Grand Challenges-Karnataka, an initiative under the innovative Start-up Policy of the Government of Karnataka, has launched its ‘Grand Challenge Call 5 and Call 6‘, to unearth innovative solutions to reduce traffic congestion in Bengaluru City as well as tackle the perennial water shortage.

Image Source – Startup Karnataka

The cherry-picked ideas will get access to funding and go through prototyping, testing & scaling up in Bengaluru. The last date to apply for ‘Grand Challenge Call 5 and Call 6’ will be October 15th, 2017.

Anyone from any discipline in India – from individuals, researchers and faculty in colleges/ universities/government/start-ups/not-for-profit organisations, etc. can apply for the Grand Challenge by logging onto Call 5 Impact Karnataka. ‘GrandChallenge Call 5’ will focus primarily on technology innovations involving last-mile connectivity, real-time info on public transport, ease of transition from one mode of transport to the other and innovative parking solutions.

More than three-quarters of Bangloreans commuting to work each day are driving by themselves. That’s a lot of empty seats on the road – and all that traffic and congestion has a large financial, environmental, and emotional cost. With Bengaluru among the fastest growing cities in Asia, the population has rapidly increased from 53 lakh in 2001 to 87 lakh in 2011. In fact, vehicle population growth rate is even higher than population growth rate and about 5 lakh vehicles are being added to Bengaluru streets every year. Various studies have pegged the economic loss of Bengaluru’s traffic gridlock between one to five billion dollars.

Priyank Kharge, Karnataka’s IT, BT & Tourism Minister, said

When we think of the future of transport, we have a tendency to picture a world in which people fly around on personal jetpacks and cars levitating down streets. In reality, the way we get around, in the short and medium term at least, will be a little less sci-fi than that. But it will still involve some truly revolutionary changes.

The future of your commute is unlikely to lie in any one big invention. Instead it will grow out of many new innovations which can be used alongside existing technologies. They will work within the context of increasingly smart transport networks that are able to respond quickly and efficiently to our ever-changing needs. ‘Grand Challenge Call 5’ is an attempt to create a big picture from small solutions.

‘Grand Challenge Call 6’ is a rallying cry to unearth innovative solutions to aide water conservation in Karnataka. The state government launched the ‘Call 6’ to generate and utilize real-time data on quality and quantity of water being utilized at individual level including water use in agriculture for predicting a potential water crisis.

Call 6 seeks crowd-sourced solutions for data generation and development of sustainable, feasible, scalable & low maintenance kits/mobile app/technology for monitoring water quality, etc.

Priyank Kharge, Karnataka’s IT, BT & Tourism Minister, added

Water may very well be the new oil. A finite resource essential to consumer, agricultural and industrial users and a vital component our economic growth. That’s why water as an investment has some compelling long-term investment appeal.

This creates opportunity for startups, who can contribute to creating a sustainable water supply and participate in investments likely to experience long-term growth.

During the first phase, five innovators will be eligible for testing the proposed solution for funding of up to INR 10 lakh for a period of six months. They will have to develop and successfully demonstrate three functional prototypes [in case the system involves prototyping a new device] or demonstrate the solution for at least 10 users [in the case the system is a service/software/ app-based solution] in two locations in Karnataka. The period of live demonstration is part of the six months allocated to Phase I.

Phase two will see one innovator being selected for a further funding of up to INR 50 lakh for a period of 12 months to scale-up. The idea will be tested for ability to define and demonstrate the product/solution as well as evaluated on stability, robustness and scalability of the solution through a sustainable revenue model. User validation will also be determined through feedback.

‘Grand Challenges’ are a set of initiatives by the Karnataka government to turn crowd-sourced data-driven innovations to prime opportunities to contribute to effective, localized, and measurable change to the challenges facing Karnataka. In the process, startups with game-changing ideas, will get the golden opportunity to channelize innovations for social impact, and also grow their business in the process.

