Announcing the Top-Ten Startups Selected for the Programme

In a bid to accelerate the growth and presence of women entrepreneurs in the energy ecosystem, we at Zone Startups India launched the POWERED Accelerator Programme in partnership with Shell Foundation (the independent global charity), DFID India, and DST Government of India.

Humbled to have received over 130 applications, we are proud to announce our first cohort for the year. Ranging from breakthrough electric vehicle chargers to dehydrated food products to micro-finance lending, we have managed to gather a very diverse cohort that encompasses varied energy sub-sectors. The cohort will now go through a six-week residential accelerator programme which would entail mentoring sessions, peer-to-peer meets, workshops, case studies, industry investor connects and more, followed by a one-year post-programme support.

Shout-out to the media houses who covered the announcement – Inc42 | Business World Disrupt | Your Story | The Indian Web2 | The Indian Wire | Energy Next | E27 | Inventiva

The Cohort:

  • Simmi Sareen, Loans4SME
  • Srujana Raghupatruni, Cellerite Systems
  • Puspalata Pani, Kumidini Enterprise
  • Mousumi Medhi, HoneyComb Inventions
  • Amishi Parasrampuria, Upcycler’s Lab
  • Kavita Aggarwal, BluPrints
  • Ruchi Jain, Taru Naturals
  • Manvi Dhawan, Agnij-Adjustable Thermoelectric Power Generator
  • Neha Upadhyaya, Guna
  • Nidhi Pant, S4S Technologies


Here’s what some of them have to say about being selected as part of the POWERED Accelerator:

‘Bluprints feel very privileged and excited to be a part of all women entrepreneur network. It is not only very encouraging to be involved with such talented set of women leader but also gives us an opportunity learn & grow together. The interactive mentorship program is well designed, be it the selection of Mentors and the topics covered by them.’ – Kavita Aggarwal, Founder and CEO – BluPrints

‘Powered excited us with its approach of supporting the specific scaling-up needs of each business in the cohort, rather than a one-size-fits-all strategy. I’m looking forward to work with the Powered team over the next year on our growth plans, and equally excited to have this opportunity to spend time with and build a strong network with other women entrepreneurs in energy.’ – Simmi Sareen, Head – Loans4SME

Gavin McGillivray, Head of DFID India had intriguing insights to offer regarding POWERED – “We know that given the right opportunities, women can play a critical role across the energy-value chain. As energy enterprises scale-up in India they provide rural and low-income women with new opportunities to generate income and achieve greater economic empowerment.  Through the POWERED programme we will work towards building and strengthening the ecosystem for more women owned and managed businesses across the energy value chain. We are confident that women entrepreneurs in the sector, like the ones selected for the accelerator, will enable greater inclusion and sustainability towards a more energy secure and equitable future for all.” – Gavin McGillivray, Head – DFID India

Sam Parker, Director of Shell Foundation spoke proudly of the accelerator as part of the broader initiative – “Shell Foundation is excited and proud to see the first cohort of high quality female entrepreneurs come through the POWERED Accelerator programme. We believe the women have the potential to deliver long-term energy and mobility solutions that address market gaps and break down market barriers across the energy value chain. The Accelerator programme is one element of the POWERED initiative, which will deliver 5000 jobs, and support more than 100 enterprises impacting the lives of low-income women in rural and urban India.”

Our Director (Zone Startups India) Ajay Ramasubramaniam spoke about the wide-ranging efforts that went in to making this happen – “At the time of launching Powered Accelerator, we were not sure of the number of women-entrepreneur led startups in the extended energy sector. After 6-roadshows, and close to 2 months of extensive campaigning, we ended up getting more than 130 high-quality applications. The top-30 shortlists were high quality startups, and selecting only 11 from the same, was a tough task. We see the entire application pool as a part of a larger funnel of startups that presents us with an opportunity to build other interventions in this niche ecosystem. We have some great partners onboard, and we look forward to making the first cohort a grand success.”


