ThinkChange India Tracking Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation in India Sun, 06 May 2012 15:20:43 +0000 en hourly 1 Aamir Khan the Social Entrepreneur Sun, 06 May 2012 15:19:01 +0000 Santhosh Ramdoss Aamir Khan’s new TV show, Satyamev Jayate debuted this morning. The show adopts a talk-show like format (think Oprah), but focuses solely on social change issues. The opening hour-long episode was dedicated to building awareness on of female foetecide in India, whereby female foetuses are selectively aborted after pre-natal sex determination, thus avoiding the birth of girls.

Aamir Khan’s approach to using TV as a social-change tool is strategic and timely. TV access in India is almost universal. It is estimated that 90% of the India’s population has access to TVs, which reaches approximately 260 million households in the country. You cannot beat that kind of distribution. Its a pity that most of the mainstream TV programming till date has been limited to emotional soaps operas, entertaining game shows, and silly reality TV.  The programs that aim to address social-change and development issues are typically in the fringe.

Therein lies the sheer brilliance of what Aamir Khan has managed to accomplish – combining his phenomenal star power with the power and reach of TV. Take a closer look how Satyamev Jayate is carefully executed, and you will start seeing the DNA of a social entrepreneur. The show airs both on Star Plus and on Doordarshan, which is very rare on Indian TV, but maximizes reach, especially to rural households. There is a clear ‘call to action’  at the end of the show and everyone is directed to the show’s website where you can donate to non-profits or sign a petition. Finally, Aamir takes his role as a the chief evangelist very seriously – the show is backed by well-researched data and emotional stories – but the final pitch comes from Aamir.

The fact that the Satyamev Jayate website crashed after the show ended is, ironically enough, a sign that show was extremely well received. The site is back up now. However, the webpage for Snehalaya, one of the recommended NGOs to which viewers can make donations to, is still down – probably not being able to handle the massive spike in traffic.

With Satyamev Jayate Aamir Khan has managed to do what every social entrepreneur dreams of. He has taken a powerful social change idea to scale, which could have a direct impact in the lives of millions of people.

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MentorEdge May 2012 events in Bangalore and Chennai Sun, 06 May 2012 13:06:24 +0000 Shital Shah MentorEdge, the initiative of Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE, IIM Ahmedabad) will be organizing a Mentor Rendezvous in the city of Bangalore on the 12th of May, 2012 and in Chennai on the 19th of May.

Mentor Rendezvous is meant to be first hand interactions where we introduce the Mentor and the Mentee and encourage them to carry this relationship forward as per mutual agreement. The intention is to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem across the country, where participants are benefited by the collective pool of intelligence.

At this event, the mentees can receive valuable one-on-one guidance from the esteemed mentors, and establish a longer-term relationship with them. Post this event, we would also try and facilitate follow up meetings as and when possible, through our local team.

To learn more about the process and mentors, click here for Bangalore and here for Chennai.

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MentorEdge at CIIE, IIM Ahmedabad offers support to aspiring entrepreneurs Sun, 06 May 2012 02:43:32 +0000 admin MentorEdge is a nationwide mentoring program to provide hand-holding, mentoring and networking support to aspiring entrepreneurs and startups. MentorEdge was born out of the need to cater to the needs of a larger ecosystem, and to create a support structure for enterprises which were not being incubated at CIIE. The network is spread across 8 cities [Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore], each city having its set of Evangelists who co-ordinate locally with the mentees.

1. What is the role of MentorEdge? How many mentors are now members?

The objective is to ensure that startups are able to leverage the expertise and experience available in each city. Mentoredge conducts mentoring sessions/workshops across these cities to create opportunities for entrepreneurs to meet the mentors. There is also an attempt to ensure that the mentor and mentee follow up on the initial meeting and are able to form meaningful relationships. The initiative has gained tremendous traction with more than 300 registered mentors and has till now reached out to more than 2000 entrepreneurs. We have seen a number of long term relationships forming in the process and are witness to a lot of success stories.

2. Once an entrepreneur finds a mentor through MentorEdge, how does he get in touch with him/her?

MentorEdge conducts Mentor Rendezvous every two months, in each of these cities, to introduce the mentors to local entrepreneurs in a one–to–one setting. These curated events help introduce the Entrepreneur to the appropriate Mentor and vice versa. Prior to the event the mentees are instructed to view the mentor profiles on the website and select which mentors they want to connect with. A lot of effort goes in the backend to understand the startups’ business and its needs and then identify the most suitable mentor. The mentees are sent preparatory material to ensure they come prepared with the project / ideas and make optimum use of the 45 minute slots allotted to them with their chosen mentor. 

