Social Entrepreneur of Year 2007

31 12 2007

The Nand & Jeet Khemka Foundation and The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in collaboration with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Confederation of India Industry (CII) give away the “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” award every year. This award is decided by nominations received from across the country. This award carries the title of “Khemka Fellow” and Rs.8,00,000 (Eight Lakhs / Eight Hundred Thousand Indian Rupees).

Nominations for this award for 2007

Harish Hande, SELCO
Climate Change, Rural Financing, Base of Pyramid Economics, Alternative Energy.
SELCO provides solar electrification solutions to the rural people in India. Around 57% of India population do not have access to electricity adding to unreliable power supply. SELCO provides solar electricity to people below the poverty line through a combination of customized home lighting, innovative doorstep financing and understanding the market need. SELCO has reached around 80,000 clients in Karnataka and Kerala and now working with people in Gujarat.

Rajendra Joshi, Saath
Public Private Partnerships, Base of Pyramid Economics, Urban Issues, Livelihood
Unplanned/Unprecedented migration is a major problem in various parts of the world and India being no different. In Ahmedabad alone, almost 40% of the city’s residents live in slums without access to basic amenities. Among this population, only 1 in 5 have private bathrooms (latrines) and only 1 in 4 have access to HealthCare and more than 50% rely on in-formal livelihood.
Saath works with Private and Government organization is creating an affordable cost model where people in these areas are not evicted and a small amount is charged for providing with amenities like roads, water, sanitation, lights etc. Saath then worked with private electric company and government to bring out charges which is a third of actual cost to get electricity and provided this to the people in slums. The companies realized a 30% increase in revenue and also the government has benefited with the tax paid. In total, Saath has worked with more than 70,000 families in Ahmedabad including 10,000 people through Slum Networking Project and 40,000 households through Urban Resource Centers.

Pravin Mahajan, Janarth
Education, Migration Issues, Labor
There are more than 30 Million (30 Lakhs) children who are taken out of school as their parents migrate in India.
Pravi has worked in creating education opportunities for these children by creating hostels for children who’s parents migrate for work and also Shakharshalas or the on-site schools for children who go along with their parents. These schools are accredited by the government and ensure that students from Shakharshalas are re-admitted into regular schools at any time. Janarth has reached around 10,000 children and proved its quality in education and also is working with Government of Maharashtra to have these schools in every district through out the state.

Chetna Gala Sinha, Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank Ltd.
Rural Development, Livelihood Development, Banking

The Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank Ltd(MDMSB) and Mann Vikas Samajik Sanstha (MVSS) together develop systems that rural women need to evolve as successful entrepreneurs and build financial assets. Chetna has established the first Indian rural all women bank through equity within tribal women and also the bank runs by all rural women. The bank works in creating products from their client perspective such as micro-pensions and customized health insurance schemes. MDMSB and MVSS have collectively reached around 58,000 women in five districts of Maharashtra. Expansion plans include states of Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

The WINNER
The Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 has been awarded to Mr.Harish Hande of SELCO.

Hope to see more nominations and more finalists in the coming years.

You are read more about the above nominations at http://www.schwabfound.org/india/.

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HeadStart & GEW

30 12 2007

Yesterday, one of our team members sent this link to the group checking if anyone can represent from / can we one of their partners. The Global Entrepreneur Week, which is to be held between 17-23 November 2008, is a global event where thousands of like minded people who are working towards innovation, and inspiring their creativity through imagination will be coming together in London, United Kingdom.

I have been part of KickStart.In (Thanks to Kesava and others who always invited me) and also been part of BarCamp movement in Bangalore since BCB2. Have been trying to create an ecosystem where we can help people with startup’s and bring like minded people together – to not only help build their dreams, but also work towards a common goal helping each other to succeed.

Well, after BarCamp Bangalore, the next and our first major event is the HeadStart 2008, which is being organized along with ACM Conference between the 18-20 January 2008 at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The aim of this event is to bring together Academicians, Students and Investors on a single platform and showcase various innovations. If you are a start-up and looking for an opportunity to show case your product/service, then I would highly recommend you to be there. You can take suggestions/feedback/critics not only from general audience, but also from eminent academicians too. Also, there are investors in the audience, who might be interested to support you ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave no stone unturned, you might be the next Apple/Google/Microsoft ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, coming to GEW, I have registered myself as a partner and the whole team has been encouraging me. Hope I will live up to their expectations.

