Afternoon D & C Dedicated To Mumbai
Home > Business > Renewable Energy For Holistic Rural Development

Renewable Energy For Holistic Rural Development

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Arun Nagpal, Co-Founder, Mrida Group

Arun Nagpal is a Co-founder & Director of Mrida. At Mrida, he oversees the Group’s vision, and the strategic as well as key operational initiatives to achieve the same, including building synergies between different Mrida businesses and entities. Nagpal is a Mechanical Engineer from College of Engineering, Pune and an MBA from IIM Calcutta and brings to Mrida over 30 years of cross functional, diverse business experience covering Automotive Components, FMCG, Building & Construction and IT. He has also worked as an independent management consultant with organizations such as Hindustan Unilever, the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization and the Minda Group. In conversation with Dominic Rebello he speaks about his focus on Mrida Renergy – a renewable energy business which promotes energy access as a tool for holistic rural development

What drives you?
We started Mrida (Sanskrit for Soil) as a social business venture in February 2014, to build sustainable and scalable, financially viable business models aimed at holistic rural development. Mrida uses energy access (solar micro grids) and agricultural interventions (working with small and marginal farmers and encouraging cultivation of high value plants, crops and herbs) as tools that facilitate sustainable development and uplift lives at the Base of the Pyramid. We help design customized interventions, so that the development is sustainable and addresses the specific needs of a particular village/community we are engaged with. Rural India is plagued with issues of underserved communities, poor access – to energy, opportunities and other resources, and inequitable development. It is such issues that drive Mrida, and motivate us to do our bit to address them, while also creating business models for ourselves in the process.
 
How big is the potential for a business like yours? Any major customers that you now cater to?  
300 million Indians today lack access to energy and are potential customers for our solar micro grids. Even as these villages get electrified by the Govt. in due course, we expect that there will still be significant under-served locations in remote areas, forest based communities and so on, where dependence on solar will continue. In fact, even for electrified villages, solar can still be used as a backup mechanism for unreliable grid power. The market for micro grids will be in excess of Rs. 20,000 crores today.  The different Mrida businesses achieved a top-line of Rs. 2 crore in their first full year of operations during 2015-16, a figure that is expected to rise to Rs. 7 crore during 2016-17, and is aggressively targeted at in excess of Rs. 40 crore by 2019-20. In fact, the business could even grow faster than this under certain favorable conditions. It would be relevant to state here though, that at Mrida, it is not the top-line that is the focus – rather, it is financial viability, sustainability, and scalability.
 
How do you plan to scale up; raise funds through seed or venture capital or simply grow the old fashioned way through rising turnovers?
We have so far invested Rs. 2.5 crore in Mrida Greens and Rs. 1.5 crore in Mrida Renergy –  this includes start-up costs for the different business, capital equipment and processing facility for plant and herb extracts, and funding of initial losses. Our operations today are spread across the States of Rajasthan, UP, MP, Uttarakhand, and J&K for the renewable energy and development business, and in Gujarat for the Greens processing unit. Currently self-funded, we expect to turn profitable in the Greens business during 16-17, and latest by 17-18 also in the Renergy business – in fact, we expect to make cash profits during some months in 16-17 as well. As such, by the end of the current year, we would have been able to (a) establish proof of concept of a socially relevant and an environmentally friendly business (b) showcase that such a business can be financially self sustaining, and (c) through our presence and actions on the ground in different parts of the country, also demonstrate our capability to scale up the business on a national level.
 
Who would primarily be your consumer / audience?
Our interventions are targeted primarily at the Base Of the Pyramid (BOP) – the intended  beneficiaries are under-served rural communities and individuals, seeking to uplift themselves and partake in the development and economic betterment that the rest of the country is experiencing.
 
Where do you see yourself five years down the road?
Mrida is working on the concept of 50-500-5000, whereby we aim to set up 50 working models on the ground in the first 2 years of operations, then scale this to 500 in the next 2 years, and 5000 in the 2 years thereafter.  We intend that for all our interventions, we will work together in a synergistic manner with partners and with like-minded individuals and groups, to ensure that palpable difference is made in progressively increasing numbers, in the lives of under-served individuals and communities -  from an environmental, social as well as economic perspective.

Our focus is not on the top-line per se, but on building financially viable, sustainable as well as scalable business models that achieve our core objectives. Five years down the road, we see ourselves as having a presence not only in India, but globally as well – be it for interventions on the ground, or for customers for the products and services that will emanate from the rural areas that we are engaged in.
 

COMMENTS
No Comments Posted
POST YOUR COMMENTS
Name:  
Email:    
Comments:
 
I am married and have an active sex life with my
Dr. Rajan B. Bhonsle, M.D. (Bom)
Consulting Sex Therapist & Counsellor
Dr. (Mrs.) Minnu R. Bhonsle, Ph.D.
Consulting Psychotherapist & Counsellor
Astrology
Select Sun sign:
 
Aries (Mar 21 - Apr 20)
Aries (Mar 21 - Apr 20)You will get back some old dues written off as bad debts. Cash crunch is a thing of the past. New responsibilities at work satisfy a sense of adventure; though there may be no immediate gains you will be happy with the experience. It will also add to your work knowledge. After a busy day you may want to relax and enjoy all that you have worked for. Your mate and loved ones will be happy for you.
- Advertising -
Do you grab things off the shelf without checking
This isn’t a new-age fitness trend taking the wor
Being in a long-distance relationship isn’t easy,
Read More