The event lasts about half a day, where dedicated slots are assigned for mentees and mentors to meet. The event structure ensures that the mentee is benefited by meeting at 3 – 4 mentors on the day. Ideally, a 3-4 hour mentoring rendezvous results in mentor and mentee agreeing to meet again and exploring synergies in a more detailed manner. While the Mentee gets to find answers to their queries in the first meeting usually, it paves way for a long-lasting relationship between the Mentor and Mentee. We take timely feedback and facilitate interaction whenever required.

Apart from Mentor Rendezvous, MentorEdge also partners with other initiatives to provide mentoring support to their startups/incubatees/bplan competition applicants. Past patrons of MentorEdge include IIT Delhi ‘Startup Showcase’, IIT Bombay ‘Eureka’, SP Jain ‘Lock Stock and Trade’, IIM Calcutta ‘Ideas2Implementation’, MIT’s ‘Mobile Initiative of India’, IIT Kanpur ‘Techkriti’, UTVi Pitch, Sankalp Forum, ISB iDiya, UnLtd India, Goldmans Sachs 10000 Women entrepreneurs programme, Villgro Unconvention, iWeekend Impact and Startup Weekend.

3. Do these mentors charge any fees? How does the entire system work?

The intention is to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem across the country, where participants are benefited by the collective pool of intelligence. We believe that it is the Mentors who run the show and MentorEdge is a mere facilitator. Truly effective mentors do what they do for one reason: They want to help a mentee succeed. Unlike consultants, mentors don’t work with mentees to make money. A mentor is someone who serves as an example, an advisor, a sounding board and ultimately a friend. A mentor cannot really be effective if they don’t truly care for a mentee. Reasons why people choose to be mentors include,

  • Personal satisfaction – Mentors derive immense satisfaction from helping an aspiring entrepreneur succeed in creating value for the society.
  • Sharpen leadership and interpersonal skills – Mentors sharpen their own skills by challenging and coaching their mentees.
  • Keeps the mentors abreast of the latest trends – Mentorship helps the mentors stay aware of the latest trends and opportunities and gives them a ringside view of the most exciting innovations happening in the area.
  • It is a great opportunity to connect with other mentors and entrepreneurs.
  • Source of recognition and respect – For Mentors, a by-product of the mentoring process often is the respect and recognition they get from the society for their contribution in building a successful enterprise.

That said there are cases where mentees have offered equity to mentors once a long term relationship was formed. This happens as the startups start recognizing the value the mentor is bringing and the important role she is playing in the growth of the company.

What differentiates MentorEdge from others is the quality and commitment of the mentors to help young and budding entrepreneurs with a philanthropic intent. It is an initiative which supports entrepreneurs working on their business plans, entrepreneurs who have started operations, entrepreneurs in fund raising process and even those who are in growth stages. The attempt is to give the entrepreneur a right dose of realism and encouragement so that the entrepreneur is able to achieve her fullest potential. Together we have set a precedent and I am sure similar organizations like us will spring up in future and that would be a proud moment for us.

4. Your advice on how a startup goes about finding a mentor? (how does he know he has found the right mentor). What are the things he should keep in mind before zeroing down on a mentor?

We see mentor-mentee relationship as a long term relationship and not an issue based advisory support. While Mentoredge tries to match the startup with a mentor based on sector and domain expertise and mentor’s areas of interest, it is important for the startup to put in extra effort to make things work. It is important to ensure that one is able to communicate the idea to the mentor and make the mentor interested in what the start up is doing. Over a period of time, as the mentors see startups listening to their advice and progressing, the relationship gets cemented. An ideal mentor becomes as committed and as passionate about the start up as the entrepreneur herself, but this has to be nurtured in the initial phases of mentoring.

What a startup needs to ensure in the first few meetings is that the communication is free flowing, and the mentor accepts the basic idea /consumer need on which the startup is constructing the business model. It is not necessary that the mentor may agree to whatever the startup says and vice versa, but they should have an agreement on the basic problem that the startup is trying to solve. Many a times startups are looking for a quickfix solution for all their problems and that is where the relationship never gets built and the mentor feels no commitment to the startup. Each relationship is unique and would have a different synergy but invariably every relationship needs time to develop.

