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. 

Monday, November 26, 2007


Off-late, "Entrepreneurship" has received a lot of attention. Not that this was non-existent earlier, it is just getting the correct momentum in countries like India

Recently, a young and self-motivated team has stepped up to create a platform for showcasing entrepreneurial ideas and promoting Entrepreneurship - KickStart.In

KickStart is a not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting Entrepreneurship. The team is young, energetic and comprised of Entrepreneurs, Professionals, Academicians and Entrepreneur-wannabe's. 

What does KickStart do?
Interesting question - we search for ways and avenues to show-case entrepreneurship and provide as much support as we can, to help people with Entrepreneurial spirit show-case themselves to the world. 

In this regard, KickStart is organizing HeadStart, a mega event on the 18th, 19th and 20th January 2008 at Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore in association with Association for Computing Machinery, (ACM) a world renowned organization. 

Imagine this - you have a great idea and have been working on it for quite some time. You went around trying to get the best of the feedback before you put in your life time into it. Getting a genuine feedback and commendable recognition is the most difficult part. You have questions on the integrity of people whom you approach and also the knowledge they might have in understanding what you would want to do. You also would like to share your idea with people just incase if anyone would want to fund you in anyway to get your idea rolling. 

All the above are thoughts of a entrepreneur in making and wishing for a miracle to happen. We went through all these in our lives (if not all, most of the team members) and do understand that there needs to be a honest platform which needs to be created. KickStart was born with this thought in mind. With our experiences, we wanted to at least help people around us and want to ensure that you do not go through the same pain again and again, instead work on refining your idea. 

HeadStart is a three day conference where we are inviting Entrepreneurs, Academicians, Industry Leaders, Venture Capitalists and Students. 

During the conference, you will have opportunity to showcase your "working model" and share your idea with people around. 

How do you show-case your "working model"?
The process is easy - Visit our website -, and Nominate Your Product; It's that simple. We have an eminent panel who are ready to share their valuable time to go through your nomination. The panel is the ultimate authority to short list nominations which will be allowed to show case during the event. 

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and be part of HeadStart. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Apply for Incubation

If you are an Entrepreneur, looking for Incubation, The National Entrepreneur Network (NEN) is providing you the flexibility to apply to 6 Incubation Cell's at one go. Visit the Apply for Business Incubation page on NEN website and submit your business plan. 

This should be a good start... Good Luck

List of Incubation Centers in India

Here is a list of Incubation Centers in India. Hope this helps to give you a starting point if you intend to start your own company...

Technology Business Incubator, Birla Institute of Technology, Pilani
Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Kharagpur
Center for Entrepreneurship, SP Jain Institute of Management & Research
TeNeT, IIT Madras
Abhiyan, IIM Lucknow
E-Cell, IIM Kozhikode
TIME IS, Delhi
Science & Technology Entrepreneurs Park, JSS Academy of Technical Education, NOIDA
National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai
Entrepreneurship Development Cell, IIT Roorkee

Over a period of time, I will try to explore more into each of the above institutes and provide more information of their process.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

BCT - Visit Report

On the 19 September, I visited Bhagavatula Charitable Trust, a Not-for-Profit organization who's vision is "To transform 100 villages in 3 mandalas, viz. Yellamanchilli, Atchyutapuram and Rambilli of Visakhapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh into model villages in such a way that all able bodied persons are gainfully employed, that substantive improvements in the state of literacy, health and economic sustenance take place and that local leadership and facilitation is fully developed."

Here are my notes from my discussions with Mr.B.Sri Ram Murty, Joint Secretary of the organization.

Current Organization strength is around 80.
Villages Covered : 40

Activities of BCT:
Women's Empowerment
Skill Training for Disabled

Going forward, the organization will concentrate more towards Education and Livelihood training for Children and Youth.

BCT believes in Programs and not in Projects. What is the difference?
Ramesh (as Mr.Sri Ram Murty is fondly called) says "Projects have a beginning and an end which comes with a report on how the project has started, progressed and closed, submitted to organizations/people who have funded/supported the project. However, Program is more longsighted and typically does not have an ending. We believe in designing programs keeping the grass-root level problems in mind and work towards making changes in the program if necessary as it progresses".

