Our Social Entrepreneurship based Business Model

Let me introduce the company, Servals Automation, as a "for-profit organisation that’s also a social enterprise." My aim is to touch as many lives as possible while making this firm a successful and profitable entity.

In 2003, we were one of the first small scale enterprises to get venture capital funding. Since then, we have tried to build a low-capital model whereby it is not heavily burdened by manufacturing and marketing overheads. As a result, the company has been able to function with just a 12-member team.

With a mission to usher in an age of energy independence in rural India, we are committed to social values. We want to use NGO’s / SHG’s as channel partners both in production and marketing.

  • We have put in a model with Trust for Village Self Governance, Koothambakkam to manufacture Kerosene burners at a rural area providing rural employment opportunities. The theme is rural employment generation. We provide all the materials and know-how and they use their own place and people.
  • We are not using a profit model. It’s production by masses, not mass production. So, there’s more employment potential.

  • Similarly, we are doing a lot of work with NGO’s who network SHG. Our marketing model is to use SHG members as marketing partners.
  • This requires extensive work in the grass-root level.
  • India has a huge network of SHG and if a successful model is put in place, replication will be easy and the scaling up will be huge.
  • A recent study commissioned by the Government of India, estimates the number of NGOs in India to be 3.3 million. A NGO for every 400 Indians. Possibly the highest in the world. Maybe this number includes several temples, religions associations, cooperative societies etc. But even otherwise, this does represent the fantastic reach that NGOs have in India.

R&D will be an integral part of our growth plan. Our effort in this front has been appreciated by international agencies.

  • We have continuous support from PUM – Netherlands (www.pum.nl). Four of Delft University, Netherlands Post-Graduate Students spent four months with us in development of Plant Oil Stove.
  • Rockefeller Foundation (www.innocentive.com) is assisting us with technology problem solving endeavors.
  • L-Ramp (www.lramp.org) has funded us for Plant Oil Development.
  • IIT, Chennai is working with us on our Rain gun model for dust abatement applications.

Having said that, I also recognize that working with NGOs might well be like “making the elephant dance”. The slow progress could be slow because of the inherent nature of working with NGOs, but we are committed to pushing through with this model. We believe in its potential and what it stands for.

Now and then, we get the stimulus we need to continue this journey by way of awards and recognitions for the business model.

But when I talk to these rural entrepreneurs and see the smile on their faces, that is recognition enough!

Write to us. We would love to hear from you. If you are associated with an NGO or a SHG and are interested in exploring opportunities with us, we would love to hear from you.


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