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About | Powering Livelihoods

Programme overview

The gap

India’s rural economy, comprising 119 million male and female farmers and 34 million microenterprises owned by men and women, is constrained by unreliable electricity access; more than four million microenterprises mention lack of reliable electricity as the biggest challenge to their business.

The electricity gap for the rural economy could be addressed through clean energy innovations, having a market potential of over $50 billion. Currently, very few such innovations exist with deployment limited to hundreds. They are struggling to scale due to lack of policy and financial support and unable to unlock support due to lack of evidence, creating a vicious circle.

Bridging the gap

In order to break the vicious cycle at the commercial valley of death and trigger the $50 billion market, Powering Livelihoods envisages a four-fold approach with gender-inclusive strategies at its core. The programme will provide enterprise support to enable women-friendly product enhancements and commercial deployments, generate evidence at scale, disseminate knowledge to key stakeholders, and unlock sectoral support and growth.

Roadmap

Call for Application
Call for Applications
December 2020 - January 2020
Application Screening
Application Screening and Enterprise Shortlisting
January 2020 – April 2020
Jury Pitches
COVID-19 support to Shortlisted Enterprises
June 2020 - August 2020
Cohort launch
Cohort Launch
August 2020
Incubation
Incubation Programme
September 2020 – June 2022
Cohort Graduation
Cohort Graduation
June 2022

Impact

We aim and measure the impact of Powering Livelihoods at three levels: End-user, Enterprise and Ecosystem
End-user Level
10,000 beneficiaries
using clean energy-powered livelihood solutions with over 1/3rd being women.
20%
increase in income of at least 3/4th of the beneficiaries.

Enterprise Level
$10 million
cumulative value of commercial capital raised by DRE productive use enterprises in India by June 2023 with at least $1 millionn towards gender inclusion.
4X
increase in cumulative revenue of the programme enterprises.

Ecosystem Level
(directly attributable to the programme)
  • Evolution in perceptions of key bankers, investors, and policymakers towards the sector and gender inclusion.
  • At least one policy is broadly attributable to the programme endeavours.
  • At least one productive-use enterprise, which is not part of the programme, receives debt or equity support.
  • At least one new investor extends equity to productive use enterprises.
  • Enhanced sectoral knowledge (and potentially adoption) of gender-inclusive business strategies across the value chain of DRE productive use enterprises.

A joint initiative

CEEW and Villgro have co-conceptualised Powering Livelihoods and are collaborating to catalyse India's rural economy through clean energy-based solutions.

CEEW is one of South Asia’s leading not-for-profit policy research institutions. The Council uses data, integrated analysis, and strategic outreach to explain – and change – the use, reuse, and misuse of resources. It prides itself on the independence of its high-quality research, develops partnerships with public and private institutions, and engages with wider public. In 2019, CEEW once again featured extensively across nine categories in the ‘2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report’. The Council has also been consistently ranked among the world’s top climate change think tanks.

Founded in 2001, Villgro is India's largest social enterprise incubator. Villgro creates scalable, impactful and sustainable enterprises. Villgro has incubated over 130 social enterprises with seed funding of INR 13.9 crores, many of which have gone on to generate around 4,000 jobs, secure INR 119.5 crores in follow-on funding, and touch over 15 million underprivileged lives.