Know more about our cohort:

  1. Simmi Sareen, Loans4SME

Simmi is a veteran in financial services with more than 19 years of experience in credit and lending. She is head of the Mumbai-based startup Loans4SME, which is an alternative lending platform that connects businesses with debt providers. They aim to help small businesses navigate the complexities of the lending market, all the while enabling lenders to invest in the right company. The next step is to create products and structures that expand supply of capital for renewable energy beyond the currently existing lenders.

  1. Srujana Raghupatruni, Cellerite Systems

Srujana is a postgraduate in Power Systems from IIT Delhi with 7 years’ experience in teaching Electrical Engineering to graduates and undergraduates. She is the Founder and CTO of Hyderabad-based startup Cellerite Systems that is developing an innovative Electric Vehicle charger that focuses on reducing the charging time of the vehicle, thereby increasing the travel range of these vehicles.


Puspalata has a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) and Rural Management with 19 years of experience in youth leadership development. She is the Co-Founder of and manages operations at Odisha-based startup M/S Kumudini Enterprise, an organisation which is completely run by women, that aims to provide energy services and devices in rural communities, with a special focus on Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). They also promote training and capacity building of the rural communities with an emphasis on the women in the community.

  1. Mousumi Medhi, HoneyComb Inventions

Mousumi has 8 years of experience in project management and holds an MBA Degree. She is the CEO of Mumbai-based startup HoneyComb Inventions which is aimed at enhancing the duration of power back up supplies of healthcare facilities.

  1. Amishi Parasrampuria, Upcycler’s Lab

Amishi has 4 years of experience as a social entrepreneur in the field of sustainability. She is the Founder of Mumbai-based startup Upcycler’s Lab, which makes sustainability-based learning tools for children above the age of five. They aim to create awareness and educate children on the need for sustainability in accordance with UN SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production.

  1. Kavita Aggarwal, BluPrints

Kavita has core experience in Embedded Systems Design, in Building ATC and War-Room communication infrastructure for IAF. She also holds an MBA degree from University of Leeds and an MCA Degree from IMT, Ghaziabad. She is the Founder and CEO of Delhi-NCR-based BluPrints, an R&D Driven Embedded Systems Technology Company specializing in Retail-Tech and Fin-Tech Devices. One of the focuses being a system designed for electricity billing.

  1. Ruchi Jain, Taru Naturals

Ruchi holds a Master’s Degree in Environment Change and Management from Oxford University. She has also worked with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, European Academies Sciences Council and as a Campaigner with and Indian Youth Climate Network. She is the Founder and CEO of Mumbai-based Taru Naturals, which is a network that connects farmer communities with clean technology and renewable energy. It is an ecosystem builder for small scale farmers, wherein they mobilise the village community to adopt sustainable methods of agriculture such as solar power pumps, solar dryers, etc.

  1. Manvi Dhawan, Agnij-Adjustable Thermoelectric Power Generator

Manvi has 2 years of experience in project management and systems engineering, she also holds a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from IIT Bombay. She is the CEO and CFO of Mumbai-based Agnij- Adjustable Thermoelectric Power Generator which is developing a product called Agnij. Agnij is a thermo-electric belt which can be placed around any heated vessel or chullahs to use waste heat.

  1. Neha Upadhyaya, Guna

Neha is an organic macrobiotic coach based in New Delhi. She is the Founder of New-Delhi based Guna, which trains rural women farmers in Ladakh and Sikkim to develop eco model villages through a focus on organic farming and the use of solar energy in post-harvest management by the use of solar dryers, solar pumps, etc.

  1. Nidhi Pant, S4S Technologies

Nidhi is a social entrepreneur who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. She is one of the Co-Founders of Mumbai-based S4S Technologies and heads marketing and sales in the company. S4S Technologies manufactures solar dehydrators that is used by farmers for food preservation, they also provide the farmers market linkage to sell these dehydrated food products.

As part of the broader aim of the programme, the accelerator will also be organising ecosystem development activities, grand challenges, a one-week residential boot-camp, and an incubator for women in energy.

