How FuelBuddy's New Initiative is Bringing More Women into the Energy Sector
By: WE Staff | Monday, 23 October 2023
Neeraj Gupta, CEO - of India, FuelBuddy tells us how the company’s new Women Energy Consultant Program aims to bring more women into the Indian energy sector. Providing women with flexibility and financial stability, this unique program is a win-win for all stakeholders, Neeraj tells us how.
The Indian energy sector remains one of the least gender-equal fields. Plagued by inherent gender bias and lack of career opportunities, women currently make up a minuscule part of the workforce in the energy sector.
However, inclusivity is a critical need in today’s business climate. Women are going to be the key drivers of innovation and inclusive solutions going forward in every industry imaginable. The energy sector is no different. The energy sector must promote inclusion, which in turn will open the industry up to a host of untapped potential and a different perspective that women can bring to the table.
FuelBuddy, a mobile energy distribution platform has not only become cognizant of this need for inclusion but has devised a unique program to facilitate woman’s foray into the energy industry. The young firm has launched the ‘Women Energy Consultant Program’ which is designed to provide flexible work opportunities and financial empowerment to homemakers and mothers who aspire to pursue their professional passions.
To know more about the program and its objective, Women Entrepreneur India spoke to Neeraj Gupta, Chief Executive Officer - India, FuelBuddy. Neeraj has over two decades of experience in leadership roles in Sales, Marketing, Sales Finance, Auto Insurance, Channel, Relationship & Network Management at top organizations. A leader, entrepreneur, and marketer Neeraj’s key skills include Retail Finance, Channel Funding, Retail Insurance, New Business Development, Channel Management, New and Pre-owned passenger vehicle sales across finance and Automobile industries in Urban, Rural, and Corporate and institutional markets along with different types of Sales & Distribution Network.
Here are choice excerpts from the conversation where Neeraj sheds light on the how and why behind the program.
Rachita: Let’s start by talking about FuelBuddy and its Women Energy Consultant Program. It's a commendable initiative. Can you share more about the program and what inspired your company to create it? What were your objectives for FuelBuddy's Women Energy Consultant Program?
Neeraj: FuelBuddy is India's largest doorstep diesel service provider, utilizing app-based, IoT-based, and cloud-based technology. Our vision is to democratize and digitize fuel supplies across India. Prior to FuelBuddy, there was no such opportunity for customers to access petroleum products through digital tools or e-commerce. We obtained a license in 2019 and initiated FuelBuddy in India, delivering over 14 million liters of diesel to customers' doorsteps across 180 cities. Our ultimate goal is to transition from a fuel service provider to an energy service provider, expanding our offerings as per government regulations.
The Women Energy Consultant Program is designed to tap into the untapped potential of women, who currently make up less than one percent of the energy sector. We believe that women possess a natural inclination toward service-oriented roles, which aligns with our industry's needs for top-notch service delivery.
Many women, particularly homemakers and those with family commitments have sales and marketing experience but are not currently active in the professional world. We aim to empower these women by offering them a chance to become brand ambassadors for FuelBuddy. They can advocate our services within their networks, creating financial independence through lifetime recurring income for every lead they refer.
We have already onboarded 100 women in the past month and plan to engage at least 500 more in this initiative. It's a comprehensive program that includes regular training and knowledge-sharing sessions through webinars to equip them for success in the energy sector.
Rachita: That's an inspiring initiative, Neeraj. You mentioned that women are a powerhouse of energy and service-oriented by nature, making them well-suited for the energy sector. Can you elaborate on why it's essential to bring more women into traditionally male-dominated industries like energy? How do you foresee their participation impacting the industry?
Neeraj: Women are inherently inclined toward service-oriented roles and possess a natural commitment to delivering the best service possible. In the energy sector, particularly our doorstep delivery of energy services, providing top-tier service is crucial. By bringing more women into this sector, we aim to elevate service standards and customer satisfaction.
Moreover, financial independence is a critical empowerment tool for women. We understand that some women may not be able to pursue careers outside the home due to family or social commitments. Our program allows them to contribute just two hours a day, from the comfort of their homes, while managing other responsibilities. By doing so, they can secure financial independence, which, in turn, empowers them. We believe that women's involvement in traditionally male-dominated sectors can lead to improved service quality, better family support, and enhanced social environments. It's a win-win for both women and the energy industry.
Rachita: You've also emphasized the importance of financial independence and flexibility in your program. Can you share more about how FuelBuddy's program provides women not only with financial independence but also the flexibility to work on their terms and schedules?
Neeraj: Our program is designed to be flexible and accommodating to the needs of women. Participants are required to dedicate just two hours daily, which they can schedule at their convenience. We provide them with comprehensive training, including the use of essential tools like our CRM system. With a half-hour training session, they can effectively manage leads and track their performance using a mobile phone or laptop.
Moreover, the training sessions are held weekly, ensuring that they are well-prepared and equipped to represent FuelBuddy effectively. We also provide them with access to social media tools to generate leads and references. The beauty of our program lies in its flexibility. Women can seamlessly integrate their two-hour daily commitment with their household responsibilities. This way, they can secure financial independence while managing their homes.
Rachita: That's great, Neeraj. How do you envision this initiative benefiting the communities where these women energy consultants operate? How will their involvement impact their neighborhoods and communities?
Neeraj: The involvement of women in our program extends beyond individual empowerment; it has a ripple effect on their communities. As more women achieve financial independence and engage in activities that enhance their families' well-being, it contributes to the overall growth of communities.
We believe in the vision of our Prime Minister, who has promoted women's participation in various sectors through initiatives like reservations in government jobs and Parliament. When women earn financial independence through our program, they can better support their families, including investing in education and social development. This, in turn, leads to a positive impact on societies and communities.
Rachita: Now, with 100 women already part of your program and plans to expand further, how do you anticipate FuelBuddy's Women Energy Consultant Program will strengthen the company, improve operations, and enhance customer relationships in the future?
Neeraj: Our initial experience with the program has been positive, and we are enthusiastic about its potential. As more women join our program, we expect to see several benefits. First, it will significantly boost brand and product awareness. The trust and confidence that women ambassadors bring when advocating our services will enhance our customer acquisition and loyalty strategies.
Additionally, the program will create a community of women who share a common goal. They will support each other and receive ongoing training to improve their knowledge and skills. This community-building aspect will contribute to the program's long-term success. Ultimately, FuelBuddy's Women Energy Consultant Program will not only empower women but also strengthen our company and improve customer relationships.
Rachita: That sounds promising, Neeraj. Looking ahead, what's next for FuelBuddy? What's your vision for the company, and are there new sectors or areas you plan to venture into in the near future?
Neeraj: Our vision is to democratize and digitize energy supplies in India and, now, beyond. We are expanding our services to other countries, such as Dubai and African nations, in addition to serving India. We also plan to continue building a strong community of women ambassadors and expand our corporate exposure program.
One interesting aspect is that the women who excel in our program may have opportunities to work full-time with us in the future. We see potential team members within our existing pool of Women Energy Consultants, providing them with corporate exposure and professional growth.
Rachita: That's an ambitious vision, Neeraj. What would you like to say in conclusion?
Neeraj: I'd like to emphasize that our initiative is aligned with the vision of creating a stronger Bharat (India) for the future. Empowering women, who represent half of India's population, can significantly contribute to the growth of a new India. Sustainability is at the core of our efforts, and we request your support in spreading the word about initiatives like ours. Together, we can make a positive impact on the energy sector and society.