COVID-19 and Women’s Energy Entrepreneurship: Rosmiaty Lantara
The Clean Cooking Alliance, Sustainable Energy for All, ENERGIA, and members of the People-Centered Accelerator hosteda webinar featuring five women entrepreneurs and facilitated by Dr. Amanda Elam of Babson College. Representing business models ranging from solar lighting distribution to biodigester programs, the participants offered insights into how their roles as industry leaders are shifting as a result of COVID-19, and how they are devising innovative ways to remain operational during these unprecedented times.
Rosmiaty Lantara is an Indonesian biogas entrepreneur, supported by the Hivos BIRU biogas program, which contributes to a transition toward broad renewable energy use and greener societies. Rosmiaty founded her biogas construction company, CV Rizki Abadi, in 2016, with the goal of raising awareness about clean cooking fuels throughout her province of South Sulawesi. Rosmiaty leads a small team of five trained masons, with whom she has built more than 52 biogas digesters. She also manages a biogas expansion program with the local government, offering her customers products such as organic fertilizer.
When asked about the impacts of COVID-19 on her business, she said, “Due to the pandemic and a redirection of governmental funds, we have not been – and will not be – able to build our biogas units as planned. Also, people have not been able to pay for their biogas digesters, as their primary need is food. The number of demands has fallen drastically, and we will not be able to build the 120 digesters we planned.”
Indonesia’s restrictions on movement have also limited her promotional activities. But thanks to her motivation, Rosmiaty is now implementing online activities with potential customers and users, while her field team is running training and monitoring operations in line with social distancing regulations. “We have cut some extra costs to maintain the cash flow and we try to stay positive,” she said.