Nidhi Pant – co-founder of S4S Technologies – India – 2021 WE Empower Awardee – Asia-Pacific
S4S Technologies assists women without land as well as farmers to become entrepreneurs by providing micro food processing units that help them generate an average additional income of $1,000-$1,500 annually. These Micro-Entrepreneurs (ME) do not have to pay for these units up-front, but instead work with S4S to eventually own their equipment through payment plans. Developed by Nidhi Pant, the food processing systems are solar-powered, creating a climate-friendly machine that processes produce to be used by the ME or sold to increase household income.
Nidhi Pant and S4S Technologies
Growing up in Uttarakhand to a farming family, Pant fostered a sense of pride in the land that was cultivated to create the livelihood avenue that she and many others in her community relied on. Through the perseverance of her parents and many sacrifices made, Nidhi earned her Bachelor of Technology and turned back to her roots instead of seeking a solely monetary career. Applying her engineering skills to India’s farm economy, Nidhi co-founded S4S in 2015, where they have worked with over 15,000 farmers to provide access to their solar food-processing units as well as providing access to the market.
Nutrition powered by clean machines
S4S Technologies provides solar-powered dryers that process vegetables for the farmers, which can reduce post-harvest spoilage, provide preservative-free nutrition and assure incomes via the buyback for farmers to S4S. The unit is a Solar Conduction Dryer (SDC) and is a revolutionary machine that supports UN SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) through inexpensive access to sustainable income generation without the production of pollution.
Additional income opportunities
Tackling UN SDG 1 (No Poverty), S4S Technologies works with over 370 ME’s and 3,000 farmers who earn less than $2.50 a day to create sustainable income for their families through the provision of food processing units. These at-home units allow ME’s to stay at home without having to travel to distant work opportunities, which allows for women to take care of their families while generating income. S4S Technologies not only provides these units up front at no cost but also trains the ME’s in how to utilize them as well as linking them into the economic market for their products.
Elevating women and families
Transforming female farmworkers, S4S Technologies helps them to “gain new economic and social status as entrepreneurs, grassroots advocates, and climate leaders”. The additional income empowers these female entrepreneurs to become the decision-makers in the family while also allowing women access to the banking systems with separate bank accounts in their name. The cash flow from the solar units makes these women eligible for credit, which in combination with bank accounts, elevates the women’s financial and social status in alignment with UN SDG 5 (Gender Equality).
“S4S model transforms landless women farmers to become micro-entrepreneurs, who are treated as mere labor and recognize rural women as farmers, as climate warriors and changemakers.”
The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is a first of its kind global competition for women entrepreneurs who are pushing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and leading innovation in sustainability and climate change through their businesses. This Contributing Series highlights finalists of the Challenge whose work demonstrates how business models and social entrepreneurship can drive global impact.