Husk Power Systems and Smart Power India Launch “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.

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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.”

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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.

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