Category: Energy Entrepreneurs

One of the most effective ways of sharing information and disseminating experiences of energy access and rural development success (and failure) is through case studies. Smart Villages interviewed energy access and development practitioners around the world to collect their stories and insights.

Greenway: Bringing cleaner cooking to rural India

Neha Juneja, Co-founder, Greenway Location: Mumbai, India “If you don’t experience a problem yourself, it’s not easy to solve it” There was a year in the early days of Greenway in India, where Neha Juneja and her two-co-founders were eating everything they were cooking on a traditional cookstove that each of them kept in their apartments …

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Profile: Vishnu Raghunathan, Lytyfy – Winner, India

What is your off-grid energy business? Can you give a brief overview? How long have you been working on this business? Lytyfy addresses the twin issues of last mile service delivery of off grid products and end user financing. We believe that these are the two main factors that prevent adoption of off grid energy …

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Profile: Deepak Kumar, Lytyfy – Winner, India

What is your off-grid energy business? Can you give a brief overview? How long have you been working on this business? Lytyfy is a clean energy financing company which helps low and middle income customers to buy good quality solar products and service with flexible financing options. We are trying to increase the adoption of …

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Profile: Shyam Patra, Naturetech – Winner, India

Describe an overview of your organization and highlight the vision you see way forward? Naturetech Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. is a social enterprise building model villages based on holistic approach to rural development centered on smart solar AC micro grid infrastructure. Naturetech microgrids power village street lights, households, schools, water pumps and its grids can be …

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Profile: Arpan Mukhopadhyay , Naturetech – Winner, India

Brief biography Arpan Mukhopadhyay is a design engineer looking into the smart metering aspects of smart village initiatives of Naturetech Infra.  He is a newly passed out post graduate and is passionate about development of the weaker sections of society and protection of environment using technology. He  did his M.Tech in Power Electronics and Drives …

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Profile: Idara Bethel Etukudor, Sunlight Energy Ventures – Finalist, West Africa

Idara Bethel Etukudor is Head of Projects for SunLight Energy Ventures, a company he founded with his wife Christie. He has over 13 years professional experience in the construction industry, having previously worked as Client Representative on a Hotel, 18-Hole Golf Course and Jetty Project for the Akwa Ibom State Government; and as Project Supervisor …

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Profile: Christie Etukador, Sunlight Energy Ventures – Finalist, West Africa

Brief Biography Christie is the CEO of SunLight Energy Ventures, a solar energy social enterprise she founded with her husband. Prior to this, she held a lecturing position at Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria where she taught Renewable Energy Technologies to Final year students in the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering. She also consults on …

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Profile: Dodji Agbezo, Project Production Solaire – Finalist, West Africa

Brief biography Dodji AGBEZO is the head of Projet Production Solaire Togo Company. He has two masters Degree. The first master in 2007 in Energy option at University of Lomé. Since training as renewable energy and energy efficiency engineer from International Institute of engineering of water and the environment (2IE), in Burkina Faso (www.2ie-edu.org) in …

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Profile: Kouma Agbenowossi, Project Production Solaire – Finalist, West Africa

Kouma Agbenowossi is in charge of marketing for PPS (Projet production Solaire), which specializes in Renewable Energy in Togo.  Kouma started working with PPS in March 2016 and has a background in negotiation, leadership education and team management.  He is studying Business Administration and Leadership (ongoing) at VELI (van Duyse Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute) at Cotonou-Benin, …

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Profile: Prince Monsekea, PayGo Ventures – Finalist, West Africa

Brief biography Prince Monsekea is the Head of Solar at Paygo Ventures, where he is in charge of product selection and design and of solar solutions, and managing our team of installers. Previously, he was the Head of the Renewable Energy department at consulting firm ASCOTECH, and Technical Director at solar energy and electricity contractor …

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Doing rural energy in ‘rugged and inhospitable’ places

Interview with Tony Woods Founder, Sustainable Energy Services International (SESI) Location: Global, with origins in Central Asia / Pakistan and Afghanistan border “I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so there was nothing to be afraid of.” After spending time working in Singapore, Tony Woods was on an ambitious bicycle tour, from South Africa to China, …

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Profile: Andrew Carter, PayGo Ventures – Finalist, West Africa

Brief biography Andrew Carter is the Managing Director of Paygo Ventures. Previously at the African Development Bank, he led mini-grid technical assistance and initiatives to provide debt finance to pay as you go solar companies. Prior to that, he consulted for clients in Côte d’Ivoire and Democratic Republic of Congo on mini-grid projects. His entrepreneurship …

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Profile: Kabir Ademoh, Ajima Farms – Finalist, West Africa

Brief Bio Kabir is the Head Of Operations for Ajima Farms and General Enterprises in Nigeria and has worked on a variety of roles within the Agricultural sector. He is the founder of Fresh Daily a grocery delivery business aimed at supplying sustainably grown vegetables from a network of micro-farms. He has a background in …

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Profile: Fatima Oyiza Ademoh, Ajima Farms – Finalist, West Africa

Brief Biography: Miss. Fatima Oyiza Ademoh is experienced in business development & renewable energy project development. Currently, she is the Project Developer for the Power Africa USADF funded off-grid energy project implemented by Ajima in Nigeria and an Entrepreneurship lecturer at Baze University. She recently served as the Business Development Executive at Novantus Energy. Fatima …

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Profile: Check Traoré, Nafa Naana – Winner, West Africa

What is your off-grid energy business? Can you give a brief overview? How long have you been working on this business? Nafa Naana is a social business making clean and affordable energy products available to the poorest households of Burkina Faso. Nafa Naana implements an innovative business model, which combines a microfranchise approach to an …

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Profile: Sayouba Guira, Nafa Naana – Winner, West Africa

What is your off-grid energy business? Can you give a brief overview? How long have you been working on this business? Nafa Naana is a social business making clean and affordable energy products available to the poorest households of Burkina Faso. Nafa Naana implements an innovative business model, which combines a microfranchise approach to an adapted microcredit scheme: we …

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Profiles of Smart Villages Competition Finalists and Winners

East Africa Energy Innovation Challenge 2017 The third annual East Africa Energy Innovation Challenge took place in summer 2017.  With the application and screening process fully handed over the CDI for a sustainable continuation of the programme, the Cambridge Development Initiative (https://cambridgedevelopment.wordpress.com/) (CDI) selected 11 individuals out of over 200 applicants for the programme. The …

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From fashion to action: Project Tsehigh’s Grace Mahary

Interview with Grace Mahary Founder, Project Tsehigh Location: New York City / Eritrea “I am black, grew up an athlete and saw a disparity in energy in parts of the world.” Canadian model and activist Grace Mahary has worked on making fashion more inclusive. She has spoken out on Black Lives Matter, on diversity in …

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Oorja: Turning farm waste into energy in Uttar Pradesh

Interview with Amit Saraogi, Co-founder and CEO, Oorja Location: Delhi, India “We will be able to strengthen local economic development, increasing demand for our solution and bringing jobs into the local economy” Amit Saraogi spent part of his childhood in Uttar Pradesh, playing amidst the rice fields where his family harvested rice paddy to be processed in their …

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Emal Barekzai, CEO, Zularistan

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan “We worked in areas which were 100% Taliban” *** Emal Barekhzai came to Jalalabad in 2002. He was living in Kassel, Germany, and he found a two-month role working as an IT technician at a girl’s school there. Only 3% of girls were going to school in the country – a worthy cause. …

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