Founder and CEO, Solaron, Bangalore, India.
Vipul Arora is the Founder and Managing Director at Solaron Sustainability Services. An Engineer and MBA by training, Vipul has worked in several Industries ranging from Sustainability, Non-Profit, IT & IT Enabled Services, Food, Agriculture, Banking, Financial Services and Logistics in India, US, UK, Mexico and Brazil over the last decade. He helped several global corporations save millions of dollars by reengineering their operations and processes while removing inefficiencies. He worked with various non-profit organizations in re-assessing their vision, strategy and re-aligning their programs with the overall strategic direction.
In each of his projects, Vipul attempted to operationalize sustainability in different contexts. This was at a time when sustainability was unknown to many, especially in India & other emerging markets. In 2004, Vipul was selected as an Emerging Market Fellow of the Reuters Digital Vision Program at Stanford University. Here he conceptualized ‘e-Mandi’, an Agricultural Exchange for Indian Farmers to help double their incomes and reduce the wastage of food in Indian supply chain. He helped operationalize this exchange by working with MCX in Mumbai. This exchange is now LIVE in the form of National Spot Exchange Limited in India. He then helped Reuters Market Light (RML) as Vice President, Strategy in the roll out. RML shares market prices with farmers on their cell phones.
A social entrepreneur at heart, he left Reuters in 2007, to set up Solaron to spearhead sustainability research in India and other rmerging markets. He currently handles strategy and business development at Solaron.
Vipul got interested in sustainability when he read Stuart Hart’s article ‘Beyond Greening: Strategies for a Sustainable World’ in the HBR, while he was an engineering student in 1997. He was so moved by the urgency of the vision that he could not sleep for a month. He contacted Stuart later with a desire to align his life with this vision. Since then, both have become good friends.
On the personal front, Vipul likes to spend his time meditating, reading, going for long walks, listening to old music and being amid nature as much as possible.
Founder and CEO, SunMoksha, Bangalore, India.
Dr. Ashok Das is the founder CEO of SunMoksha, a Clean Technology Solutions company. At SunMoksha, Ashok provides technology and business solutions, market research, business advisory services and implements solutions in the clean technology sectors. He focuses on solar and bio energy, smart micro-grids, energy efficiency, waste-to-energy, and rural electrification.
As consultant to The World Bank’s infoDev Climate Technology Program, Ashok designed a Climate Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center (CIEC) for India to develop climate technology innovation & commercialization capacity at the grassroots. He spearheaded a KfW-SIDBI joint project to design debt financing mechanism for innovative SMEs in clean technologies. His team is empaneled by SIDBI as Accredited Consultant for credit facilitation to MSMEs.
Ashok is very active in developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem for clean technologies across India. He founded & chairs the TiE Clean Tech Special Interest Group and has established a vibrant cleantech ecosystem. He guides and mentors clean technologies entrepreneurs and incubators across the country. He is spearheading the clean tech sector of Bangalore-Cambridge Innovation Network. He is also the founding co-chair of IIT Mentors – a Pan IIT Global Mentorship Initiative that provides mentoring to entrepreneurs, professionals, incubation centers and students.
Ashok worked for Applied Materials, Santa Clara, California, for ten years developing semiconductor processing equipment before moving to India to head the India Operations of a start-up, Aquest Systems, in semiconductor fab automation. Prior to Applied Materials, he worked at MTCI on technologies to convert waste to clean energy. He has international experience in working with the cultures of USA, India and Taiwan. Ashok received his B.Tech. from IIT Kanpur and Ph.D. from University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Dr. Harish Hande,
Founder and Managing Director, SELCO India.
Dr.Harish Hande is the founder and managing director of SELCO India, a social enterprise established in 1995 to provide affordable renewable energy services to the poor and underserved households in rural India. SELCO, known for its customized product, door step financing and door step service has installed solar home lighting systems in over 135,000 households across Karnataka, Kerala and Gujarat. In partnership with regional rural banks, cooperative banks and microfinance institutions, SELCO continues to innovate appropriate financial mechanisms to bridge the gap between energy needs and affordability. SELCO has 26 service centers across the three states and a dedicated workforce of 180 people working round the clock to ensure that darkness is removed by reliable solar lights in poor households.
