Dissemination of improved energy efficient technologies is best achieved through interventions at the cluster level. A typical MSME cluster has a number of units that are greatly similar in terms of technology, operating practices, and products in proximity. The first step in dissemination is the demonstration of the improved technology at the cluster level, with fine-tuning, monitoring, and validation of its performance over a period of time. Ideally, the demonstration units are owned by progressive entrepreneurs, who are chosen by the local industries associations. Where such formal groups do not exist, the units may be identified by other agencies familiar with the cluster profile (such as the state district industries centres).
Once the owners of the selected units realize the advantages of the new technology and adopt it, other units in the cluster are motivated to follow suit. Technology dissemination requires the creation of an enabling environment at the cluster level to aid in replications. It is, therefore, important to identify and strengthen cluster-level entities, which can deliver and provide support services for the technology in the long term. One of the most critical factors in ensuring the success of the technology dissemination process is the identification and close involvement of Local Service Providers (LSPs)-technically capable person(s)/organizations/institutions, who are familiar with the cluster dynamics (including the nature of the industry and its processes, the entrepreneurs, technologies in use, markets for raw materials and finished goods, and so on)-who can promote the improved technology, as well as provide in-situ advice and technical support to the replication units.
For instance, local fabricators should be capable of making the necessary equipment while adhering to strict quality norms; the raw materials and components for the new/modified equipment must be readily available to entrepreneurs in the cluster at affordable prices (which means putting in place sustainable market linkages); a pool of local technicians must be available to meet the regular maintenance and repair needs of the new technology; a local consultant should be available to encourage and enable continuous interaction between entrepreneurs and technology suppliers, and to provide troubleshooting services that would further strengthen the dissemination process; and so on. However, such trained human resources and their related infrastructural needs are not readily available in MSME clusters. They have to be identified and their capabilities strengthened through intensive and sustained capacity building programmes.
Dissemination of the improved technology is further assisted through awareness generation programmes like workshops, exhibitions, inter-cluster visits for entrepreneurs, and publicity campaigns (media coverage, brochures, posters, audio-visual material, and so on), along with carefully structured capacity building/training programmes for cluster-level stakeholders.
Here are some examples of the activities related to technology dissemination undertaken by the members of SAMEEEKSHA.