Saturday, January 26, 2008

Moving to Wordpress

To ease complications in following my writings, I centralized all my blogs - SocietyForward, ScorpioSaga and Harisays... at one place - Harisays... 

Do continue to be my patron and visit my Blog. 

Going forward, if you are providing a link to my writing, do point it to the new blog/my HomePage.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Microfinance is a very popular term and it has become a very lucrative business for many organizations. However, there is a lot of difference between banking institutions having a microfinancing arm and an NGO working towards providing micro loans to people below the poverty line. There have been innumerable discussions on this topic and the whole practice depends on how it is utilized.
On one hand, providing micro-loans to people below the poverty line in groups, provides an opportunity for them to build up their livelihood instead of depending on bank loans (which for various reasons are more tough to get) and on the other side, there have been questions and debates on the interest rates which are being charged.
I am working on a white paper based on my understanding and will publish this soon.
Many major organizations are venturing into this business and e-Bay has recently launched their microfinance arm - MicroPlace. MicroPlace is an organization which has tie-up's with other NGO's who work at the grass root level to provide loans. Users can invest in MicroPlace and then the money is provided to organizations for the kind of investment the user chooses. The user has access to all profiles / organizations which are listed on the site and looking for any kind of investment and decide as to where his/her money goes. The most lucrative aspect of microfinancing is that the repayment rate is close to or more than 98% most of the time.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year Wishes

Opportunity is missed by most people.

Because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.

Do you know what opportunity looks like?

Real opportunity most often looks like a lot of long, hard work.

Do you know where to look for opportunity?

You are most likely to find it in the problems, the frustrations and the challenges about which the most people complain in the most, loudly.

Do you know what to do with opportunity when you find it?

The best thing you can do is to take full responsibility for transforming it into something of real and lasting value.

How do you do that?

With an unshakable commitment, a positive attitude, the willingness to make whatever effort is necessary, and the persistence to continue until is done.

Do you understand what opportunity is not?

It is not a free ride, or a lucky break, or an innovation to get something for nothing.

Do you want to make the most of a great opportunity?

Then get busy and put everything you have, into making it happen, for if you do, it will.

Wishing all my readers the best of the New Year and wishing that you don’t miss any opportunities coming your way

Monday, December 31, 2007

Social Entrepreneur of Year 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 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

Sunday, December 30, 2007

HeadStart & GEW

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 :)

Leave no stone unturned, you might be the next Apple/Google/Microsoft :)

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....

Sunday, December 09, 2007

100 IT Innovators 2007

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WEF Tech Pioneers 2007

Recently, i was going through the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneers 2007 list which has been published. This list is published every year recognizing the most innovative enterprises around the world. The list is very interesting and gives us an overview of the organization selected and the reason as to why the organization is listed. 
I am very happy, impressed and also sad to see only 1 organization from India made it to the list - Drishtee. Now, what does Drishtee do and why are they different? 

Dristee is a rural network for delivering information services to Villages, using an electronic information kiosk, known as Drishtee Soochnalaya. These kiosks are run by local entrepreneurs who charge residents for access. 

Changing lives in rural India is no small Vision and it needs loads of dedication to be able to achieve it. Drishtee is very strong in its Vision and has gone past various milestones in the last Seven Years of inception. 

What Does Drishtee do?
The organization has categorized itself into various aspects, but the punch-line is that it is concentrating in providing self-employment to rural entrepreneurs and also providing opportunity for the rural population to have access to the latest information. 
Drishtee's initiation spreads into Education, HealthCare, Employment Generation, Women Empowerment and Micro-Finance.