Let me dig a little deep into the current activities and share my observations.

BCT has been into Education since the beginning (infact, the organization started with a School). BCT schools are categorized as follows:
Class 1-5 : 144 Schools
Class 6-7 : 16 Upper Primary Schools
Class 8-10 : 1 Model High School

As per research information, over 45% of Indians are un-employed and over 95% (very high number) of Graduates are un-employable (There is a lot of difference in being employed and being un-employable, I will explain in detail in another post). BCT has identified three main categories in education system and is working towards building the same and implementing in their schools:

A) Academics
B) Vocational Training
C) Values

Academics are important (Social, Science, Mathematics and Language) and taught in all schools and in all classes.

Vocation Training encompasses providing skill based training to children which will add the value of implementing what they have learned through academics. It is not mandatory that what is taught in school should be practical and implementable, but what is practical and implementable should definitely be taught during the school days.
I find this absolutely correct. If we look back, how many of us agree that what we have studied in our school / collage days is what we implement today? I really don't know and I personally am not implementing most of the things. I did my graduation in Economics and Computer Applications during the days when 'Career' is only Engineering/Medicine and both subjects are of use to me today.

Values - The most important aspect of education and bringing up are "Values". In today's world, most of us are just being for ourself - me and my family. But, we are part of the society and we do play an important role in living in the society. Are we any time taught the principals governing "Society". Values are most important aspect of education and this is what BCT is trying to incorporate into their education system.

One basic question I have is that India has attained independence 60 years back and the education system was build over the period of time since then. We are one of the world's largest democracy. Is there any subject in school/collage which educates children on "Democracy"? We can vote after we turn 18, but before that, are there any classes which teach children on what is Voting? How do you select your leader? What are your responsibilities? (I do know this is what we learn in Civics subject, but that is lot more generic and I do remember what I learned). This is where we need thinking and setting direction.

Now, let us look at what BCT has in its syllabus for inducting Vocation Training and Values into their education system.
Academics - Andhra Pradesh State Syllabus is followed
Vocational Training - Orientation in Agriculture (Bio-Intensive Gardening)
Values - Moral / Ethical / National Values

What is Bio-Intensive Gardening (BIG)?
This is interesting, Each student / group of students are given a 100 Sq.Foot area in which they would need to grow vegetables for a family of 5. All the required education, seeds, medication are provided by BCT and the student(s) have to grow vegetable themselves. This teaches students to be self-sufficient as they grow.

BCT also has KVK (Krishi Vidyana Kendra) which concentrates completely on Agricultural Research.

I have also visited their Baking Department where children are taught to bake biscutes and cakes which are sold in the local market.

They have a campus for Disabled Training program which concentrates on training disabled children in paper-bag making, stitching etc.

Please note that all Vocational Training Programs which generate any money will go to the person/child who has earned the same. Each child has bank accounts which are opened by BCT and any monetary benefit will be deposited in the account.

You can see few pictures of the organization at my flickr account.

If you are interested to know more/contribute to any of their programs, please contact:

Bhagavatula Charitable Trust
BCT Farm Complex,
Haripuram - 531 061
Visakhapatnam District
Andhra Pradesh. India
+91.891.255 0084 Phone

Friday, September 28, 2007

Corporates addressing Social Concerns

Reliance Industries now wants to enter into HealthCare working on developing 1500 Primary HealthCare Centers (PHC) in-line with the Government Health System in India.

Reliance would want to Invest Rs.25,000 Crores into this venture. In the article, there is a questions which has been put across whether this would fit into the Corporate responsibility or is there a business angle to it?

I feel that there is corporate touch to each aspect of service anywhere in this world. Probably, the NGO segment does not fall into this, but even NGO's work towards creating a model for self-sustainence and longitivity of the organization. So, will this work?

My opnion is that these kind of initiatives will definitely work, and especially, when corporates this big would want to venture into social problem related areas, there would be a huge impact on people. However, corporates venturing into Social problems need to have a different strategy while working on solutions. Traditionally, corporate thinking is different from a common man's thought process. Here are few pro's and con's of corporate involvement in social aspects:

  1. Initiatives are well marketed - People know about big organization and tend to look at what they are trying to do and play a role in it.
  2. Financial Strength - Organizations have good money and they are ready to take the risk of investing and taking risks.
  3. Management ability - Experienced people have good understanding of basic problems and hence they can manage solutions effectively.

