Women Entrepreneurs Pitch Businesses and Share Secrets to Success During Deep Dive Workshop at the Asia Clean Energy Forum
Manila, 8 June 2018 – Five women entrepreneurs running clean energy businesses pitched their projects and shared their secrets to success in a well-attended Deep Dive Workshop that sought to highlight the challenges and opportunities for women in the sector at the Asia Clean Energy Forum today. The discussions following the presentations revealed strong demand for a network for women entrepreneurs in the energy sector, where they can connect and exchange experiences to avoid reinventing the wheel.
The Workshop was organised by the Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN), ENERGIA, Kopernik and the Alliance for Rural Elecrification (ARE), and hosted by the Asian Development Bank.
The women entrepreneurs, from Cambodia, India, Vietnam and Indonesia, are running projects ranging from small- and large-scale solar to biogas, biomass pellets and last-mile distribution of clean energy technology. They presented investment opportunities of over US$ 5 million in total. All projects have previously received or are still receiving support from PFAN to develop investment-ready business plans and meet investors. Ms. Thida Khaev and Ms. Nguyen Quynh Trang, owners of Solar Green Energy Ltd in Cambodia and Hoa Phong in Vietnam, respectively, were both recognised as New Energy Leaders of 2018 by the Asian Development Bank during a ceremony on Wednesday the 6th of June.
Of her experience working with PFAN, Ms Chitra Rajan, who has developed several biogas plants in India with her company Radix Lifespaces, said: “I came to PFAN in 2013. At that time, I came with a small idea on paper, and a dream that it could become big. PFAN helped me to structure my thoughts, structure my business plan, in a manner which bankers and investors can understand. Using that I could go to the bank, get a loan and start my business, and now my business has become operational.”
Ms. Etti Khanna of Erda Illumine Low Carbon Solutions said “If you see my business plan pre-PFAN, when I submitted it, and post-PFAN, and post-PFAN when I got the award, there was huge value added.”
Following the project presentations, a panel session examined how the macro environment of the clean energy sector could be altered to remove some of the barriers to success that women entrepreneurs face. A second panel session explored the current state and future potential of investment with a gender lens. Speakers included Quinn Reifmesser, Head of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning for PFAN; Tjarda Muller, Communications Coordinator at ENERGIA; Tomohiro Hamakawa, Chief Strategy Officer at Kopernik; Trang Sinh of the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund; and impact investing pioneer Saima Qadir.
Though the successful entrepreneurs on the panels explained they consider themselves ‘entrepreneurs’ rather than ‘women entrepreneurs’, and did not personally see much need for support services specifically aimed at women, the speakers did agree that for women not yet in the sector, a special platform to raise awareness of the opportunities available would be welcome. They also expressed their keen support for the establishment of a network for women entrepreneurs in clean energy.
About the Organisers
The Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) is a global network of clean energy financing consultants that provides free business coaching and investment facilitation to entrepreneurs developing climate adaptation and clean energy projects in low- and middle-income countries. Initiated by the UNFCCC and the Climate Technology Initiative (CTI) in 2006, and originally hosted by ICETT, it is now hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership.
ENERGIA, the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy, supports women-led energy enterprises to expand access to modern energy, and advocates for gender mainstreaming in policy and practice. The network also carries out research to create an evidence base for incorporating a gender lens in energy activities.
Kopernik is a non-profit that develops and implements innovative and experimental demonstration projects to service last mile customers with low-cost technologies. It is based in Indonesia, and primarily employs crowdfunding to fund its projects.
The Alliance for Rural Electrification is the only international trade association with a global mandate to promote all kinds of off-grid renewable energy technology solutions to electrify rural areas in developing and emerging countries. It represents more than 70 organisations based all over the world.