Svati’s audacity

Svati Bhogle, managing director of Sustaintech India, is not a typical entrepreneur; she is more a scientist than an entrepreneur. She has been short-listed for the 2011 Cartier Women Initiative awards for the Asia-Pacific region. Her achievement? Through Sustaintech, she has been, promoting the use of healthier, sustainable energy technologies by developing and selling energy-efficient cooking stoves to street-food vendors and commercial kitchens’.

Coming from a family of academics, Bhogle never dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur. After graduating from IIT-B, she developed a strong interest in technology for development. When working for the Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology, she was initially involved in the research on the development of fuel-efficient, biomass-based stoves and dryers. But when she found that the fruits of research are not ending up where they should be, “I decided to channel it to gain social impact. When you work with socially committed scientists, you ask yourself the question, what is science for? You ask yourself the question when the fruits of your research end up in some academic publications. As a scientist, you also need to know whether your product will succeed at the grassroots level.” And she adds, “There is no point in designing products if they do not reach the people and are of no use to their lives. You also have to design for the society you live in, using the raw materials that are available to them. There are a lot of social, financial challenges to technological innovation. That, I felt not many scientists are following.”


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