Abstract for: Community-based Understanding of Solar Entrepreneurship Development Dynamics in Rural India

Rural retail entrepreneurship is identified as key for sustained solar technology dissemination and adoption. In our study we aim to understand communities’ perspectives of solar entrepreneurship in the rural Indian context using community-based system dynamics (CBSD). CBSD was conducted with 12 solar retailers in Bihar, India to better understand their motivation and identify possible barriers and facilitators to entrepreneurship. Participants were previously trained and employed in a solar project, and have since become solar entrepreneurs. The CLD developed shows that training and subsequent experience working on solar helped reinforce their skills and self-confidence, and provided income that seeded investment in solar shop. A simulation model was developed using data from project, including surveys of entrepreneurs and users. Simulation reasonably captures the past behavior. Simulation also shows future income declining, even though demand grows. A possible reason gleaned from community modeling sessions is that additional income creates agency to spend on additional household expenses, which entrepreneurs preferred over reinvesting in shop. Barriers to entrepreneurship development such as building trust in community, skilling, capital, awareness, self-confidence were overcome through initial solar lamp project-based skilling and employment. However, transition to fulltime entrepreneur is still at risk due to entrepreneur’s economic status.