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Can agri-based start-ups transform the rural economy?
Deborah Keller, Can agri-based start-ups transform the rural economy? 04 Jul 2017
Deborah Keller, 04 Jul 2017
Energy and Power

The DOEN Foundation supports Avani; a New Ventures facilitated deal

The DOEN Foundation is supporting Avani in the scaling up of their Bio Energy program. This Bio Energy program employs people to collect pine needles and uses them for generating clean electricity and cooking charcoal, thus preventing forest fires and protecting the biodiversity in the area.


The DOEN Foundation believes that a green, socially-inclusive and creative society is possible. DOEN promotes people and enterprises that take the lead in the field of sustainable, cultural and social innovation with revenues of the Dutch Postcode Lottery. DOEN offers these people financial support and brings them together to connect them.

Avani Bio Energy also funded by Acumen, had set up a grid connected 120 kW power station, and through DOEN's support, will be able to scale the total power generation from pine needles to 600 kW. Open Road Alliance is another partner helping them scale up this program. This scale up phase will lead to the creation of 500 jobs in the villages, restoration of 1000 hectares of biodiversity in the Himalayan forest area, a reduction of 23,750 tons of carbon emissions per year while generating clean electricity for 62,500 rural households and cooking charcoal for 500 rural households.

Nina Tellegen, CEO of the DOEN Foundation said, "We support pioneering initiatives that help combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Avani Bio Energy does not only generate clean power by providing bio fuels for cooking, they also create rural employment. Collecting the highly flammable needles helps to protect the villagers against forest fires. By cleaning up the needle carpet, villagers help to restore the ecosystem which diminishes the water recharge cycle. The impact of Avani is huge and on multiple levels; they therefore fit into our goals of bringing closer this sustainable, socially-inclusive and creative society we believe in."

Rajnish Jain, Founder of Avani Bio Energy said, "Having set up our first 120 kW commercial power plant, we needed patient capital to scale up this work for building sustainable business model involving local entrepreneurs by enhancing their capacity and developing the debt funding eco-system for the projects. Immense support from the New Ventures Team - Pamli Deka and Sanjoy Sanyal, who invested their valuable time in guiding us through the application process, helped us make a strong case for this investment."

New Ventures, another partner of the DOEN Foundation, played a key role in facilitating this investment. New Ventures selects and mentors clean energy and water access enterprises, enterprises engaged in productive use of energy and generating energy from waste to make them "investment-ready". Sanjoy Sanyal, Country Director New Ventures said, "For New Ventures, supporting Avani was important for us because of the very sensitive Himalayan ecosystem they work in. Rajnish Jain and his team are enormously committed to making a positive contribution to the community."

New Ventures is looking to support entrepreneurs/companies who have already developed a product and technology and, have validated customer acceptance or whose business model to provide products or services has a degree of presence in the market place. If you are an Investor interested in learning about the enterprises, or an enterprise interested in applying for mentoring and seeking funds, please register yourself.