Kolkata, Jan 18 IBNS | 10 months ago

The winners of the second edition of the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge, hosted by the Tata group in partnership with the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM-C), were announced in Kolkata on Saturday.

The challenge aims at discovering, encouraging and mentoring the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

The top 3 winners were MicroXlabs, Bodhi Health Care and Green Agrevolution Pvt. Ltd, winning a prize money of Rs 1.75 lakh, Rs 1.25 lakh and Rs 1 lakh, respectively.

The first prize winner MicroXlabs, developed a technology to count the blood cells based on upcoming technology of Lab on Chip and MEMS (Micro electro mechanical systems) which miniaturizes the instrument with all the reagents pre-loaded into the cartridge, providing ease of use, portability and low cost, making it useful for rural healthcare and also usable at the point of care.

The winners Prabhat Kumar and Prakhar Jain from MicroXlabs, Bangalore said, "We are very happy that our idea has won the first prize in Tata Social Enterprise Challenge this year. This is very encouraging for students like us both in terms of getting recognized and winning patronization of big names like Tata group and Indian Institute of Management."

On the future plans for their social venture, the second prize winners, Abhinav Girdhar and Shrutika Girdhar from Gurgaon, said, "We have started Bodhi Health Care taking into account the low literacy levels of the health workers. Complex medical topics have been explained using simple, illustrative videos which connect to the bottom of the pyramid segment and their issues."

They said, "The concepts are explained in regional languages and with minimum content to be read. We would like to continue working towards creating resources which are helpful for them, as we believe that learned and confident health workers will make the society better."

The third prize winner Shashank Kumar is from Patna.

Commenting on his project, he said, "Green Agrevolution's entire business model is based on the gap between growers and consumers of food and agriculture sector. On one side, they provide support to growers during the production cycle and by doing so, they also assure quality production as per the market demand. On the other side, they supply quality products directly to the end users without any intermediaries. Hence buyers get competitive price and high quality as well."

Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2013-14 kicked off in October last year and invited social entrepreneurs who either had an early stage venture (not older than 3 years) or a promising idea with a plan that could create sustainable social impact in India.

There was no restriction on the business model, and it could be for-profit, not-for-profit or even hybrid, but it was necessarily required to demonstrate significant social impact through results or proof of concept.

Impact Proposals (detailed Business Plans) were invited in the areas of education, health, agriculture, technology, sanitation, and handicrafts, among others.

This year's edition attracted over 160 entries from across India, including Assam, Odisha, Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata, among others, and an entry from Bulgaria.

The challenge was divided into three rounds.

The ventures were judged on three parameters - Business Model, Social Impact and Sustainability.

The final two days of the event included sessions and workshops by eminent speakers including Paul Basil, Founder & CEO of Villgro, Professor Paul Lillrank, Aalto University, Finland and Manoj Sinha, Co-Founder of Husk Power Systems.

Professor Saibal Chattopadhyay, Director, IIM Calcutta, Harish Hande, MD of SELCO-India and Shankar Venkateswaran, Chief - Tata Sustainability Group gave away the awards to the winners.

Speaking on the occasion, Venkateswaran said, "Tata group is very happy to host Tata Social Enterprise Challenge jointly with IIM - Calcutta. This year the programme is in its second year and holds special reference to us since this is the 175th birth anniversary of Jamsetji Tata, who believed in the ideology that 'Community is not just another Tata, who in business but the very purpose of its existence'."

(Posted on 18-01-2014)

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