ISB Updates

Diverse social ventures emerge at iDiya 2013

Even as India is witnessing a rise in the number of start-ups, the pull towards social businesses is relatively low. Started in 2009 by the students, iDiya is a National social venture competition that aims to stimulate, enable and develop high-impact, self-sustaining social businesses in India. In the last five years iDiya has been a launchpad for numerous budding entrepreneurs with innovative, self-sustaining and commercially viable social ventures as many of the past winners have set up and sustained their business successfully.

Recently, the 5th iDiya challenge came to a closure as the winners were announced at the Grand Finale at the Hyderabad campus.

The winner of this year’s iDiya challenge was TinkerTank Technologies. Bodhi Health Education and Rematerials stood second and third respectively. The people’s choice award – voted through a social media campaign and by the members of the ISB community was awarded to Site4NGO. The winners received Rs 2 lakhs, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 as investment support towards nurturing their venture.

TinkerTank has developed a semi-automated incense-stick machine that eliminates hard labour while producing more with lesser effort helping women produce four times more incense sticks and increasing their monthly income by Rs 5,500. Bodhi Health Education aims to provide affordable medical education to health workers in rural and semi-urban areas of India while Rematerials makes housing roofs out of waste material for people in villages and slums.

The 5th edition was launched in July earlier this year. The competition received a total of 450 applications from participants in 16 states. After an evaluation process that lasted over 2 months including a 1 week long rigorous evaluation during Bootcamp.

11 teams were invited to participate in the bootcamp this year. The one-week long bootcamp at the Hyderabad campus involved interactive workshops and sessions with speakers from the social enterprise industry. These sessions covered various aspects of building a successful entrepreneurial venture. They got an opportunity to hear inspiring stories of successful social entrepreneurs, network with sector leaders, and connect with the entrepreneurial ecosystem for support.

Lending his support to this unique initiative of building the next generation of successful social enterprises in India was Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India who visited the bootcamp and interacted with the ISB community. Ahluwalia congratulated ISB and the iDiya student organisers for focusing on innovation in the social sector. He emphasised the importance of the private sector in driving innovations in the social space and urged them to explore how the government could be leveraged to scale up these innovations. Gracing the iDiya Bootcamp on the final day were Jayaprakash Narayan – Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Andhra Pradesh and Founder of Loksatta Party and Shaheen Mistri, the CEO of Teach for India initiative. Jayaprakash Narayan spoke on how it was possible to innovate and make incremental changes and scale them up inspite of not having great technology in place while Shaheen Mistri spoke about the need to stay focused and to have unwavering conviction in one’s beliefs and ideas in order to be a successful entrepreneur.

It is hoped that by continuing this tradition of supporting high-impact, sustainable social ventures, many more creative ideas will come to the fore which have the potential to touch many lives and create a measurable social impact.