Harish, a graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and a Masters & PhD from University of Massachusetts, US, returned to India to start SELCO in 1994-95 after experiencing benefits of solar energy in rural areas of Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka. Having installed the first 1000 home lighting systems on his own and over 135,000 households now through his company SELCO India, Harish is recognized as a pioneer of rural energy service across the globe. He and his company has received many national and international awards including the Ashden awards (2005 and 2007), The tech museum award (2005), Khemka Social entrepreneur of the year 2007 and the Financial Times –Arcelor Mittal Boldness in Business award 2009. In 2008, Harish Hande was chosen by Business Today as one of the 21 young leaders for India’s 21st century. In mid 2008, India Today named him one of the 50 pioneers of change in India.
He was awarded with Asia’s prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2011, also sometimes referred to as Asia’s Nobel Prize, for “his pragmatic efforts to put solar power technology in the hands of the poor, through his social enterprise SELCO India”.
In November 2011, the Govt. Of Karnataka honored Dr. Harish Hande with Karnataka Rajyotsava Award for his contribution to the sector of science and technology.
Country Head, Stokes Network Ltd., India
Ashim Roy is the Country Head, India of Stokes Network (P) Ltd. He has extensive experience in product development, policy, regulations, network deployment, and operations at leading information and communications companies. Ashim set up the India development center for Stoke from ground up. He has also managed and grown a product line with annual revenue of $45M at Hughes Network Systems, raised $8M funding for a software technology startup in a competitive market, developed strategy to deploy broadband in rural communities using universal service funds, and funded R&D activities at several universities to attract best candidates for future employment.
Ashim is an innovator with a track record of product ideas – he has developed new business model for Wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) deployment at rural Telcos, secured 4 patents (RFID, WLAN and Security), authored more than dozen papers at international conferences and developed innovative application of face biometrics to minimize fraud in public distribution system.
Ashim has an undergraduate degree in Electronics Engineering from BITS Pilani, M. Tech in Communications from IIT, and a Ph. D in Communications from University of Adelaide, Australia.
Dr. Roger Vardan,
Founder and CEO, Strata-gems, Michigan, USA
Dr. Roger Vardan is the founder and Managing Director of Strata-gems, a management consultancy boutique, which has been providing consulting in strategy and business development to leading companies around the world since 2003. His consulting practice and research interests revolve around the nexus between strategy and sustainability, innovation, and emerging markets. Previously, Dr. Vardan was Head of Global Strategy at General Motors at their Powertrain Group, where he led global strategy development in such diverse areas as international business alliances (Toyota, Honda, and BMW), clean technologies (hybrids, fuel cells and electric vehicles), value chain design, and market development. He also represented the company in the International Motor Vehicle Program. Prior to his tenure at General Motors, he managed the Systems Analysis Group at Battelle Memorial Institute, one of the leading think tanks in the world.
Dr. Vardan has been an active member of the Sustainability Consortium, consisting of progressive multinational companies collectively striving toward sustainability, and consults with the consortium’s member companies in the US and abroad. He also serves as a consultant to premier business organizations in India (Tata Group, Confederation of Indian Industries, etc) and in Japan. Over the years, Dr. Vardan has been closely collaborating with renowned strategic thinkers, including Dr. Peter Senge of MIT Sloan School of Management in the areas of systems thinking, organizational learning and sustainability and Dr. Noriaki Kano of Japan, Chairman of the Deming Prize Committee, in the areas of innovation, customer satisfaction and TQM. During the past five years, Dr. Vardan served as an Executive in Residence and Visiting Scholar at the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, Johnson School of Management, Cornell University, NY, working with Dr. Stuart Hart and his associates.
Dr. Vardan holds a Ph.D. in Management Science from Michigan State University and has done executive programs at the MIT Sloan School. He has Masters in Electrical & Control Engineering from Clarkson University, NY and IIT- Delhi. Dr. Vardan is a member of the Fortune Business Leaders Council and a frequent speaker at many international conferences and leading academic institutions around the world. His paper on Value Chain design published in the MIT Sloan Management Review, co-authored with Dr. Charles Fine of MIT Sloan School, is widely used in many business schools. In his free time, Dr. Vardan volunteers for various organizations that advocate preservation of nature and welfare of young children.