ISB Updates

An iDiya that launched a Dream

The fifth edition of iDiya, one of India’s biggest social venture competitions was unveiled recently at the Hyderabad campus. This annual student initiative offers a platform for dynamic social entrepreneurs, where they can receive mentorship support and access to incubation funds from a diverse set of partners. The objective is to promote profitable business models with measurable social impact.

In the last five years, iDiya has been a launchpad for many budding entrepreneurs with innovative, self-sustaining and commercially viable social ventures. Many ventures have become successful, thanks to the connections made during iDiya at ISB.

One such venture, Source Pilani, which won of the first iDiya challenge, has successfully taken “BPO to the BOP” - bottom of the pyramid. This village-based BPO leverages talent and low-cost infrastructure available in rural India to provide BPO/back office services at a low cost to corporations and governments.  Milaap, another venture, has created a social fundraising platform that enables donors worldwide to loan money to borrowers across villages in India for activities such as starting a business, paying for education, etc. Recently, they have raised $ 1.1 million funding from Jungle Ventures.

Speaking of the support received at iDiya, Sanju Kumar, winner of the 2011 competition said, “Though I knew what I wanted to do, I got to know about how to present a business model and shape its plan only after attending iDiya’s bootcamp.” His enterprise, Kisan School, a farm knowledge management venture, enables farmers to share knowledge, new inventions and resources using SMS, IVR (interactive voice response) and the internet. The project has been incubated by NABARD and will be rolled out in the next few months.

Many entrepreneurs echo this gratitude for iDiya and the role of the School in connecting entrepreneurs with funding and mentoring agencies. "ISB made me proud. It was only after iDiya that I was able to raise Rs 10 crores in funding from one of the government organisations", said T J David, the man behind a low cost solar-powered crop harvester whose innovation has been tested and validated by International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) and Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad.

Abdul Lateef, winner of the 3rd iDiya competition, whose Mobile Science Lab promotes science education among students and schools without such luxuries recognised the initiative’s contribution to his venture. “iDiya provided me with the network which is helping my business,” he said.

Through this annual event, the School encourages social entrepreneurship amongst youth in India amid optimism that new age business models can transform India’s social sector.

For more information, please visit the iDiya website