Neha Juneja’s Smart Move Towards Smart-Stove
It is often inferred that where there is smoke there is fire. But the young graduate from the Delhi College of Engineering and an MBA from FMS, Delhi, Neha Juneja promises that there will be no smoke and only fire. The Co-Founder and CEO of the Greenway Grameen Infra, Neha aims at providing a healthier life to the women of rural India. With the partnership of Ankit Mathur, another graduate of IIM-A and a few others, Neha formed this social enterprise in 2011 that offers an environment-friendly and a lower cost alternative of the mud-stoves which the rural women use in their kitchen for cooking. Greenway Grameen’s Smart-Stove aims at emitting 70% to 80% less smoke in comparison to the conventional cook stoves, using less amount of fuel.Neha Juneja and her partners did not opt for placements. But what their vision was that they would establish something bigger.Something that would fetch them the satisfaction of both making money as well as improving their nation.
Greenway Grameen was formed with the idea of developing household energy products specifically for rural consumers,especially women. While fishing out the idea of how to do so they had to travel across the rural areas of Maharashtra. They observed that there has been modernisation. People are provided with good roads, electricity, water supply and proper homes, they have television sets bikes etc. But one thing that remained unchanged was the cooking technique. Women with education and favourable earnings still continued to cook on the unhealthy mud cook-stoves.It was this observation which made way for the introduction of the Greenway Smart-Stove. The stove has been designed to use as less fuel as only 65% and leave out even lesser smoke which tells upon the health of the women. It is both high-performance and has an aspirational appeal. Neha along with the team of Greenway, travelled across 5 states demonstrating the eco-friendly and user-friendly aspects of the stove. She did not have to face much challenge in convincing the women about the utility of the product but it was far more difficult to reach out to them meddling with the families and acquiring the husbands’ consent. Some backed out because of lack of fund. In addition, there were some women who were more reluctant to give up their old practice of cooking and adapting to the new one. Somehow this gap could be breached and currently many women have learned the use of the Smart-stove.
Initially they had a problem of distribution of the product which any new start-up would have encountered but now after two years Neha has become more confident about the product’s making it to the long run in thesocialentrepreneurship ecosystem in India. She commented that being a woman herself was a great advantage for designing such a product for the improvement of the condition of other women. She claims that the productivity of women would reach success in no time if few things are done for them. Neha now aims at growing more and spreading the roots of her enterprise to further areas.