Powering Livelihoods Invites Applications for Clean Energy Enterprise Support


National, Dec 20, 2023 – Powering Livelihoods, an initiative by the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) and Villgro Innovations Foundation, is inviting applications for enterprises deploying clean energy-based livelihood innovations. The program aims to boost India’s rural economy by supporting the deployment of Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) powered technologies that have the potential to create sustainable and resilient livelihoods.

Selected enterprises will receive financial support of up to INR 25 lakh as seed funding to focus on DRE-based non-farm and farm livelihood solutions. The program offers customized gender-forward incubation, strategic mentoring, and opportunities for Go-To-Market partnerships to broaden market reach. Emphasis is placed on facilitating end-user financing for clean energy solutions, backed by evidence-driven impact creation.

DRE-livelihood technologies, also known as Productive Use of Renewable Energy (PURE) solutions, represent a USD 50 billion market opportunity in India. As per CEEW analysis, these technologies have the potential to enhance 37 million livelihoods across farm and non-farm sectors in India. The program, a blend of an enterprise and ecosystem accelerator, has already witnessed the positive impact of technologies such as solar dryers, solar textile machines, and solar-powered cold storage in enhancing incomes, improving productivity, and reducing drudgery.

Between 2020 and 2023, the program supported 14 enterprises, facilitating around 11,500 tech deployments and empowering approximately 19,123 livelihoods, with 71 per cent of beneficiaries being women. The program raised INR 97.5 million in commercial fundraising and contributed to the mitigation of 16,800 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions. The program remains committed to advancing clean energy as a key driver for rural economic growth in India.

“Villgro is proud to be part of the Powering Livelihoods program, a testament to our commitment to sustainable development in rural India. By supporting enterprises that harness the power of renewable energy, we believe we can create a lasting impact on livelihoods, especially for women in these communities,” said Ananth Aravamudan, Chief of Strategy, Villgro.

“Unlike a typical short-term acceleration program, Powering Livelihoods provides deep and long-term capital, along with technical support for impact enterprises to grow commercially. We help unlock commercial fundraisers, financing and policy support for the sector — making the program a unique one. In the past, PL-supported enterprises witnessed 2x-8x growth in less than three years. Now, we are excited to find and support young entrepreneurs with cleantech for livelihoods to achieve impact at scale,” said Abhishek Jain, Fellow & Director, Powering Livelihoods, CEEW.

The program is open to for-profit enterprises that have the potential to impact rural livelihoods and generate jobs. Enterprises that leverage Renewable Energy (RE) solutions, or those willing to integrate RE into their solutions, and those with solutions to improve energy efficiency and productivity of rural livelihoods are invited to submit applications. Additionally, women-led enterprises, enterprises with a strong gender-inclusive solution, and those willing to promote gender inclusivity through their business will be given preference.

The application window will remain open until 15 January 2024. Find more details here– Powering Livelihoods

The selection of enterprises will be based on the pitch, which will be analyzed by a jury of experts, followed by due diligence soon after. The selected enterprises will be supported through an in-depth incubation process for three years.

Villgro will support the enterprises in scaling their business through mentoring, technical assistance, and partnerships. CEEW will play a vital role in monitoring and generating evidence of the enterprises’ impact and presenting the sector’s potential to policymakers and other ecosystem stakeholders.

About Villgro: Villgro is India’s foremost impact-first incubator with expertise in four sectors – healthcare, agriculture, climate action, and gender inclusion. Our mission is to make innovative, impactful businesses succeed. Since 2001, Villgro has supported 387 social enterprises that have raised over INR 4.7 billion in investments, created 8,175 jobs, and impacted over 20.8 million lives. Villgro was recognized as the “Top Incubator” in India by Invest India (DPIIT, GoI) in 2020 and won the DivHERsity awards in 2022 and 2023.

About CEEW: The Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) is one of Asia’s leading not-for-profit policy research institutions and among the world’s top climate think tanks. The Council uses data, integrated analysis, and strategic outreach to explain — and change — the use, reuse, and misuse of resources. The Council addresses pressing global challenges through an integrated and internationally focused approach. It prides itself on the independence of its high-quality research, develops partnerships with public and private institutions, and engages with the wider public. CEEW has a footprint in over 20 Indian states and has repeatedly featured among the world’s best-managed and independent think tanks. Follow us on X (formerly Twitter) @CEEWIndia for the latest updates.