Need Attention
  1. Organizations need to involve well-known and respected personalities who have worked/have been working in solving social problems. Having respective background knowledge would be a huge advantage.
  2. Corporates should not give/create their own direction to solutions of these problems, instead work in association with Government and people who are experienced in the respective fields.
This is a good change in thinking of corporates, I hope this goes in a good and meaningful direction.

Friday, September 07, 2007

HealthCare Personnel in India

The number of registered Doctors in India has increased from 61,800 in 1951 to 6,45,825 in 2005, which translates to 0.61 Doctors for every 1000 people. To give a comparative analysis, Cuba has 5.91 Doctors for every 1000 people in 2002.
India has 5.9 Doctors, 0.8 Nurses and 0.47 Mid-Wives for 1,000 people which add up to 1.86 Health workers for 1,000 people. As per the Joint Learning Initiative launched by Rockefeller Foundation, on an average, countries with less than 2.5 Health Care workers fail to achieve 80% coverage rate. According to Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s (MOFHW) “Health Information India”, 2004, we had 67, 576 Doctors; which translates to 1 Doctor for 15, 980 people.
The Government’s estimated requirement of specialized surgeons, obstetricians, gynecologists, physicians and pediatricians in 2001 for Community Health Centers in rural areas is 12, 172, but only 6, 617 posts were sanctioned and only 4, 124 positions were filled.
  • There are 122 Private Medical Collages and 119 Government Medical Colleges in India.
  • As per CNN-IBN Lives article published on 30 August 2007, there is 1 Doctor for every 2,200 people.
  • According to an Escorts Heart Institute research document prepared in 2005, it is estimated that India would need 1,00,000 qualified nurses and 5,00,000 Doctors by 2012.
  • There are close to 8000 Hospitals in India with a total of 6,00,000 beds, which translates to only 7 beds for every 10,000 population.
  • India spends around 10% of its GDP (amount) towards HealthCare.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Online Grievances in India

Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances which falls under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has initiated the Online Public Grievance Lodging and Monitoring System which you could use to record any of your grievances to the Government.

India is truly developing and these are small steps to reach there. So, next time when you have a concern, try this. You don't know, it might just work.

9 C's of Leadership

Times of India, on 31 August 2007, published an interesting column by Lee Iaccoca. In this article he writes of the 9 C's which he feels will make a leader:
  1. A leader has to be Creative
  2. A leader has to show Curiosity
  3. A leader has to Communicate
  4. A leader has to be a person of Character
  5. A leader must have Courage
  6. To be a leader, you have got to show Conviction
  7. A leader should have Charisma
  8. A leader has to be Competent
  9. You cannot be a leader, if you don't have Common Sense

Sunday, August 26, 2007

PHC's in India

Statistics of PHC's (Primary Health Center) in India:

There is 1 PHC for every 25,000 population
PHC for - Promotive, Preventive, Curative and Rehabilitative Care
This implies offering a wide range of services such as health education, promotion of nutrition, basic sanitation, the provision of mother and child family welfare services, immunization, disease control and appropriate treatment for illness and injury.

Each PHC is a hub for 5-6 Sub-Centers.
Each PHC is covers 3-4 Villages.
Each PHC is coordinated by a ANM (Auxiliary Mid Wife)

PHC's will be referral centers for Community Health Centers (CHC), which is a minimum 30 bedded-hospital or higher at the Taluk or District Levels.

WHO Report
According to WHO, PHC's in India specifically attribute to deterioration of quality services due to parameters like - lack of political commitment, inadequate allocation of financial resources to PHC's and stagnation of inter-sectoral strategies and community participation. Also in the list of reasons are bureaucratic approach to HealthCare implementation, lack of accountability and responsiveness from general public.

Key Points to observe:
1. PHC's through out the country have the same number of ANM's even though the fertility rate varies in different parts of the country.
2. Political interference in creating PHC's.
3. Government departments are more involved in ensuring government norms are implemented, salaries are paid and minimum facilities are available rather than concentrating on measuring Health System Performance.
4. The DHO (District Health Officer), responsible for implementation of Public Health Systems are not adequately trained.

