[:en]The Smart Villages Initiative is pleased to announce three finalists in the Off-grid Energy Impact Competition for India. Energy entrepreneurs from across the nation entered this competition, designed to highlight cases where access to energy has acted as a catalyst for development in rural Indian villages.
Entrepreneurs play a key role in increasing energy access to remote villages. Smart Villages launched this competition to recognise and support energy entrepreneurs who are already impacting the lives of rural villagers, and to inspire more Indian and South Asian entrepreneurs to get involved. We are pleased to announce, Naturetech, Gram Oorja and Lytyfy as the finalists in the competition.
- Naturetech installs mini-grids that provide energy far beyond household level lighting. The energy provided by Naturetech has enabled street lights for increased safety, connected schools for better education and food processing plants for better health and nutrition. The company has already electrified thousands of households in India and have a vision for Smart Solar Microgrid Villages around the world.
- Gram Oorja prioritises community involvement in their mini-grid and solar-powered water pump model by working in collaboration with a “Village Electrification Councils.” Gram Oorja has seen villagers gain access to refrigeration, communications and dramatically decrease the amount of time spent collecting water, thanks to the power they provide. They have already installed nine mini-grids and are continuing to build their business.
- Lytyfy’s unique model combines crowdfunding, microfinance and off-grid energy access. Through an online platform, individuals can lend money to people in rural communities to help finance the purchase of solar panels. They have recently finished their first pilot installing 50 systems and are currently planning to scale their operations to nine other districts.
Smart Villages would also like to announce five honourable mentions in this competition. Karmasukom Energy, Mlinda, Team Sustain, Kumudini Enterprise and Global Himalayan Expedition have each made great strides in improving energy access to India’s rural populations.
The competition winner will be announced and will receive an INR 10 lakh award on the main stage of TERI’s Lighting a Billion Lives Convention on 11 April 2016, at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. All finalists and honourable mention finalists will receive business support from the Entrepreneurial Development Institute of India, facilitated by the Gujarat CSR Authority.
“India is an exciting space for off-grid energy entrepreneurship, and that is certainly reflected in the broad range of innovative and successful approaches brought to our attention through this competition. We look forward to supporting these finalists as they continue to grow their businesses and provide energy services to India’s rural population,” commented Kristin Polman, Director for International Competitions at Smart Villages.
Smart Villages would like to thank Ashden, the UN Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Forum for the Future, New Ventures India, the CLEAN network and Village Capital for their support on this competition.[:]