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- About Us
Improve the lives of India’s urban poor
by giving them access to sustainable products that make their lives better.
Empower local Indian entrepreneurs
to be a positive force for change in India’s urban poor communities.
Make social business mainstream
by raising awareness about the communities we work with and supporting the next generation of social entrepreneurs.
What do we mean by social business?
Social business is not a new concept, and in fact it’s how most businesses first came about. It’s simply a business which is developed in order to service a social need. Put another way, it’s a financially self-sustainable organisation with a purely social agenda.
How exactly does our business model work?
Our business is enabling access to sustainable technologies. We do social good by targeting groups of people that otherwise have no access to these technologies, by making the technology affordable, and by remaining fully accountable to the customer and ensuring that the products are fulfilling their purpose. We also work with our communities to better understand their evolving needs, so that they always have access to the right products for them.
Who are they and what is their role?
The Pollinators are local Indians with an entrepreneurial spirit. Through Pollinate Energy, they get the opportunity to start their own business operating in urban slum communities all over the city, forming the backbone of our micro-distributor network. However, Pollinators are much more than just a conveyor of goods, often forming very close relationships with their communities.
In order to get a new Pollinator off a running, we provide them with a Business in a Bag. This is essentially a tool kit that the Pollinator always has access to, providing them with everything they need, from simple things like a transport allowance, to the more complex, like smart phones with a Salesforce cloud management system.
What types of products do we offer?
Pollinate is dedicated to offering products that best suit our customer’s needs. When we trial a new product or product line, we will always give demos to some of our existing customers to use and test in their own time. We then take into account their feedback, as well as consider durability, affordability, supplier relationship and more, before deciding to incorporate a product into our business.
Accredited by IFC’s “Lighting Africa” quality standards (also adopted by the IEC)
Four modes: torch, desk lamp, room light and hanging light
LifePo battery, which is non-toxic and one of the best commercially available battery types
Rigorous manufacturing and quality control oversight by the product’s designer
Durable and long-lasting design, which suits to the less than ideal conditions of use
Advance airflow design means a hotter more efficient burn, with 50% less smoke and emissions
Uses only half the amount of wood for the same cooking results
Wood savings pay back the capital cost of the product in under 6 months
Higher temperature burn speeds up cooking time despite using less wood
Stable base and durable build, with a 1 year guarantee and 7 year lifetime
How are we performing?
Pollinate produces real and tangible results. We regularly visit the communities we work in and we see that customers are actually using the products they have purchased. The benefits are many and varied, such as improvements to personal well-being, positive environmental impacts, building awareness, and creating local business opportunities.
Many people have to leave their tent periodically to escape the choked air inside. Our solar lights and efficient cookstoves reduce indoor air pollution by over half.
Try switching off all your lights one evening and using nothing but a small candle go about your life. Our solar lights make a huge difference to someone living this way every night.
We only sell more efficient and renewable products, so people can improve their lifestyle whilst reducing their reliance on fossil fuels for their energy.
The cost of our solar lights is the equivalent of around five months worth of kerosene. Given that the solar lights last for five years, that’s a lot of savings for the customer.
The burning of kerosene and open wood fires emits huge amounts of green house gases and black carbon. Our products help significantly reduce these emissions.
Since our solar lights are portable, customers use them while travelling at night. This makes them visible, so they are less likely to get in harm’s way.
The majority of communication is visual. As you’ve experienced, it is clearly nicer to have a good light to sit under at night while speaking with friends.
Our fellows and young professionals get a very literal taste of running a business. Ideas they generate in the morning can be implemented that very afternoon.
While us laggards continue to rely on the grid for our power, the communities our lights go into have leap-frogged straight over the centralised grid network and now enjoy off-grid, renewable energy.
We’ve already had one instance where a Pollinator, through their work with us, acquired the skills to go onto a higher skill, higher paid job. We were sad to see him go, but happy for him all the same.
We help educate on many levels. For example, the customer learns about how to live a healthier life, the Pollinator learns many new business skills, and our program participants learn about social business.
Create a conversation between students and professionals from Australia, the UK and New Zealand, the same from India, some local Indian entrepreneurs, and people living in India’s urban slums – what do you get? A Pollinate Energy Program!
Where is Pollinate headed?
In September 2014 we will begin our expansion into Hyderabad, where we will pilot our social franchise model. Late 2015 will see a multi-city expansion across India.
Each city Pollinate expands to will see another 20 Pollinators starting their own business, reaching tens of thousands with clean and affordable products.
Long term, we aspire to reach every tier one city in India, serving millions.