Zone Startups India will continue accepting applications for the next cohort on the website of the POWERED Accelerator –

#WomenInEnergy: The What, Why, and How

The convergence of the UN’s SDG5 and SDG7 and how these have an impact on the overall growth of a nation

The energy sector’s lopsidedness with regards to gender is as evident as the sun’s role with regard to solar energy. Traditionally, a male-dominated industry, the energy space has gone into stagnation in the past few decades. While addressing the need for sustainable energy and universal energy access, there is a major misstep with the role of women. The female workforce is an untapped resource which could contribute to tremendous growth of the industry. They are the most primal users in the consumer chain, and hence have insight on the requirements and solutions pertaining to the lack of universal access to energy. There is a growing trend with the presence of women in sustainable ventures and innovations taking scale. As noted by most industry experts, the lack of gender diversity in the industry contributes to a deficit in newer innovations and ideas.

The big question is, why women entrepreneurs should be brought to the forefront of the energy ecosystem? Well apart from achieving gender equality and universal sustenance, the energy sector specifically, has seen a rise in the number of women in the industry as well as the sector’s growth go in tandem. A study conducted by Cloverpop Inc showed,  businesses that include women in the decision-making process had a better outcome in their plans 73% of the time as compared to all-male teams who succeeded at 58%. These trends in the industry are still at a budding stage and are yet to bloom into a full-scale shift in the workings of the industry. Here, the cause and effect remain the same, the lack of women in top leadership positions leads to a scarcity of mentors and guides for women to rise in an organisation from the ground-up. In a study conducted by Ernst & Young, the findings showed that in the global power and utilities sector, only 5% of board executives and 16% of board members comprised of women, in the year 2015.

In a country like India, with a large segment of the population living in rural areas without access to energy, let alone clean energy, the government aims to substantiate this need by aiming to achieve a massive target – 175 GW of renewable energy across India by 2022, which would in turn create around 3,30,000 job opportunities, a number of which could enhance the livelihoods of women in these areas. Going along these lines, another statement that coincides with the objective of gender diversity is that India can increase its GDP to up to 60% by 2025 by enabling more women to participate in its workforce, stated in a 2015 study by the McKinsey Global Institute. This goes to prove the progress furthered by just employing more women.

The only way to resolve these issues and ensure the growth of the industry and thereby even the nation is for Governments, Stakeholders, and Investors to provide a platform to enable the inclusion of more women in the energy space. This brings us to the focal point of this blog; POWERED, an entrepreneurship development programme is one such initiative which aims to scout for women innovators and entrepreneurs in the energy value chain, support them by creating a multi-level ecosystem which would enable their businesses to scale. How does this work? In partnership with Shell Foundation, DFID India (Govt of UK), DST (Govt of India) and Zone Startups India, the programme is organising workshops, an accelerator programme, residential boot-camps, grand challenges, and seed investments among others, with the ultimate goal to increase economic empowerment of women-owned businesses in the energy space.

If you are a woman innovator/entrepreneur in an energy-related venture, we want to hear from you. The programme is now accepting applications till 18th June, 2018 at We encourage women entrepreneurs to apply and help take this initiative further towards building a brighter future for all.



“Index of Women in Power and Utilities.” Ernst & Young Global Limited,—utilities/women-power-and-utilities.

“Stage Set for Women to Lead a Solar-Powered Gender Revolution in Rural India.” Medium, 1 Dec. 2017,

Jairaj, Bharath, and Pamli Deka. “Creating Jobs for Women in the Renewable Energy Sector.” The Hindu, 15 May 2018,

Larson, Erik. “White Paper: Hacking Diversity with Inclusive Decision Making.” Cloverpop, Hacking Diversity White Paper.

Miller, Lindy. “Have a Seat: Welcoming Women to the Energy Sector.” POWER, 18 May 2018,

Tam, Cecilia. “Commentary: Gender Diversity in Energy Sector Is Critical to Clean Energy Transition.” International Energy Agency, 8 Mar. 2018,

Vaughan, Adam. “Lack of Women in Energy ‘Holding Back Fight against Climate Change.’” The Guardian, 11 Feb. 2018,