The support provided under ‘Grand Challenges’ will be catalytic in enabling startups to test and scale their innovations in target locations across Karnataka. The programme will not only provide funds but also work with the awardees for the duration of their project and beyond, to ensure project implementation. It will also offer the awardees collective experience of mentors, resources and network.

The selection criteria will be based on parameters including alignment with the mandate of the cell, the potential impact, feasibility, sustainability, accessibility & novelty of the idea proposed as well as the execution capacity.

For more information, please visit Grand Challenge 5 Official Page

The Indian School of Business [ISB] and SAP Labs India have entered into a collaboration to nurture technology-based start-ups in the social space, focusing on ventures which are working in areas that have relevance to national priorities.

Image Source – Jumpstart Social Enterprise Accelerator

Titled Jumpstart Social Enterprise Accelerator, the programme aims to identify and support 10 early stage and 5 growth stage promising ventures by providing guidance, mentorship and scaling up their technology solutions that can bring about a large scale impact in the lives of common people. Start-ups targeting sectors such as education, healthcare, water & sanitation, energy, agriculture, financial technology, infrastructure, livelihoods and others are eligible to apply for the programme.

Sharing ISB’s objective in promoting the initiative, Professor Rajendra Srivastava, Dean, ISB said

ISB is committed to its goal of taking on a larger role of incubating and supporting entrepreneurial ideas as well as scaling up ventures that will potentially generate employment, foster economic and social progress and create significant social value for the country.

The ISB SAP Jumpstart accelerator programme is one such initiative to support promising entrepreneurs in thinking big and help scale their businesses to create impact in areas of national priority and help build a better tomorrow.

Dilipkumar Khandelwal, Managing Director of SAP Labs India & Executive Vice President, Enterprise Cloud Services, SAP SE said

We are pleased that the SAP ISB Social Enterprise Jumpstart program is growing to accommodate more social enterprises.  Through this initiative, we are supporting in creating investible and growth oriented social enterprises which can contribute to the economic development of our country.

The first cohort of this accelerator programme was launched in  July 2016 where ISB and SAP received 400+ applications from diverse sectors. Five early stage start-ups in the areas of financial technology, sustainable development & livelihood, agriculture and skill development were shortlisted and mentored. As a result, all the 5 ventures from the first cohort have scaled up their business operations, received funding or have been taken over.

How to apply for the Jumpstart Social Enterprise Accelerator

Start-ups will be short-listed through a nation-wide selection process based on their innovation, social impact and scalability. Shortlisted finalists would be invited for a business plan pitch and interview by a panel consisting of business experts, investors, faculty & members of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ISB, & SAP. To know more about the application process and criteria, click here

The National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj [NIRDPR] launched India’s First focused ‘Rural Innovators Startup Conclave’ [RISC2017] at NIRDPR, Hyderabad. The focus of the two day event was to build capacities and promote fresh talent by giving them a platform to display their innovations, encourage greater learning, and strengthen the cadre of young rural innovators and start-ups.

Highlights [Day – 1, 23/03]

Indian start-ups are mostly IT based and cater to urban services. Innovation and Technology Diffusion for ‘rural development’ is the need of the hour. Other important stakeholders who act as support systems to rural innovators are still evolving. There is a need to develop and nurture mentors, angel investors, faculty, corporates, media so that they play a much more active role in contributing to the ecosystem.

The Chief Guest for the event, Honourable Minister of State for Science, Technology and Earth Sciences, Shri YS Chowdary noted

I am immensely happy to be associated with RISC2017, an initiative very close to my heart. Rural development is an important subject and higher dividends from the rural youth are still at large. This kind of an initiative which focuses on rural urbanisation requires synchronisation modern day development concepts. Since our country is agrarian based we have to take a quantum leap to help farmers improve their income level and reduce cost of living. I believe NIRD&PR can play a major role in capacity building-help farmers get educated in fundamental financial literacy and cost accountancy.

