations. And then I found my passion for electric cars when I started to work for Tesla! I remain motivated when I think of my six-month-old son’s future.
Spiffy: How do you work toward a more equitable world?
Parveen: Personally, I have always been an advocate for fairness and equality. Within my organization, these values resonate. When hiring and working with other teams, we always strive to ensure we take into account gender, race and disabilities—ensuring we don't leave anyone out. The world needs a massive shift to take place, and for this transition to be just and fair, we need to ensure everyone is accounted for and that we do our work in an inclusive manner. Giving back to the community and to our planet is our ultimate goal. So one of the ways in which we contribute as an organization is by educating others. We do this via our website blog, through social media channels, and even in person, delivering presentations and workshops.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent milestone you’ve reached with Solisco.
Parveen: We wanted to inspire university graduates to think about sustainable careers in our upcoming industry of electro-mobility. So I took on an intern at my own expense, enabling him to work very closely with me on projects and get valuable experience. In the end, I spoke with his university and managed to secure funding through a bank that offers a program that pays the internship. This was a great success as it meant we could keep him on for longer. He worked on a fantastic project with us that lasted three months and had a great outcome. Now our intern has moved on to start a career working for a successful charging point company. We are thrilled with his success! Sometimes we just need to give young people opportunities!
Spiffy: You’re a very generous leader! What’s a time you’ve faced failure and how did you overcome it?
Parveen: Over a decade ago, I encountered a near-death experience—we were on holiday in Bangladesh, crossing the sea, and our boat capsized. I was trying to save my younger brother and almost drowned myself. Thankfully my whole family survived, but for years I was terrified of the sea. Then one day when talking to a diver about his experiences undersea, I was fascinated and wanted so badly to be able to overcome my trauma so that I would be able to do the same. It took me a few attempts, but just three years ago, I became an open water diver! I realized that fears and failures are there to overcome and propel us to the next level. I absolutely love the spectacular underwater beauty and always use this example to overcome any obstacles I am faced with.
Spiffy: You’ve shown a lot of courage in overcoming your fears. What’s something you’ve learned unexpectedly as of late?
Parveen: Up until now, I have learned a lot from leading figures who are very wise and experienced. However, recently I was unexpectedly learning from my six-month-old baby Noah. Watching him every day reminds me that we should all be a bit more baby! When he wakes up in the morning he is smiling—it's his first reaction and I believe he is thinking "today is my favorite day." Then he goes through the day with such fascination and curiosity, something I believe many people lose as they grow from children to adults. Noah demonstrates wanting to learn new skills and the sheer excitement and satisfaction from doing so. We all need to remain inspired from day to day in order to be the best version of ourselves. So Noah is my unexpected learning curve!
Spiffy: I’m always saying we need to learn more from kids! Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
Parveen: Yes! I would like to add that anyone can make a difference to our planet, to the people around us, and even to ourselves. Small actions lead to big outcomes. I started my career on a passion, I had to make a difference. I love helping people and this is what makes me feel good. In life, you may or may not find your passion early, but when you do find it, put all your energy into it and you will be pleased. And never stop learning and bettering yourself because there is only one you—so if your bucket is full, you can give back plenty.
Spiffy: Well said! Thank you for talking to me, Parveen. It’s been an honor.
With an entrepreneurial spirit and dedicated to making a difference, co-founder Parveen Begum became the CEO of Solisco in 2016, following her career with the electric vehicle trailblazers, Tesla. Environmental impacts and sustainable solutions are at the forefront of Parveen’s work at Solisco, which offers specialist consultancy, thought leadership, and cleantech infrastructure to support electromobility. (Nominated by One Young World. First published on the Ladderworks website on July 16, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Elias Ross Trupin. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.