Focus: The Next Business

bp / Smokeless Biofuel Stove

Selected as “Technology Pioneer 2012” by the World Economic Forum, First Energy is an India-based alternative energy business, which caters to rural and suburban consumers and commercial kitchens in India. First Energy’s biomass gasification stove provides a threefold increase in efficiency, at a highly affordable price, relative to conventional alternatives for these consumers. The stove and its carbon neutral fuel reduce indoor emissions of carbon monoxide and suspended particulates by more than 70%, thereby also substantially reducing the risk of household respiratory illness. The business now operates in seven Indian states and has sold more than half a million stoves.

The Next Practice was lead consultant for this bp sponsored project. We designed, managed, and participated directly in the innovation project that did the market research, developed the product, did consumer acceptance testing, developed the business model and financial model, and planned and executed the first market pilots. We also facilitated the co-design and co-development of the first sales channel, a distribution-retailing partnership between First Energy and three NGO women’s microcredit federations. The distribution-retail partnership with Swayam Shikshan Prayog continues its expansion within Maharashtra and into Bihar, India’s poorest state. Following project conclusion, TNP partners advised bp and First Energy executives on the securing of investors to spin off the company in 2009.

Press: Naren Karunakaran. “Microfinance: India’s New Retailers.” Outlook Business. January 2009.

Press: Jeb Brugmann and C.K. Prahalad. “Cocreating Business’s’ New Social Compact.” Harvard Business Review. February 2007.

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