Inspiring Green Business Ideas from India

Simpa Networks - green businessIndia may be one of the biggest CO2 emitters on the planet, but they’re also one of the most inspiring places to find creative green business ideas. Check out these two green entrepreneurial ventures that are bringing green energy and green commuting to the masses.

Bringing Renewable Energy to Those without Clean Power in India

Much of India remains non-electrified, making power one of the biggest development issues for the country. Being touted as a “radically affordable” renewable energy option, Simpa Networks may be the key to making solar available to 1.6 billion consumers in the world.

Working on a progressive purchase basis, Simpa Networks provides solar photovoltaic systems to customers at very affordable rates. Customers put down an initial, but small, down payment, and then they pre-pay for the service. Once the prepaid credit is exhausted, the solar system becomes disabled temporarily, until the customer tops up to add more “credit” to their energy bank account, which they can do by mobile phone.

The best news is that each payment goes toward paying the capital costs of installation so that once fully paid, which can be in as few as 10 years, the customer owns the clean energy system for the rest of its useful life. The company currently offers this service in Karnataka, India, but hopes to expand globally.

OliveTrips - green business ideasOliveTrips for an Eco-Friendly Commute Using Only Your Mobile Phone

This newest Indian solution to hitching a sustainable ride to work starts with a Gmail address and a mobile phone number. Anyone can register their car, vehicle, or bicycle with OliveTrips, listing the seating capacity, mileage, and fuel type. From there, “vehicle” owners input their hoped-for destinations, including dates, co-rider preferences, and other details. This all gets entered into the OliveTrips database which can be accessed by anyone looking for a ride that matches their requirements.

A user can then express interest in a desired trip, which generates an email and SMS sent to the owner of the ride. Users of the service get reports periodically from OliveTrips that detail the environmental benefits they’ve obtained by using greener travel methods.

This post was written by:

Maryruth Belsey Priebe

Maryruth has been seeking the keys to environmental justice - both at home and at work - for over a decade. Growing up adjacent to wild spaces, Maryruth developed a healthy respect (and whimsical appreciation) for things non-human, but her practical mind constantly draws her down to earth to ponder tangible solutions to complex eco-problems.

With interests that range from green living to green business, sustainable building designs to organic gardening practices, ecosystem restoration to environmental health, Maryruth has been exploring and writing about earth-matters for most of her life. Of special interest is the subject of ecopsychology and the role the natural world plays in the long-term health and well-being of humanity. You can learn more about Maryruth's work at

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  1. Florin says:

    It’s true I’ve always thought of India and China as the world’s two most polluting countries , and I still do, but reading about interesting projects like these makes me believe there’s hope for us yet. It’s just a drop in a bucket, but it’s a start

  2. Shane says:

    Have to agree with Florin, India gets so much bad press as a polluter that this is really quite encouraging. Really interesting that these initiatives rely so heavily on mobile technology too. I like the business model that Simpa has employed but I’d be interested to know what the life expectancy of the installed technology is. How many people are likely to actually experience free power I wonder…

  3. vaivhav says:

    Another interesting article. Infact in Inida, there are a lot of green thinkers who are coming into action. Even I founded an Ecotourism enterprise last year, and as far, it is going quiet well.

    Thank you for the article.

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