Twenty-two-year-old Yashraj Khaitan finds it difficult to explain to his parents what exactly he is doing in a remote village in Rajasthan.
One year ago, as a fresh graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, Khaitan turned down a job offer from Ericsson, the world’s largest maker of wireless network equipment, to start his own company.
Gram Power, the venture he founded along with a batchmate Jacob Dickinson, enables villagers to produce and store renewable energy. It helps them integrate and generate energy out of biomass, solar or wind on-site.
“Initially, there was uncertainty about this innovation. My parents told me to get some corporate experience first,” says Khaitan, who was motivated to work on electrification after he experienced the power of jugaad, or local innovation, in rural India.
While on a university project to identify challenges faced by rural India, Khaitan met a grassroots innovator in a remote village in Bharatpur, who had built a vehicle out of junkyard parts to transport people… Read more