Aneri Patel, ENVenture
After earning a Masters Degree in Environment and Development, Aneri began volunteering in rural India. She joined the Auroville Village Action Group (AVAG), a community based organization in Tamil Nadu, which wanted to start an enterprise that would retail solar lights, energy saving bulbs, water filters, and improved cookstoves. The locals were aware of these products, but had no opportunities to purchase them, even though there was a market need as the villages faced chronic blackouts, used wood for cooking, and did not have access to safe drinking water. With Aneri’s help, AVAG decided to launch a nonprofit business venture that has resulted in 7000 products being distributed in the past three years.
From that experience, Aneri founded ENVenture, a volunteer student-run group born out of the Fletcher school at Tufts University. They are creating a locally run enterprise in rural Maharashtra in India in order to increase access to low cost, low carbon technologies that advance the health, sanitation and the overall living standards while avoiding environmental damage. Eliminating kerosene, three stone fires, and other harmful items used for everyday needs also creates new income-generating opportunities, which ultimately benefits local people. The enterprise will sell a variety of high quality internationally certified products recommended by ENVenture for distribution, including solar lights, non-electric water filters, improved cookstoves, and energy-saving briquettes.
ENVenture will provide business management and other start up support to a local community based organization that has the local know-how, connections and investment in their community to launch this venture. Their plan includes training local staff to take ownership of the project.
Pollination Project funding will be used to train and develop the start up team in India.
GRANT AWARD DATE: JULY 29, 2013