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How Greenway provides a safer alternative to cook for rural India

When Neha Juneja and Ankit Mathur discovered an alternative for the polluting conventional mud chulhas, they had been certain girls in rural India would embrace it wholeheartedly. However, they’d not thought of the socio-economic elements that exist in rural India, which meant regardless of a considerably higher cookstove, the duo discovered the going powerful.

Greenway Appliances was setup in 2011 and the concept was to provide you with stoves that supplied a viable alternative for the standard mud chulhas, whereas additionally taking cognisance of the well being hazards posed by the latter. Their first Greenway range, which promised 65% gas financial savings and 70% smoke discount, got here via in 2013.

Neha Juneja, co-founder and CEO of Greenway Appliances says that the thought was to begin with the event of a clear biomass burning cookstove that may substitute polluting chulhas. “These proceed to be the dominant mode of cooking even when the family has an LPG connection, TV and extra. We began this firm with the mission of creating on a regular basis merchandise that might enhance high quality of life for the typical Indian,” she says.

Known as Greenway Grameen Infra earlier, the founders finally did away with ‘grameen’ and rechristened it as Greenway Appliances due to the shortage of aspirational worth hooked up with the phrase ‘grameen.’ “People asked us why we don’t have a different name for the brand. We took that feedback, which helped us have a better brand image and perception,” provides Juneja.

Greenway stoves basically function on a patented air induction mechanism that guarantee cleaner combustion and drastically scale back emissions. A transportable range, touted as a excessive effectivity cookstove, it really works on all stable biomass fuels like wooden, dry dung, crop waste or bamboo.

Easy finance choices

However, regardless of the vary of advantages on provide, promoting these stoves was a herculean activity initially. It was troublesome to persuade girls to purchase the product for the reason that worth level of Rs 1800 performed up as a main deterrent. The duo then got here up with a answer that may make funds simpler for households in rural areas. “It disrupted their budget and hence they weren’t keen to buy despite liking our demo. It made us understand that just having a great product isn’t enough – it is also necessary to help the customer overcome barriers and buy it,” provides Juneja.

They began collaborating with micro-finance establishments, banks and facilitated half funds by way of EMI choices for anybody eager to buy such stoves. In the circumstances the place they may discover no establishment or financial institution, they took to creating credit score scores on their very own. And despite the fact that there have been apprehensions on reimbursement, it will definitely was a plan that augured properly for the founders. “It took me some time to convince myself that the customer will repay. 4-6 months is the time allotted for repayment and all of them repaid the amount that they signed up for,” she affirms fortunately.

Juneja would know. In the primary 12 months in 2013, their annual sale of stoves was lower than 7000. This quantity spiked to 70,000 in 2014 with a extra regulated provide chain coming via and has now scaled up to three lakh common sale of stoves in a 12 months. Since 2014, the corporate has offered a complete of eight lakh stoves, of which 2.5 lakh had been offered based mostly on their very own credit score scoring system alone.

Geographical divide

The problem, for the founders, was not simply restricted to financial bottlenecks. There had been lengthy standing socio-psychological limitations that had to be damaged as properly. Juneja recollects a number of cases the place girls regardless of liking the product demo and with an revenue of their very own had been unable to persuade their household to spend the cash. “This phenomenon is more pronounced in North than in other parts of the country. For example in Madhya Pradesh, women don’t come forward and seek information about the product during a demo. I think the biggest challenge for anything that relates more to women is that they need a stronger voice,” asserts Juneja.

They had to work across the concern by designing campaigns that additionally featured the mother-in-law in contrast to how it might be within the South. “There is greater money in the hands of women in the South and the East. So it is easier to talk to women in southern states and women networks there are strong as well,” she provides.

Building the product line up

The plan is to up the ante on gross sales of the stoves whereas additionally constructing on their comparatively newer line of merchandise. Their manufacturing facility, overseen by Mathur, is in Baroda with a manufacturing capability of 50,000 stoves in a month. An even bigger model of the corporate’s sensible range is the Greenway Jumbo Stove, priced at Rs 3000, which might be taken up by households with bulk cooking calls for. Besides this, they’re enthusiastic in regards to the Greenway Free TV which is a residence satellite tv for pc system for receiving the channels listed on their web site. “We see a lot of interest from men in this product category. There is a sense of urgency in purchase. We find a major spike in sales at the time of cricket matches and tournaments,” reveals Juneja.

The different line up from Greenway consists of a vary of water purifiers which they distribute and Little Sun photo voltaic powered lamps that can be utilized for various functions like studying, torch or emergency lighting.

Revenues within the present fiscal have been shut to Rs 36 crore and Juneja foresees this reaching to Rs 100 crore by FY 21, a 12 months later from their preliminary goal.

“We lost a lot of momentum after demonetisation. From November to March at that time people were not spending any money and we also suspended credit. Then our team collected field data and that helped to make things better for us,” recollects Juneja.

Their first spherical of fundraising was in 2016 once they secured $2.5 million in collection A spherical from Acumen Funds, former Genpact CEO Pramod Bhasin and Vikram Gandhi, founding father of Asha Impact.

Juneja is bullish of the street forward. She is hopeful that their enterprise will assist to bridge the urban-rural divide in a fruitful method. “We saw a gap when it came to innovation for rural India. A lot of unique things were being done for the urban category but not as much revolutionary concepts were coming through for the rural market. We hope to make a qualitative change that can help this market too,” she provides.

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About Beverly Hall

Beverly D. Hall writes for Entreprenuers and Leadership sections in AmericaRichest.

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