More updates to come soon in the new year, so, stay tuned….





HeadStart & GEW

30 12 2007

Yesterday, one of our team members sent this link to the group checking if anyone can represent from / can we one of their partners. The Global Entrepreneur Week, which is to be held between 17-23 November 2008, is a global event where thousands of like minded people who are working towards innovation, and inspiring their creativity through imagination will be coming together in London, United Kingdom.I have been part of KickStart.In (Thanks to Kesava and others who always invited me) and also been part of BarCamp movement in Bangalore since BCB2. Have been trying to create an ecosystem where we can help people with startup’s and bring like minded people together – to not only help build their dreams, but also work towards a common goal helping each other to succeed.Well, after BarCamp Bangalore, the next and our first major event is the HeadStart 2008, which is being organized along with ACM Conference between the 18-20 January 2008 at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The aim of this event is to bring together Academicians, Students and Investors on a single platform and showcase various innovations. If you are a start-up and looking for an opportunity to show case your product/service, then I would highly recommend you to be there. You can take suggestions/feedback/critics not only from general audience, but also from eminent academicians too. Also, there are investors in the audience, who might be interested to support you ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave no stone unturned, you might be the next Apple/Google/Microsoft ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, coming to GEW, I have registered myself as a partner and the whole team has been encouraging me. Hope I will live up to their expectations.More updates to come soon in the new year, so, stay tuned….





Art of Innovation

9 12 2007

My last reading is The Art of Innovation, by Tom Kelley, the General Manager for IDEO, the most respect design firm in America.

This book focus’s on how IDEO creates, manages and encourages innovation within the organization.

All of us in someway or the other want to be more creative – be it in selecting our dress, making up our home or as simple as arranging dinner at the table and actually we do put in our thoughts and begin being creative. We take ideas and suggestions from people and try to come up with something better.

While I was reading the book, I wanted to make notes, to ensure that I share with readers of my blog, but now, after completing the book, I dropped the idea, because, you might loose interest in reading the book; however, I will try to memorize and pen down few lines which really make us think. I sincerely recommend anyone who wants to do different in life (either in your job or in your startup).

Business writer Gary Hamel has a prediction “Out there in some garage is an entrepreneur who’s forging a bullet with your company’s name on it. You have got one option now – to shoot first. You’ve got to out-innovate the innovators”. How true?

Each chapter and each page makes you think, and also at times, gives you the thought that silly ideas make a big difference. Among all the chapters, one made a huge difference and changed (am trying to) my thinking – Experience.

What is Experience? You must have definitely been a victim of this many a times. Companies produce products or services and this is no difference, but there are few companies which you really want to remember and there might be few products which you really want to keep using and refuse to change. There is a load of difference between the former and later. Also, there are companies which produce goods and make you come back to use them/provide you the best of experience. Does this give you a thought? This is Experience.

I will give you my live example – I have flown various airlines (at least a couple of them) till date, but there are two airlines which really make me go back to them (even though their price is a bit more than others) – Jet Airways and Singapore Airlines. What makes the difference? The treatment I get, the care they give (pre and post-flight). Coming to other similar experiences, I will have to mention about the grocery store I go every month. I still remember the first time I went, it was just a normal experience, except for the fact that this person casually asked for my name. The next time I went there after about a month, this person welcomes me “Namaste Harigaru” (Salutation in one of the local languages – Telugu) and inquires about how things are going and then proceeds to pack my list. This small gesture makes me go back to him every time even today. I now stay a bit far away from this shop, but still would prefer going to the same place every time – What an impact with just a small gesture. You do not get the same experience in the big chain shops. Yes, everything is organized and you have the liberty to pick what you want, but still, the personal touch is just not there.

All of us would want to create an experience for our clients (family, colleagues, boss, friends etc). This is what makes the real differentiation in lives.

When you create a product/service, think about the DNA of ‘Experience’, that itself makes a mark and creates an impression.

