Prakash social enterprise

Clean Concept Group, Bringing Clean and Affordable Energy to Nepal

May 22, 2014 - Interviews

Prakash Acharya is the Co-Founder of Clean Concept Group Pvt. Ltd, a renewable energy enterprise aimed at reducing energy costs through tailor made energy solutions in order to foster ‘Zero Energy’.

Prksh In 3 sentences only, who is Prakash?

I’m and engineer who has passion for energy, environment and entrepreneurship – that is my identity. Other than that I like to talk to new people from all parts of society and get to know new cultures. I don’t like to categorize people based on their social or economic status but try to see people beyond that. I enjoy trying to figure out what is governing the differences between cultures and people.

What does your company/organization do?

My company is working with renewable energy. We work with providing cleaner technology to the people and most of our sales are from solar technologies. We are driven by social sentiments, we want to see a greener environment and develop independent energy systems.

What is your role? How is a typical day being you?

I lead my team, from ideation to operation. I look over all activities in the company but my major focus is on developing marketing strategies and carry out marketing activities. I am the co-founder but we are a lean organization and don’t use formal titles like CEO and the like. A typical day starts off with having coffee with the team to plan the activities of the day, then everyone goes to do their job. About half of my work hours I spend visiting clients.

How come that you took exactly this path that you have chosen? How has your journey been so far?

I am fascinated by new technologies and like to train my mind in seeing things in new ways, finding new possibilities and overcoming challenges – always thinking “Why this and why not this?”.

In my country we have a vast problem with power cuts, affecting everything from industries to tourism and education on a daily basis. I want to change this and see Nepal become energy independent. A stable and sustainable energy infrastructure is crucial for development, to create a good society and a good country.

The journey has had its ups and downs. For the first years we are were more independent and making money wasn’t our top priority. But now the financial aspect has become more important as we have to invest in infrastructures to scale up the company as well as provide for our families.

What’s your next step? What’s your dream/vision?

I am a man of ideas and I want to expand in different areas integrating green energy with education and tourism for example. I have dreamt of creating an eco resort and find new applications for my experience working with renewable energies

Being a social entrepreneur is most often not to follow the straight wide road. Can you tell us about any road less travelled that you’ve taken and how it turned out?

We had very little capital when we started out which forced us to be creative and innovative to spread the word about our venture. For example we made flyers for our company and printed the schedule for the daily power cuts on one side. That way we created a value to the people receiving the flyers, which increased their spread.

What impact do you aim to make? What impacts have you seen so far?

I want to see that households can become independent from energy, meaning that everything created in the house can be used in the house. For example that a building has solar panels for electricity, solar thermal for hot water and a compost for kitchen waste.

I believe that the future lies in off-grid systems, I want to see that happen in my lifetime. Energy is the most unfair business in the world, people are fighting for fuel. Energy is the basic infrastructure for any kind of development; it has to be easily available for everyone. If energy can be generated anywhere on a low amount of money then rural people can get access to the same possibilities in life as urban people, being able to use computers and have a good lifestyle. I think energy is the governing thing for the development of a country and the world. Many of the world’s most pressing problems exist because we don’t manage energy in efficient ways.

I have seen this change in my village. When my village didn’t have electricity… you couldn’t imagine that lifestyle. People didn’t have good accommodation or toilet facilities and wasn’t that much aware of the outside world. But after they got access to electricity, people got radios and TVs and got to know about sanitation, pregnancy, health and education. Now everyone in my village is sending their girls to school, before they didn’t because they weren’t aware. The development was possible because of electricity. It is the backbone to raise a society from poverty.

Why are you participating in the SE Outreach Accelerator? What were/are your expectations? What are your needs? How has your experience been so far?

I wanted to know how to create a social business and I got inspired to do this when I traveled to Bangladesh and met with Muhammad Yunus. Before I was confused about the difference between a social and a regular business so I also wanted to know which model I could adopt to have a social business.

Everything we have been learning has been new to me. Sometimes it is intense, but we have a very short time – only two months – so it’s all right. It has also been great getting new contacts and to network, those things can be very useful in the long run.

Any good tips you want to share with the outer world?

An entrepreneur has to start small and think big. And remember that progress takes time!