We have been talking about globalisation in last 2 decades-we have a lot of potential to tap rural markets. There is need to focus on particular areas in particular technologies for particular people and see that they are saturated. The Govt of India should ensure that a number of initiatives are started by properly coordinating with colleges institutions and state govts. I assure the full support of my ministry to NIRD&PR, besides lobbying with other relevant ministries to muster their support in the endeavours of NIRD&PR.

Speaking at the launch, Dr. W.R. Reddy, IAS, Director General NIRDPR, Hyderabad, said

RISC2017 is the first of its kind platform to connect all institutes and agencies promoting innovation and start-up culture to look at the rural landscape. RISC will be an annual feature that can handhold and mentor the innovators and connect the startups with funding agencies. We believe rural development can be accelerated by infusion of technology tapping the creative minds of the youth across the country.

RISC2017 featured RISC Awards 2017 under Six domain areas namely

  1. Agriculture and Allied
  2. Green Energy Technologies
  3. Drinking Water, Health and Sanitation
  4. Waste to Wealth
  5. Sustainable Housing
  6. Other Livelihoods

Rural Innovations and Technologies in ‘Idea with Prototype’ and ‘Startup Stage’ were recognized by the jury members. The award winners were announced 24th March.

Highlights [Day – 2, 24/03]

The ‘RISC 2017 Awards’ were conceptualised to encourage the rural youth and bring to the fore the creative young minds of the country to showcase their innovations for rural development.

The award ceremony was graced by Chief Guest N. Ramesh Kumar, IAS [Retd], State Election Commissioner, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad. The RISC 2017 Awards received 200 entries from across India. Out of the 200 entries, 110 were shortlisted and 12 were awarded under the categories of ‘Best Innovators’ & ‘Best Startups’. The  six best startups were awarded a cash prize of Rs 1 Lakh each and the 6 best innovators were were awarded a cash prize of Rs 50,000 each, along with a certificate and  glittering memento.

The winners of the RISC Awards 2017 were adjudged  under the following six categories

  • Agriculture and Allied – Exabit System [Startup category], Mr D Babu Rao [Innovator category]
  • Green Energy Technologies – Divyanga Thrift and Credit Society [Startup category], Mr Amol Koli [Innovator Category]
  • Drinking Water, Health and Sanitation – Mr Soujanya Bodha [Innovator category], Cerela Nutritech [Startup category]
  • Waste to Wealth – Allika [Startup category], Mr Chandra Dass [Innovator Category]
  • Sustainable Housing – Pipal Tree [Startup Category], Mohammed Ismail Khan [Innovator category]
  • Suatainable Livelihoods – Ms Ambica Eco Green Bags [Startup Category], Mr Tirupati Rao [Innovator category]

Images Images

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. W.R. Reddy, IAS, Director General NIRDPR, Hyderabad, said

We thank all the innovators and start-ups for coming out with their inventions and making this event a great success. NIRD&PR will put in efforts to ensure that these products which are at their nascent stage, will receive the kind of support and facilitation required to package them attractively for end users. Going forward, NIRD&PR will be opening up a new front for them-we will be engaging a large number of volunteer service providers for design improvement of these products and integrate these designs in the rural ecosystem.

We are are grateful to NIRD&PR for intitating this first of its kind platform that encourages rural innovators like us to do more for our country and promote entrepreneurship amongst all strata of society.

About NIRDPR

The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, an autonomous organisation under the Union Ministry of Rural Development, is a premier national centre of excellence in rural development and Panchayati Raj. Recognized internationally as one of the UN-ESCAP Centres of Excellence, it builds capacities of rural development functionaries, elected representatives of PRIs, bankers, NGOs and other stakeholders through inter-related activities of training, research and consultancy. For more information, please visit National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj

The National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj announced the launch of India’s first focused Rural Innovation and Startup Conclave [RISC] to be held on the 23rd and 24th of March 2017, at NIRDPR, Hyderabad. The focus of the two day event is to build capacities and promote fresh talent by giving them platform to display their innovations, encourage greater learning, and strengthen the cadre of young rural innovators and start-ups.

