Social enterprise Pollinate Energy has provided 20,000 urban poor families with affordable, green energy
Based in India and Australia, Pollinate Energy sells affordable products to India’s urban poor communities, who traditionally have a difficult time getting loans.
In 2012, six young Australians — Jamie Chivers, Monique Alfris, Ben Merven, Katerina Kimmorley, Emma Colenbrander, and Alexie Seller — came together to see if they could find a way for children living in a slum in North Bengaluru, to have light to study.
Initially, the co-founders worked with another Australian social business, 40K Home — an enterprise focussed on providing education to a small migrant community living on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The co-founders focussed their efforts on finding a business model for three slums, but quickly realised there were hundreds of other slum communities that needed their help.
After speaking to suppliers and micro-finance organisations, they realised that no one was willing to provide a solution for these families – they were seen as too poor, and too risky. So, the co-founders decided to start Pollinate Energy and moved to India to set up operations. The co-founders started with a pilot of 100 solar lights, and once they reached that milestone, they knew they had something that worked.
Photo courtesy of Lance Cheung.