Kamalpreet Kaur – The Green Energy Illuminator

Kamalpreet Kaur | owner
Kamalpreet Kaur | owner

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait till oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” – Thomas A. Edison

A group of fifty women from the Dhakrani village, Uttarakhand, were exposed to a training session on electronics just prior to the first COVID-19 lockdown.

Though the women underwent a month’s training session, the lessons were difficult for them to grasp because they never stepped out of the confines of their homes, forget learning all the intricacies of any electrical work.

But today, they are leading the training sessions themselves. Not only that, but after the restrictions eased, they also made their first sales of LED bulbs, Rs 80/bulb, at an exhibition in Dehradun.

Afterward, they continued by setting up their stalls at local-block-level markets. But soon, they found out that the demand for bulbs was much higher during the festive season. Last year, that is, in 2021, they earned their biggest ever profits by selling out thousand LED bulbs.

They all say that they could achieve this feat of becoming electrical entrepreneurs because of only one person, Kamalpreet Kaur (42), a Dehradun-based self-made industrialist and an inspiration for many. Also, she is the Founder & Owner of ORA INFINI, a green energy products manufacturing company.  

Inculcating Thomas A. Edison’s words in spirit, she is illuminating the green energy’s sustainable path for over hundreds of rural and semi-urban women –  from remote areas like Doiwala, Kalsi, Raipur, Sahaspu, and Vikasnagar blocks, to break into this traditionally male-dominated domain.

On the Mission to Save Our Blue Planet

Along with her husband and a technical team of ORA INFINI, Kamlpreet Kaur conducts free training sessions on the need for the women of rural and semi-urban areas of Dehradun.

The MSME start-up promotes green renewable energy through products like LED bulbs, solar-powered lighting equipment, and hybrid electric bicycles.

Her professional journey is a story of transformation from a homemaker to an entrepreneur. For her, LEDs are not just bulbs but energy savers. With this thought, she applied for PMEGP loan and was granted Rs20 lakh to start her venture.

Initially, she was very happy and confident about her brand, ‘ORA INFINI’, and started the production of LED Lights. But when she approached the market, she realized that her competition was not with the local brands but already established big brands. And she realized how difficult it was for a new brand like hers to enter the market and establish itself.

The only thing she believed was – ‘Perseverance is Success’ and did not compromise on the quality and the services. Gradually, the market accepted the new product, and it became a brand – ‘ORA – Lights for India by women of India.’

Envisioning to be a Premier Renewable Energy Provider

According to Kamalpreet Kaur, as a self-employed person, one has the freedom to make decisions that shape the present and future for oneself and their family. One’s destiny is in their own hands. They can work for their passion and not only for money.

She was very clear in her vision to make a brand, not just sell a product. And since then, she has been working on it without compromising the price, quality, and service.

She believes that when you own your business, you get to shape the dreams of yourself and others. You are always building and making life better.

Enlightening the Pandemic’s Darkness

Kamalpreet Kaur says that although COVID-19 is the worst possible thing to happen for the lighting industry and all the industries, it is nothing but a temporary setback. As things become normal, eventually, every company will get back on its feet and take care of the operations in full swing.

According to her, the supply chain was one of the first industries to witness the repercussions of the pandemic. With travel bans in place and logistics suspensions, the import of lighting supplies has become quite challenging. To top it off, lighting production outlets have also almost come to a halt as their workforce cannot resume their duties due to quarantine. The lead times have also doubled.

But as a lighting retrofit company, they are also operating under the safety guidelines of the CDC to ensure their employees’ and clients’ safety while taking care of the community’s lighting needs at the same time.

Struggles with the lighting workforce utility suspension have led small lighting businesses to lay off their workforce, at least until normalcy. While companies do not want to part ways with their skilled and experienced workforce, they cannot also be emptying their funds when there are no returns. Like others, even they had taken a 20% pay reduction in exchange for an equally reduced workload.

Aligning with AI and ML

Speaking about ORA INFINI’s alignment with newer technologies like AI and ML, Kamalpreet Kaur says that AI and ML support all steps of the lighting industry, from design to commissioning and end-user experience.

By observing and measuring the indoor environment, an AI-based lighting system can optimize and tune light parameters accordingly.

Modern lighting control systems incorporate an array of sensors-motion and thermal sensors. These help the user optimize electricity cost and can also benefit from controlling the different lights output at different situations.

Luminary’s advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts

Kamalpreet Kaur feels that one can enter any field, but to move successfully into any venture, one should have a clear vision of what and how to achieve. She further says that the lighting industry is a very competitive market, and one has to face new challenges and changes daily. To cope with the big players, one has to be very creative and fast to adapt and execute the changes.

Today, light has numerous applications than only illuminating. These include night lighting, art lighting, and outdoor lighting. If someone wants to survive in this demanding market, then they need to continuously work and innovate new ideas and concepts.

If one feels that they have a great idea, are persistent, determined, and resourceful, then self-employment is the best option for them.

Illuminating the Future

The energy-efficient products give the ability to do more with less energy. This is the concept she remembers and started her venture. She began with lights as a small part of energy efficiency, and gradually, they are exploring other products. In 2021, ORA INFINI introduced energy-efficient fans, and soon they will be launching electric bicycles, a fuel saver, and many more plans for the future.

Perspective on Gender Equality

Kamalpreet Kaur says that she chose the segment of energy-efficient products without thinking about is it a male or female dominating sector.

“As a woman entrepreneur, I just want to say that we don’t need any special treatment, just treat us equally. Strength and weakness are not gender-based. It varies from individual to individual. We don’t feel happy to hear ‘Good women leaders’, rather I would love to hear ‘Good leader’,” she adds.

Ultimately, she says that a gender-equal work environment, where all employees feel respected and valued, creates an overall more positive workplace and results in more creative and greater innovations.

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