Despite a scheme launched by the Indian government in 2017 that has declared achieving close to 100 percent electrification in the country, studies have shown that only 65 percent of rural enterprises in India report having electricity grid connection. While millions of households have been positively impacted by access to electricity, small businesses and smallholder farmers (those with holdings of less than 2 acres) in rural India have been left out of the equation or receive very unreliable power supply. Byproducts of the energy poverty experienced by India’s Bottom of the Pyramid population include an enormous carbon footprint produced by the use of traditional fossil fuels such as diesel and kerosene, and economic stagnation as a result of the agrarian crisis in India.

Working to address each of these challenges is Oorja Development Solutions, a social enterprise established in 2016 with a mission to “substantially and cost-effectively scale last-mile distribution of integrated energy solutions to revitalize the agrarian economy, alleviate poverty, and fight climate change in rural India.”

In this white paper, authors Jill Howard, Fiona Wilson, and E. Hachemi Aliouche discuss Oorja Development Solutions’ creation as well as the business model by which it operates. While Oorja does not currently have any franchisees, this case study explores why the company has considered implementing a franchising system as well as the reasons why it is not currently moving forward with the model. By also detailing the ingredients to Oorja’s success and opportunities for future growth, this case study aims to provide insight into a successful social enterprise as well as the logic for choosing whether or not to execute a social sector franchising system.


Carsey School of Public Policy

Publication Date

Winter 12-22-2020


White Paper


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2020. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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