Strengthening the capacity for Public Health Management at the District and Taluk level is crucial to improving public sector performance.

Why the system is not working as required?
1. Lack of accountability in the system.
2. No formal feedback mechanism to ensure proper implementation of the system.
3. No incentives for Doctors to work in the Rural areas.
4. Irresponsible mind-set of ANM's (this happens as there is no feedback mechanism)
5. Lack of resources (staff).
6. Current budget allocation of Rs. 75,000 / PHC / Annum is very less when considering the population each PHC has to cater to (5000 people).

What do we do?
1. Periodic HealthCare Education in Schools, Panchayat/Taluk Offices - NGO, Private Institutions and Social Entrepreneurs.
2. Community involvement - Government / Private Partnership
3. Public Health Training programs for DMO's and other staff - Government / Private Partnership.
4. Appropriate and functioning feedback mechanism to ensure people understand that they are cared for and their feedback is valued for betterment of the system - Government

I will revisit this topic of what we can do better in my forthcoming writings.

Due credits to Neesha Patel, author of Evaluating the role of Primary Health Centers in India.

India HealthCare Project

India HealthCare Project, is an initiative of CMC which designs and develops PDA (Personal Data Assistant) systems to ANM (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife) who works at the grass-root level of delivering HealthCare. This project has been piloted and implemented in the Nalgonda District of Andhra Pradesh.

Read more on this project at

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Independence Day

India, today is celebrating 60 years of independence. Is that old or young? If we look at the average life god has given a human being, then we need to say that the country has just attained Senior Citizenship status. But, as the country is made when mother earth is born, I don't think we can even say our country is even an infant :)

What has been good?
- Liberalization
- Globalization
- Quality of Life

What needs to improve?
- Education
- HealthCare
- Sense of Ownership

I will write more in detail on the points above in my following posts, but for today, I would stop here, praying to God to give peace and prosperity to each and every one living on this planet :)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

7 Types of Poverty

Bhagavatula Charitable Trust (BCT), runs Innovative Experimental Primary Schools (IEP) in 72 Villages in Visakhapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh, India.

What is the difference between IEP and regular Government Schools?
IEP schools, apart from regular academics, work towards education children in the age group 11-15 on the 7 types of Poverty which are required to uplift the quality of life. Our usual assumption of Poverty is only Economic Poverty. However, this is just one of the kinds. We have to even look at the following types to ensure quality of life improved:

1. Economic Poverty
2. Bodily Poverty
3. Mental Poverty
4. Cultural Poverty
5. Spiritual Poverty
6. Political Poverty
7. Societal Poverty

Now, it makes more interesting to understand these aspects. Even though the above are talked about in the BCT Project homepage, I will write again here in my own words and understanding.

Economic Poverty - Lack of monitory demands for providing themselves with Food, Cloth and Shelter. Please note that money need for only the mentioned attributes falls under this category.

Bodily Poverty - Lack of property physical health and access to health living conditions.

Mental Poverty - Lack of thinking, which is resultant of lack of access to education and knowledge.

Cultural Poverty - Lack of coming together in a society. No collaborative activities taking place which leads to disconnect between people.

Spiritual Poverty - surprising right? Yes, lack of feeling of togetherness/brotherhood plays an important role in bringing people together.

Political Poverty - Lack of understanding of how system works. The basic problem is the understanding of how to cast one's vote and elect their leader.

Societal Poverty - Lack of social connectivity.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dazasya is Born

I wrote about "Web NGO" earlier. After thinking through various thoughts which came across my mind I identified three areas which need collaborated work - Society, Technology, Entrepreneurship.

Read more about Dazasya at its official blog.

This blog will continue to focus on Social Entrepreneurship.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Evening with Subrato Bagchi

Have been to the "An Evening with Subrato Bagchi" organized by TiE. It was really a good evening which gave an insight to being an High Performace Entrepreneur.

