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Social Entrepreneur: Harish Hande (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, May 10th 2007

Dr. Harish Hande is the co-founder of Selco, a rural sustainable energy company which has over 80,000 installations and 25 retail sales and service centers all over Karnataka, a state in Southern India. Among its many accomplishments, Selco has created India’s first rural solar financing program using regional banks. I recently talked with Harish about the development of Selco and his journey as a remarkably committed social entrepreneur.

SM: Tell us about your childhood, where you grew up, and what kind of education you had. This will help us put the interview in context. HH: I grew up in a steel town in Orissa, a state on the east coast of India. I did all of my schooling up to 12th grade there, and then I went to IIT for undergraduate work in energy engineering. I did my master’s and PhD at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, also in energy engineering.

SM: All of your educational background is in energy engineering? HH: Yes. I concentrated on one discipline and have all of my training there.

SM: What did you do after you finished your master’ss, did you work anywhere? HH: No, I have not worked anywhere else. Selco Is my first job, and hopefully it is my last.

SM: Did you just decide to pick up the pieces, leave Massachusetts and go to India to start Selco? HH: It did not happen exactly like that. My PhD revolved around rural electrification, and during my fieldwork I looked at Sri Lanka and India. However, while I was doing my Master’s I also focused on rural electrification, I was looking at the Dominican Republic. I had gone there for a brief visit.

The person installing solar panels there later on became my friend. It was at that moment that I realized solar power was such a viable energy solution. When I came back to the United States, and I prepared for my field work in Sri Lanka and India, the questions about what was a reliable solution for rural electrification which was also feasible, emerged. There were various solutions which seemed could be applied, but while I was doing the actual solution design work, I came upon the solution that became Selco. I also met my cofounder then.

SM: What year was this? HH: Sometime between 1992 and 1993.

SM: Can we then say that you started Selco in 1993? HH: As a concept, that is correct. As a formal company we started it in 1995.

[to be continued]

This segment is part 1 in the series : Social Entrepreneur: Harish Hande
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

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Very interesting topic!
Already looking forward to reading the next parts of the interview!

Regards,

Ben

Benedikt Foit Thursday, May 10, 2007 at 8:21 AM PT

[…] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Social Entrepreneur : Harish Hande (Part 2) Friday, May 11, 2007 at 1:36 AM PT

[…] [Part 6] [Part 5] [Part 4] [Part 3] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Social Entrepreneur : Harish Hande (Part 7) Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 2:19 AM PT

[…] [Part 7] [Part 6] [Part 5] [Part 4] [Part 3] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Social Entrepreneur : Harish Hande (Part 8) Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 2:23 AM PT

[…] [Part 8] [Part 7] [Part 6] [Part 5] [Part 4] [Part 3] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Social Entrepreneur : Harish Hande (Part 9) Friday, May 18, 2007 at 2:31 AM PT

[…] [Part 11] [Part 10] [Part 9] [Part 8] [Part 7] [Part 6] [Part 5] [Part 4] [Part 3] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Social Entrepreneur : Harish Hande (Part 12) Monday, May 21, 2007 at 1:47 AM PT

[…] [Part 13] [Part 12] [Part 11] [Part 10] [Part 9] [Part 8] [Part 7] [Part 6] [Part 5] [Part 4] [Part 3] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Social Entrepreneur : Harish Hande (Part 14) Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 3:00 AM PT

[…] Forbes Column: Lighting The Way In India (Friday, May 2nd, 2008) Published by Startups News in India, Sramana Mitra at 7:27 am. Skip down to comments or read the others. I had concluded a previous Forbes column by saying greed is infectious. My new Forbes column, Lighting The Way In India, highlights an entrepreneur who does not give a damn about greed. You have read his interview, perhaps, here. […]

Forbes Column: Lighting The Way In India | Indian Startups In News Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 10:19 AM PT

[…] Suresh Hande of SELCO fame was the winner of the award for the year 2007. A great interview of Suresh can be found at Sramana Mitra’s blog here. […]

Nominate for Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 award | bangaloreinc - Indian startups, Innovation, Businesses, Entrepreneurs and Web collide via lens of Bangalore Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 8:18 AM PT

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