Indian start-ups are mostly IT based and cater to urban services. Innovation and Technology Diffusion for rural development is the need of the hour. Other important stakeholders who act as support systems to rural innovators are still evolving. There is a need to develop and nurture mentors, angel investors, faculty, corporates, media so that they play a much more active role in contributing to the ecosystem.

Speaking at the launch, Dr.W.R.Reddy, IAS, Director General NIRDPR, Hyderabad, said

Since more than 60 per cent of the Indian population live in the villages, the improvement of their living conditions should be anchored and promoted by innovation and technology development and their dissemination for improving the productivity and wealth creation.

In addition, RISC2017 will feature RISC Awards 2017 under Six domain areas namely 1. Agriculture and Allied 2. Green Energy Technologies 3. Drinking Water, Health and Sanitation 4. Waste to Wealth 5. Sustainable Housing and 6. Other Livelihoods,  which will be a Platform for demonstration and recognition of Rural Innovations and Technologies. Nominations for the same will be through its website, and the last date of nominations will be on the 10th of March 2017. Nomination will be accepted in the areas of Idea with Prototype and Startup Stage.

NIRDPR Spokesperson said

We are reaching out across the country and hope to see some good participation for the RISC Awards 2017. We have already received 25 entries so far.

About NIRDPR

The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, an autonomous organisation under the Union Ministry of Rural Development, is a premier national centre of excellence in rural development and Panchayati Raj. Recognized internationally as one of the UN-ESCAP Centres of Excellence, it builds capacities of rural development functionaries, elected representatives of PRIs, bankers, NGOs and other stakeholders through inter-related activities of training, research and consultancy. For more information, please visit National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj

Genpact, a global leader in digitally-powered business process management and services, announced the launch of the Genpact Social Impact Fellowship [GSIF] in partnership with EdelGive Foundation, the philanthropic division of Edelweiss Group. Designed as a one-year program to work on high-impact projects in India, Genpact has hand-picked seven fellows who will bring all their expertise in process excellence to work with NGOs for generating social impact.

NV ‘Tiger’ Tyagarajan, President and CEO, Genpact said

GSIF is a game-changing initiative. Our objective is to build lasting social organizations that can scale in the communities we are part of globally. Creating sustainable social impact has always been our focus. We bring our areas of strength and our capabilities to these social organizations that have a great vision, mission and passion, and when leveraged with our process expertise and execution experience sets them up to scale up.

Working in the area of education with NGOs like Teach for India, Kaivalya Education Foundation and Udayan Care will be seven fellows, including a senior resource with advanced quality certification to improve process capability and help design smarter solutions. They will be deployed on projects ranging from improving instructional hours in government schools to creating blueprints for scaling up a scholarship and mentoring program for meritorious but underprivileged girls. With mentorship from top leaders all through the journey, fellows will work on the ground to solve for the respective NGOs’ challenges and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their projects.

Sasha Sanyal, SVP – Strategy and Lean Digital Transformation, Genpact said

The ability to make a meaningful impact on the not-for-profit sector without a dent on your corporate career is what is truly special about GSIF. We have many examples at Genpact of process expertise making immense impact on companies. We are committed to the idea of using our core competencies as an organization to make a real difference to the social sector

Naghma Mulla, COO, EdelGive Foundation said

Having received over a hundred applications from talented and passionate people belonging to various organizations, the pilot batch was put together as a collaborative exercise between Genpact and EdelGive Foundation. Traditionally, organizations in the social sector have had to face challenges not only around funding, but also around scaling up and organization development. The Genpact Social Impact Fellowship was conceptualised to provide such much needed support by combining the philanthropic expertise of EdelGive with Genpact’s Lean Six Sigma proficiency.