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TC-I News Update for 2012-04-30 Mon, 30 Apr 2012 10:18:00 +0000 admin
  • Android Phones in India to Get Free 3G Courtesy Google and Reliance #
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    If you missed the road less travelled, here is your chance to correct it Fri, 27 Apr 2012 12:43:25 +0000 admin If your desire to make a difference to the world was somehow lost in your search for a stable career, here is your chance to rediscover it.

    As a Villgro Fellow, you will work with a social enterprise for 1 year, applying your skills to create real impact in Rural India. In charting a better road map for the social enterprise, you may find your own Road Less Travelled. Many Villgro fellows have gone onto work/consult for social enterprises or pursue further studies in the social sector.

    What is the Villgro Fellowship?
    Villgro works with social entrepreneurs who are transforming rural India with innovative ideas such as Bee-Keeping that increases farm yield and financial returns for farmers, Cost-effective anaemia testing machines to prevent maternal mortality, to name a few. Your expertise helps the social enterprise at a critical stage in its journey. Working hands-on with the social enterprises opens your mind to different possibilities. Villgro will provide training and financial support.

    Who can be a Villgro Fellow?
    If you are passionate about using your professional skills for social impact and have 3-4 years experience in any of the following areas – Strategic Planning, Finance and Accounting, HR, Sales and Marketing, IT and Operations – we would be happy to have you on board.

    For more details and to apply please visit:

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    TC-I News Update for 2012-04-25 Wed, 25 Apr 2012 10:18:00 +0000 admin
  • India's Unique Identity (UID) Reaching Underprivileged Households That Have No … #
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    Call for Entries for the “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” India 2012 Awards Tue, 24 Apr 2012 12:54:11 +0000 admin Jubilant Bhartia Foundation and Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship are pleased to invite entries for the prestigious ‘Social Entrepreneur of The Year’ Award 2012 for India.
    Social entrepreneurs working to create large-scale systemic change through innovative approaches are invited to log in at to apply for the awards before May 30, 2012.
    Applicants can also download the application form and view the selection criteria, the selection process and read about the benefits of the Award by visiting or
    The Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award celebrates leading social entrepreneurs who are diligently building solutions for unaddressed communities to ensure inclusive and equitable growth. The finalists of the Award are selected after an intensive search and selection process including expert reviews, site visits and a presentation before a high-powered jury. The winner of the Award this year will be announced at a ceremony coinciding with the India Economic Summit in November 2012 in New Delhi.
    Social Entrepreneurs are innovators who implement practical and sustainable solutions to address challenges of inclusive growth in unaddressed segments. They build and scale innovations in such intractable areas as health, education, environment, job creation and access to technology. Whether they set up for-profit entities, hybrid social ventures or not-for-profit organizations, their primary focus is large-scale transformational social change. Social entrepreneurs build revenue streams for their ventures through the sale of products and services, fees or by developing key partnerships with the public sector and philanthropists to achieve sustainability.
    The Award Benefits – All finalists of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, 2012 will be invited to participate in the India Economic Summit in November 2012 in New Delhi. The winner will join Schwab Foundation’s global community of social entrepreneurs, and will participate in the annual and regional meetings of the World Economic Forum, which offer unprecedented opportunities to engage with global decision makers from the public, corporate, media and academic sectors.
    The Winner and Finalists of the 2011 Awards – In 2011, Ms Neelam Chhiber of Industree Crafts Pvt Ltd. (Brand- Mother Earth) and Industree Crafts Foundation received the Award from Mr. Prithvi Raj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Mr. Ashwani Kumar, Minister of State for Planning, Science, Technology and Earth Sciences of India.
    According to Ms Chibber, “The SEOY 2011 award was an extremely significant recognition of India’s artisanal sector. The award put the spotlight on one of India’s largest asset bases, a highly skilled and talented mass of more than 40 million people, scattered across 6 lakh villages with no common voice.”
    She further added, “Full credit goes to Jubilant Bhartia Foundation for partnering with the Schwab Foundation to provide social entrepreneurs of India timely exposure and connections with policy makers, media and other potential partners.”
    The finalists of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2011 included Matthew Spacie of Magic Bus, Gyanesh Pandey of Husk Power Systems and Sudesh Menon of Waterlife India Pvt Ltd.
    Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is a sister organization of the World Economic Forum. The Foundation provides unique regional and global platforms to promote social entrepreneurship as a key element to advancing societies and addressing social problems innovatively and effectively. It also fosters a close-knit community of social entrepreneurs for idea exchange and replication of best practices.
    Jubilant Bhartia Foundation (JBF) established in 2007, is the not for profit organization of the Jubilant Bhartia Group. It focuses on conceptualizing and implementing the Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives for the Group. The Jubilant Bhartia Foundation’s activities include various community development work, health care programs, cultural and sports events, an environment preservation initiative, vocational training, women empowerment and educational activities.
    Since 2010, JBF has collaborated with the Schwab Foundation to provide leading Indian social entrepreneurs unparalleled platforms and connections with business and government at the national level.
    Start Up! is an angel investor, incubator and advisor to social entrepreneurs. It leads the outreach, due diligence and jury presentation of the Awards on behalf of the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation.
    For more information contact:
    Start Up!
    Manisha Gupta – 9810414441
    Saloni Gupta – 8800322658
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    TC-I News Update for 2012-04-23 Mon, 23 Apr 2012 10:18:00 +0000 admin
  • India: Govt to Leverage Social Media to Address Critical Issues … #
  • Gamechangers: 5 Social Entrepreneurs with Big Ideas #
  • Making a social impact #
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    Sankalp Forum recap: a gathering of the growing social enterprise sector Sat, 21 Apr 2012 10:38:40 +0000 Shital Shah About 650 people from 20 countries gathered in Mumbai on April 12 and 13 for the Sankalp Forum, bringing together all aspects of the inclusive business spectrum from across India. If Sankalp is any indication, the social enterprise sector is growing in size and maturing in terms of the conversation and types of issues facing the industry. While Sankalp offered a host of panels and breakout sessions, many took advantage of having so many relevant stakeholders in one place to make connections and advance their work. Either way, Sankalp was an action packed two days, with several highlights.

