Husk Power Systems and Smart Power India launch the “Pragati ki Aur” campaign to boost income of solar-powered, women-led MSMEs in rural India


Smart Power India (SPI), a subsidiary of The Rockefeller Foundation, and Husk Power Systems, the leading net-zero energy company serving rural Asia and Africa with community solar microgrids, together announced: “Pragati Ki Aur”, a new campaign to help women-owned small businesses in India increase their income, while also promoting greater use of affordable, reliable and clean electricity.

Pragati ki Aur (“Towards Growth”) aims to increase footfall and generate more revenue for women-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). In the campaign’s initial phase, about 500 women business owners were recruited in the communities served by Husk’s solar microgrids. After recruitment, coupons valued at up to 1 million INR (USD 12,500) were distributed to drive more business to these MSMEs. Coupon holders are eligible for discounts on the products/services offered by the businesses. Moreover, for every redeemed coupon, the women entrepreneurs will receive free electricity from Husk worth the face value of the coupon.

In India, women comprise only about 20% of the MSME sector. Narrowing that gender gap, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has the potential to create substantial productivity gains and increase GDP by an average of 35%. India is already witnessing a positive change, with government data showing that the number of women-led MSMEs has risen by 75% in the last year.

Referring to the campaign, Samit Mitra, Head-Programs, Smart Power India, said, “Clean and reliable energy access can help women to become financially independent through better livelihood opportunities and improve their living standards. We not only facilitate reliable power access for rural women entrepreneurs but also assist them with resources and skill-training to help increase productivity and run their businesses more efficiently, which translates into improved socio-economic outcomes for them and their families.”

“Companies in the microgrid industry should fully commit to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion for their own business operations, but especially for their customers,” said Saugata Datta, India Country Director for Husk Power. “Pragati ki Aur is a major step in that direction and demonstrates a strategic commitment to gender diversification in the communities we serve and to opening up new opportunities for the new-age woman entrepreneur.”

Smart Power India and Husk are working together to understand the current status of women’s inclusion in the rural economy and are designing additional interventions using clean energy to enable higher impact for women-led small businesses.

The two organizations believe in setting up an ecosystem that is not just limited to electricity for lighting but also for creating livelihoods that will contribute to sustaining the demand and improving living standards and the rural economy.

Pragati ki Aur is supported by the German development agency GIZ.

About Husk Power Systems
Founded in 2008, Husk Power Systems is the leading net-zero energy services company operating across rural Asia and Africa. Its smart and sustainable solutions, centered around community solar microgrids, accelerate access to clean, modern and affordable electricity and catalyze socio-economic development. Husk’s focus on service excellence and reliability meets the growing aspirations of both businesses and households, while its grid-integrative solution supports national electrification plans.

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About Smart Power India (SPI)
SPI, a subsidiary of The Rockefeller Foundation, was established in 2015 to develop and scale sustainable models to accelerate electricity access and spur economic development amongst rural underserved communities. It is committed to creating knowledge and accountability in the public domain through robust evidence-based research and providing field and analytical support to the Government, private sector, implementers and other donors in their pursuits for rural electricity access. SPI develops and disseminates relevant knowledge in the rural electricity access and services space with an aim to promote research and innovation and partners with policymakers, practitioners and academic institutions to come up with actionable insights and innovative strategies. While SPI’s work covers the spectrum of supply and demand side issues of rural electricity, its focus is the last-mile customer. SPI exchanges knowledge by promoting and facilitating platforms for networking, knowledge sharing and collaborative research, networking, knowledge sharing and collaborative research.