2014-05-12-solar_panels_construction.jpg

New solar panels being constructed. Photo courtesy of Vrinda Manglik.

Co-authored with Vrinda Manglik, Associate Campaign Representative, International Clean Energy Access

Entrepreneurs are going green to support global development.

The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) is a non-profit network of entrepreneurs and professionals headquartered in Silicon Valley. With interests in technology, innovation, and enterprise, a focus on supporting clean energy entrepreneurs and endeavors is a natural fit for these progressive leaders.

Harnessing this potential for clean energy development in order to drive clean solutions for energy poverty is an opportunity we at the Sierra Club are most excited about. After partnering with TiE in 2013 to bring Jigar Shah to Silicon Valley to discuss the tremendous leapfrog opportunities for clean energy in India, the Club is excited for TiE's upcoming conference, TiEcon, as an opportunity to increase entrepreneurial interest in clean energy solutions for global energy poverty.

TiEcon includes an impressive lineup of speakers -- including high-profile CEOs and startup founders -- that will deliver key insights on trends in business and technology. It will be an exciting opportunity to learn from some of the best and brightest minds in business and innovation and catalyze more solutions and resources going forward. Bright minds like that of Lesley Marincola -- founder and CEO of Angaza Design -- who will be moderating a panel focused on obtaining seed funding for startup companies.

TiEcon -- which has been included in Worth magazine's list of "10 Best Conferences For Ideas and Entrepreneurship" -- is the world's largest entrepreneurship conference. Last year's event drew a crowd of 3,600 of the most prevalent stars of the tech, business, and enterprise worlds. In fact, the Forbes Style File column just featured the event.

This year, TiEcon's clean energy focus will be featured with an entire track of the conference that is dedicated to impact investing, including a panel -- Leveraging the Power of Diaspora -- featuring speakers from the Aspen Institute and Skoll Foundation. The main focus of the panel will be leveraging the financial power of the Indian diaspora to focus on issues within India -- particularly off-grid, clean energy services. With $45 million flowing into up-and-coming solar companies in the past four months alone, the market is heating up, and TiE's network of entrepreneurs and investors want to know all about it.

Access to financing is a significant barrier facing progressive cleantech companies seeking to serve the energy poor. It is only with financial support that they will be able to help power the lives of the 400 million Indians living off the grid. Given TiE's focus on entrepreneurship and the new TiE Angels investment network, it is exciting to see an expanding focus on the diaspora's potential to support clean energy projects.

Ultimately, the tremendous potential to distribute clean energy to places with unprecedented energy poverty -- like India -- speaks for itself. But panels like these at TiEcon are essential to inspire the resources and entrepreneurial talent in places like the Bay Area and all across the country. Already, clean energy technology and payment innovations -- like pay-as-you-go mobile payment schemes -- are spreading like wildfire, and this is only the beginning.

Registration for TiEcon 2014 ends this Thursday, May 15, so check it out here.

To receive updates about TiEcon 2014, follow them on Twitter: @tiesv and @TiEcon.