    Formation of NASE: During Sankalp, leaders of social enterprises gathered to form the by laws of the National Association of Social Enterprises (NASE India), which will take the shape of an industry body that can collaborate, raise awareness, advocate on relevant issues, and network with like-minded social entrepreneurs.

    Sankalp Awards: The annual tradition of awards continued, and the following winners were announced: 

    Agriculture, Food and Rural BusinessVinfinet Technologies, which is an IT firm building technology solutions for agriculture

    Clean Energy and Clean TechnologyGreen India Building Systems and Services (GIBSS) provides products, operations, and maintenance for energy efficiency in buildings

    EducationEdusports focuses on physical education for nursery-12 and includes all stakeholders in the process

    Health, Water and SanitationEram Scientific combines platform technologies to solve social issues, such as

    Technology for DevelopmentInvention Labs/Avaz enables people with cerebral palsy to communicate by converting their muscle movements into speech, and is available in multiple Indian languages

    South East AsiaHapinoy creates a distribution network through “Community Stores” to create the last mile connection

    Reports: Following the Forum, Intellecap, the organizer of Sankalp, released relevant publications to advance knowledge and insight about the sector. ”On the Path to Sustainability and Scale: A Study of India’s Social Enterprise Landscape” focuses on the for-profit social enterprise landscape in India. “Understanding Human Resources Challenge” focuses on the specific issue of finding and retaining talent, which an Intellecap survey revealed to be the number one issue facing social enterprises.

    The Sankalp Forum offers a little something for everyone – for the experienced social enterprise player, an easier way to meet and connect; for the novice, useful sessions to learn more, and for the industry at large, the space to collaborate and exchange views, ideas, and experiences.

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    2013 Stanford-India Biodesign (SIB) Fellowship Accepting Applications Fri, 20 Apr 2012 18:51:22 +0000 Vinay Ganti What: Stanford-India Biodesign (SIB Fellowship)

    Where: New Delhi and Palo Alto, CA

    Application Deadline & Link: May 18th, 2012; submit application

    Length of Fellowship: 1-year (a second year may be granted depending on project scope)

    The goal of this programme, which launched in 2007, is to train the next generation of biomedical technology innovators in India. This highly competitive programme is directed to Indian citizens who have an interest in the invention and early-stage development of new biomedical technologies. The SIB Fellowship Programme is centred at Stanford and in New Delhi and administered as a collaboration between Stanford University, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in partnership with the Indo-US Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF).

    Fellows receive tuition, stipend support, and international travel arrangements. Over the course of the programme, approximately half of the fellows’ time will be spent at Stanford University and the other half in India. Fellows work in a multidisciplinary team joining other young innovators with a combination of engineering, medical and business backgrounds.


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