The open fellowship program invites applications from interested people from all backgrounds with a demonstrated passion for social impact. Genpact aims to develop GSIF into a successful, scalable program that can serve as a model for many other organizations wanting to make a lasting difference in the social sector.

About EdelGive Foundation

Established in 2008, EdelGive Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Edelweiss Group, one of India’s leading diversified financial services conglomerates providing a broad range of financial products and services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, institutions and individuals. Since its inception, EdelGive has worked towards being a bridge between the users and providers of philanthropic capital and knowledge by bringing the skills, resources and talents of the for- profit world to the not- for- profit arena. For more information, please visit EdelGive Foundation

Tata Social Enterprise Challenge, a joint initiative of the Tata group and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta [IIMC], celebrated India’s most promising early-stage social enterprises, which could bring about long-term solutions to India’s social problems.

The grand finale of the fourth edition of the programme held on January 16, 2016, at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta [IIM-C], saw HelpUsGreen from Kanpur [Winner], Jeevtronics from Pune [1st Runner-up], & Hasiru Dala Innovations from Bengaluru and Disease Diagnose Group from Boston, USA [joint winners of the 2nd Runner-up position], emerge as the most promising social ventures, winning prize money of Rs. 2.5 lakh, Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 1.5 lakh, respectively [Details about the idea can be found here]

Tata Social Enterprise Challenge [TSEC] is a quest to find India’s most promising early-stage social enterprises. The endeavor of the challenge is to create an ecosystem for social entrepreneurship and encourage sustainable, scalable and measurable social impact.

This year’s edition received 600+ registrations from across India, out of which 210 met all the eligibility criteria and moved to the next round of the competition. These impact proposals were in the area of agriculture, food and dairy; healthcare, water and sanitation; technology and development; education & skills development; housing; handicrafts; and energy and micro-finance/financial inclusion. The ventures were judged on three parameters – Business Model, Social Impact and Sustainability.

Ankit Agarwal, the winner of the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2015-16 has started HelpUsGreen. A Kanpur based social enterprise, HelpUsGreen preserves the rivers by flower cycling the waste from the places of worship into bio-fertilizers and lifestyle products like incense and bathing soaps, among others, and in doing so also empowers women self-help groups [currently the venture is managing five women self-help groups with sixteen members each].

Ecstatic with his win Ankit said

It’s been an overwhelming experience. We have won many competitions before but Tata Social Enterprise Challenge is like the Filmfare of social entrepreneurship.

Jeevtronics, a Pune based venture, was declared as the 1st Runner-up. Ashish Gawade representing the venture said, It was a great experience for us. The knowledge, mentoring and feedback that we received from the jury was really helpful, and it was good to collaborate with the other start-ups too.

Jeevtronics is dedicated to designing and implementing affordable medical devices for underdeveloped and rural areas. It has patented a hand-cranked defibrillator – a life-saving device for heart patients – which has a built-in power generator that enables it to work in off-grid rural areas, mini ambulances and disaster relief camps, among others. The hand-crank generator requires 12 seconds to charge and comes at one-fourth the cost of competition.

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Intellecap Impact Investment Network [I3N], Rianta Capital along with ah! Ventures have invested Rs. 10 Million in waste management startup Sampurn(e)arth. Co-founded by Debartha Banerjee, Jayanth Nataraju, & Ritvik Rao, Sampurn(e)arth provides end-to-end decentralized and customized waste management solutions such as  dry waste collection and processing, bio-gas plant installation, composting, O&M and consulting services.

SampurnEarth

It works closely with the non-profit waste picker organization Stree Mukti Sanghatana and actively incorporates waste pickers into the process, thereby up-skilling them and increasing incomes. Its clientele includes municipal bodies, corporate parks educational campuses and residential units.