The evening started with a 30 minute video which Mr. Subrato made interviewing his top 3 High Performance Entrepreneurs. Mr. Subrato strongly feels that being an Entrepreneur is different and being a High Performance Entrepreneur is different. His top 3 High Performance Entrepreneur's are not from the usual Technology start-up's, but from different sectors:

Mrs. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Biocon
Mr. Sidharth - Cafe Coffee Day
Capt. Gopinath - AirDeccan

The video is absolutely fantastic. I liked the the way Mr. Subrato started the evening. The video's were truly inspiring and it was a very good way to start a gathering who are aspiring to be Entrepreneurs.

I tried making notes of key points during the video sessions:

Mr. Sidharth - Cafe Coffee Day
  • Was an average student in class.
  • Comes from modest family who runs coffee estates.
  • Completed college and started working. He was hard-working and was working an average of 16-17 Hours/Day, 6 Days a week (many times even 7 Days a week).
  • "I knew the estate in & out".
  • His passion of creating capital became smart investment.
  • Today, he manages 10,000 acers of coffee estates.
  • One day, while in Singapore, he was walking down a lane and noticed students browsing Internet with a Beer can. This was where he thought of starting something similar back in India. As he owned Coffee estates, his idea was to start coffee shop with Internet and good ambiance so that people can spend time and doing what they like. This is how Coffee Day was born.
  • First Coffee Day was born in Bangalore on Brigade Road in 1996.
  • In 10 years, today, they have close to 500 Cafe Coffee Day outlets in around 70 cities in India.
  • When he was beginning his business, people around him did not give a good push. "Who would drink your coffee in a posh store paying more when they could get same coffee at Rs.2 in any coffee joint?". But, he saw a lot of potential in the India consumer and went ahead with his business model.
  • Over a period of time, there were many competitors and Sidharth felt that they were running out of track. Immediately plunged into action and got Cafe Coffee Day back to track. Today, they have many competitors, but still they maintain key differentiators to ensure they are on track. One of their strategy was to open more and more outlets so that it gets synonymous with coffee and they have been successful. Their competitors are not nearing they fast pace.
  • In the next 3 years, their vision is to "Be the largest Coffee Company in India".
  • In the next 10 years, they want to be a Billion Dollar Coffee Company.
  • In the next 2 years, they want to be a 1,500 Coffee Day outlet chain.
  • His key to success - "Don't Celebrate success, be calm during downs and THINK BIG.
Take away - During the 10 minute video with Sidharth, I could see his passion in his eyes and modesty in his talk. He has his vision clear and he loves to make capital. As Surato mentions in his book - "If you don't Love Money, Don't start a business", this is one great example of making it big with the love for passion and making capital. Good Luck Sidharth, I am sure you have made all of us proud and you will continue the same.

Capt. Gopinath - Deccan Aviation

For a middle-class, school teacher's son, life has been quite different and taken different path's. Capt. Gopinath completed education and joined the India Armed Forces. After his retirement, came back to his village to do something different. They had few acres of land in which he started Organic farming. He has received an award from Central Government for "Ecological Farming".

Capt. Gopinath was not too happy with his farming as he wanted to come out of the debt-trap. In India, most of the farmers are caught in the debt-trap for one reason or the other and this continued to even generations. He was clear that he wanted to come out of this cycle and create something big and different. He has spent most of his time in villages and he did see a lot of change in the livelihood of villagers. Until recently, villages did not see light of a bulb and even today, there are areas in the country where electricity is still a stranger. Over a period of time, he noticed changes. When one day he was flying in a helicopter, he say TV antenna's standing out of huts. Today, when you pass by a village, you will might see at least one/two cars and few motorcycles, however, most of the households have a TV. This made him think.

"Villages have become aspirational and people were wanting more."

One day, when his friend from Army called to tell him that he has got a job after moving out of Armed Forces, which was very different from what he was doing earlier. Capt. Gopinath was happy that his friend could get a job, but was not too happy as he felt that someone was missing a great pilot (His friend was a pilot).

Once, he was in Phoenix airport and was walking along the airport waiting for his pick up helicopter. What he noticed were the number of take-off's and landing which were happening. He felt that Phoenix airport handles more airplanes in a day than all of Indian airports put together at that time. He saw a potential dream - "BILLION INDIANS CAN FLY". This is what no major corporation saw.

