What if, one day, in the not-so-distant future, electricity was free? That’s the dream that drove Kanika to start Sunkalp Energy and givesun.com. www.givesun.com is an online platform that helps schools raise funds to install solar panels on their rooftops which in turn will help these schools save on electricity bills.
Kanika started Sunkalp Energy in January of 2012 to make solar power a more accessible technology in India. Prior to this initiative, she worked for 4 years with Cummins and is an engineer with a Bachelor’s in Manufacturing from Delhi College of Engineering and a Masters from MIT in the US.
Solar technology is expensive, it became important to figure out a way to make it affordable to schools, and that’s how givesun.com was born. In a first of sorts, givesun.com is a ‘community-sourcing’ project that brings people together to fund solar power installations for schools.
“We’re committed to the three Ps, People, Planet and Profit. Even though solar energy as a technology hasn’t been widely accepted, we’re committed to sticking by it,” says Kanika when talking about rural markets like UP where there are over 1 lakh un-electrified villages. Sankalp has designed and conceptualized and implemented a rural micro-grid that’s run by solar and is self-sustaining, which means the villagers can pay for their own project over time.
“Marketing and outreach seem to be the biggest challenge, as has been human resources and getting the right people and putting together the right team.” In some brilliant words of advice for other small business owners, Kanika humbly says, “It’s all about perseverance. Entrepreneurship is a lonely world.
Be ready to be misunderstood and not have people understand your ideas, but stick around and persist and breakthroughs will happen.” Well, we say that’s very sound advice and wish all small business owners persist! If you have a small business that you think can win, enter it in the #SupportSmallBizIN contest here.