Of all the organizations, how many really care about this? Very few, in fact very few. As I write this, i was trying to recollect when did I have the worst of the experiences – Once, I was in a small temple town in Andhra Pradesh and had to stay overnight. I took a hotel which is the most lousy hotel you can ever imagine. I paid advance and moved into the room. In the morning I noticed that the wash basin does not have an outlet and the water just falls on your feet if you open the tap. I was very disappointed and went and complained. The manager refused to listen and said that it was my problem and it was not his and when i threatened him that i would vacate, he sent his attendant to bring my luggage.

If I start writing all my experiences, then it would make a huge list, but what I intend to illustrate here is the importance of “Creating the Experience”.

You will need to start thinking on just not providing a solution/service, but creating the experience for your customers and this would add loads of values.

When you pen your business plan, have a placeholder for illustrating how you would create Experience and I am sure that would help a lot.

There are many pages which gave me insights into many things – Managing creativity in an organization, office look and feel, freedom to employees etc. which all add to building a great organization. This book does not offer your solutions, but definitely adds to your thought process while you manage your home/work/business.

Believe me, this is worth a read and now, I have become a fan of Tom Kelly for the way the book is structured.





100 IT Innovators 2007

9 12 2007

National Association of Software and Services Companies, NASSCOM has published its “100 IT Innovators 2007” list.





Distributing Equity in Start up – OCC

9 12 2007

Today, we had another Open Coffee Club meeting at Thought Works campus. The theme for this meet is to discuss โ€œDistributing Equity in Startupโ€.

We had a good gathering of 24 enthusiasts coming and it was a good distribution too – 60% first timers and remaining being the old gang including Ramjee, Himanshu, Sidu, Pratik and of course me ๐Ÿ™‚

The discussion started with speaking about the equity distribution in a free-lancing kind of organization.

Ms. Manjula, who owns a startup in training and consultancy shared her experiences in distributing equity in her startup:

  • We share revenues among ourselves.
  • If I am involved in the contract, then I usually go for 70%-30% split.
  • If I am not involved, then the person gets the complete share.
  • They decide they stake at the agreement level itself.
  • We usually make decisions on case-to-case basis.

People spend more than 60% of their time in office, and if you can be happy for that amount of time, then most of life’s motive is accomplished, which is irrespective of the salary and perks you earn is what Jayant Tewari, of Out Sourced CFO thinks. In India, we do not do architectural work and concentrate more on implementation work which reduces technical career path for people and this is where Entrepreneurs come from is what he had to say.

Let the stakeholder pay the employee directly, do not be a middleman and also build trust with employees, this brings results. You can also retain people with your projects for longer time. Startup’s do not put enough thought into ESOP’s. Usually, ESOP is not a good way of employee retainment, but ESOP is for people who are making things work in the organization.

How do you evaluate a one year old organization?

Ans: Look at your business plan, discount the financial projection by 50% straight.

Looking for a “Startup Capital” is being difficult in our scenario, only “Growth Capital” is being available to a large extent.

Sidu spoke about YCombinator, an organization focusing on seed funding for startup’s. YCombinator just helps entrepreneur’s with bare minimum fund for starting up their organization. The fund usually does not go beyond $20,000 with expectation of stake in-between 2%-10% from the startup.

Book Referrals – Here are few books for reference in Entrepreneurship and Innovation – Founders at Work, a compilation of stories of startup days is a fantastic read; The Art of Innovation – by Tom Kelley is an amazing read for understanding how Creativity pays and how you can innovate from the simplest of things in life; 37 Signals is a team which builds simple and focused software which help people collaborate and be organized.

Look forward for another OCC Meet in Bangalore.





Being more Creative

3 12 2007

Just got these points in an email chain and I found them very interesting read. Hope you enjoy too ๐Ÿ™‚

1. Ignore everybody.

2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to change the world.

3. Put the hours in.

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

5. You are responsible for your own experience.

6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

7. Keep your day job.

8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.

9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.

11. Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.

12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.

13. Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.

14. Dying young is overrated.

15. The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.

16. The world is changing.

17. Merit can be bought. Passion can’t.

18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.

19. Sing in your own voice.

20. The choice of media is irrelevant.

21. Selling out is harder than it looks.

22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.

23. Worrying about “Commercial vs. Artistic” is a complete waste of time.

24. Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.

25. You have to find your own schtick.

26. Write from the heart.

27. The best way to get approval is not to need it.

28. Power is never given. Power is taken.

29. Whatever choice you make, The Devil gets his due eventually.

30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.

31. Remain frugal.