Sharing the statistics on the scale of the problem in the waste management segment, Co-founder Jayanth Nataraju said

In Mumbai alone, about 10,000 tonnes of waste is generated daily, so there is a huge opportunity for intervention. With initiation of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, there is an increased interest in our solutions and we are seeing tremendous support from stakeholders across the value chain. We are confident that with the guidance of investors on scaling the business, we will be able to move the needle on this vast challenge.

Talking about the investment, Ajay Dalmia, I3N, said

The current method of dumping waste into landfills leads to several environmental and societal problems. This practice adversely affects the health of people and also fails to recognize the inherent value in the waste. Sampurn(e)arth is bringing in an effective decentralized asset light business model that is environmentally sustainable, generates employment and is profitable. This is an execution intensive model and we have full faith in the promoters’ passion for the cause and ability to deliver.

Sidharth Pansari, Angel Investor & Director, Primarc Projects added

It is our responsibility to give our environment and the people living around us, a more sustainable future than we have today. By investing in Sampurn(e)arth we are directly contributing in creating a positive impact on the environment, coming up with innovative ways in which one can turn waste into re-usable resources and renewable energy. Primarc Group’s real estate projects have been developed with environment friendly features like rain water harvesting, sewage treatment plant, Solar hot water, fly ash bricks and organic water treatment. We should put our knowledge and experience to come up with new sustainable solutions for the greater benefit of the planet by creating better disposal options and safer treatment of waste.

Harshad Lahoti, Founder & CEO, ah! Ventures. said

ah! Impact, the platform through with the investment in Sampurn(e)arth was made, validates our commitment and foresight towards social investing in India, also the large number of our investors, which are mostly first time investors have shown great interest in investing in social enterprises with high potential and measurable social or environmental impact. ah! Impact recently reinvested in Ketto, a crowdfunding platform for social, personal and creative projects.

ah! Impact also recently reinvested in Ketto, a crowdfunding platform for social, personal and creative projects.

About Sampurn(e)arth

Sampurn(e)arth Environment Solutions Pvt. Ltd provides wet and dry waste management solutions for corporates, residential societies and construction companies. A TISS [Tata Institute of Social Science] incubator project, Sampurn(e)arth was launched in 2012 with an objective of making solid waste management efficient, decentralized and even profitable. Sampurn(e)arth works on the principle that transporting waste to the city’s dumping grounds is inefficient and expensive and also hazardous. It encourages on-site segregation, wherever possible. It also sets up on-site bio-gas or composting facilities for wet waste, while non- biodegradable waste is transported directly to recycling units. This leaves only a small amount of dry waste to be transported to the dumping grounds.

About ah! Ventures

ah! Ventures is a startup focused growth catalyst that brings together promising businesses and investors by creating wealth creation opportunities for both. ah!’s unique model serves investors, entrepreneurs and enablers through a unique blend of customized services, skill, and industry & domain experience.

Founded in 2010, ah! Ventures has systematically disrupted India’s early stage funding ecosystem through its innovative approach toward startup investing. First of its kind initiatives like the CLUB ah! network & platform, ah! Angels (India’s largest angel network), ah! Seeders and ah! VC networks (India’s first seed & VC investment networks respectively), have brought together and integrated the otherwise previously segregated startup funding lifecycle, under one roof. This, coupled with ah! Impact network, an impact investment network for investing in social enterprises and ah! Mentors network, a mentor network to assist startups in their growth and expansion, has today made ah! Ventures not just one of India’s most respected change leaders, but also a formidable industry force to recon with.

About I3N

Intellecap Impact Investment Network (I3N or I-cube-N) is a global network of impact investors, both individuals and institutions who come together to co-invest in impact enterprises across India and East Africa. It’s aim is to plug the pre-VC funding gap early stage enterprises face by mobilizing domestic capital and connecting international investors to domestic investors. Investors come together to support brilliant and passionate entrepreneurs who are dedicated to solving difficult problems at the bottom of the pyramid.