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UK green start-ups seek opportunities in India

Green SME news – by Matthew Zola
23rd January 2013
Three green technology start-ups from the UK will take their businesses to India in February with Government support to explore trading opportunities in this fast-growing economy.
Buffalo Grid, Sunde, and Trusted Renewables are to travel to Bangalore, India in mid-February as a part of Web Mission 2013, an entrepreneur-led project supported by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), and other private sponsors.

London-based Buffalo Grid has created a solar-powered micro-generator that allows people who have limited access to power grids the ability to charge their mobile phones through pay-as-you-go cashless transactions using text messaging. Green IT micro-business Sunde, from Manchester, has developed a multi-user access device that allows numerous users access to a single computer’s networking power. Trusted Renewables, based in Ipswitch, has developed intelligent solar PV arrays with tamper-resistant chip and PIN technology that can be remotely managed and monitored.

Growing market
India is an important market for UK goods and services, with current growth rates of over five per cent. It has the biggest youth market in the world, with around half of its 1.2 billion population under the age of 24 and  its rural areas are set to be the next emerging regions. 

In terms of mobile phones, 300 million of the world’s 650 million 'off grid’ cell phones (those without access to a major power grid) are in India. Buffalo Grid’s managing director Daniel Becerra sees this market as a huge growth opportunity for his business. 

"We’ve created a hub that is an intelligent system that changes how power is delivered in the developing world," explaine Becerra.

Mobile phones are essential for building commerce in developing areas, however, a person who is off the grid in India often has to go to a village shop and pay a fee for each phone charge, creating a situation in which the poorest people pay the most to charge their phones. 

Buffalo Grid has been trialling its new technology in Africa and Becerra said the company was now ready to forge partnerships with network operators in India to roll-out its solution. 

Energy efficient IT solution
Bash Ali, managing director of Sunde, came up with the idea for an highly energy efficient IT solution following the 2005 earthquake that hit Kashmir. Looking to improve the communication systems of the country after the quake, Ali has created a 'zero client network computer solution, which enables up to 50 users to share a single computer while only using five watts of energy. 

Ali believes that this technology could play an important role in Indian schools. "I am excited to learn about the [Indian] market and a new culture. I’m keen to go and tell them that I can save you money and provide better computers for your schools," he told GreenWise

Collin Mallet, the ceo of Trusted Renewables, expressed his excitement about the prospect of bringing his technology to India. "This mission is a fantastic opportunity to take some of the green innovations of the UK and exploit them in India."

The three companies are joining 12 other start-ups and will travel to India between the February 9 and 16 to provide solutions in the healthcare, education, and energy sectors for the poor and emerging middle class of India.

"The goal of this mission is to provide the necessary know-how, connections, and inspiration to help improve and accelerate opportunities with potential customers and partners," said David Bott, the director of innovation programmes at the TSB.

The mission is being organised by the Long Run Venture, which seeks to support entrepreneur-led solutions that deliver sustainability faster.

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UK green start-ups seek opportunities in India
A person who is off the grid in India often has to go to a village shop and pay a fee for each phone charge
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