Deccan Aviation, was born as a Helicopter Service. Today, they have 14 helicopters which they rent out for various business and are the largest helicopter company in the country.

He wanted to take Deccan Aviation to the next level and Air Deccan was born. His only dream is that "Billion Indians can fly".

When starting Air Deccan, Capt. Gopinath says, that the best thing he did was not to hire a consultant. Because, he feels that if you hire a consultant, you are bound to do what they want and not what you want.
Another key thing which he points to entrepreneurs are the politicians and the way they try to handle you when you are on your way to go big. Simple mantra for this is - "Sell you idea and have the media and Public behind you and the politicians do not come in your way". Quite simple, but this is an absolute reality and fact. So next time you have a big idea, win the confidence of media and public and you are on your way to success.

Message to Entrepreneurs - "Find a way to do, if you cant, CREATE IT".

Mrs. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - Biocon

Since the beginning Mrs. Kiran wanted to be independent and wanted to make a Professional Career. She studied in India and went to Australia to do her masters in Brewery. When she came back, she could not get a job anywhere. All prospective employers were politely saying no to a women brew-master. She either got a job in Quality Control or other administrative divisions except where she specialises in.
One day, she received a call from Biocon Chemicals Limited, an Irish company who were looking at potential partners to step into India. Kiran was suprised, but wanted to take up the challenge.
In 1978, Biocon started its operations with partnership with Biocon Chemicals (this is how Biocon got its name from its parent company).
The venture began in her garage and then slowly moved to a small place in an industrial area in Bangalore. The company grew strong and steady. After 23 years, Biocon became a Listed company in 2001 on the 18 June.

Mrs. Kiran says "Entrepreneurship is having a Vision and Building the Vision". There is nothing more or less to it. You will have to consistently work towards building your vision and that is what makes you deliver.

Her inspiration - INDIA. She feels that doing these things (what her company does) in India is her true inspiration.

Her Mantra - "Harder I work, Luckier I get" - In my view, this is the absolute key to success and I strongly believe in this.

No wonder why Subrato short-listed the three above as "High Performance Entrepreneurs", they really are.

Mr. Subrato and his Team

After the video, Surato started with his slides. His slides come as key points from his book - The High Performance Entrepreneur.

Here are few key take-aways from his slides:

  • Of all entrepreneurial activities, less than 5% are likely to be High Performance Enterprises.
  • High Performance Enterprise is not an Accident, it comes with dedication, hard work and paying attention to building your Vision.
  • You will not get pushed into greatness, but you need to be pulled.
  • "Love Money" - then only you can build your dream.
  • During the 1st year of inception, organisations fail because of familiarity between the co-founders.
What are the key ingredients of an organization?

DNA - Who you are?
Mission - Where you are going?
Vision - Set of time-bound and measurable goals.
Values - Shared code of Conduct.

Key differentiations which MindTree has identified before they started - Domain, Tools, Methodology, Quality, Innovation and Branding.

Subrato feels that for any entrepreneurial activity, there will be key differentiators and these differentiators are like horses pulling the chariot. All of them have to move in the same direction, with the same speed and focus.

Message to Entrepreneurs - "Human being is looking for Danger and that is why you have taken this path. To overcome the danger, you will need to work towards having the ropes tight.

Entrepreneurship is like a marathon. In long distant running, you will need to accept and bare segmented pain.

Now, why did I write this here in my Social Entrepreneurship blog, because Entrepreneurship is Entrepreneurship, be it for a social cause or be it for any other motive. Entrepreneurship is realising your dreams and making them come true.

"Love for Money" - Yes, it is required in any kind of Entrepreneurship. As one of the MindTree Co-founders and CFO Rusto mentioned, you will need money to run your enterprise and also ensure it keeps running, realising your dreams.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


BarCamp Bangalore 4 is happening on the 28/29 July 2007. During this event, the Bangalore Bloggers community is organizing a collective to work towards a common goal. I would be there along with other bloggers to speak on starting a Web NGO. I will post more information and working model after the event (trying not to be a spoil-sport ;) ). Please do be there or keep following this blog to get more updates and information regarding this project.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Conversations - Part 1

Recently, I was having discussion with Dr B.V.Parameswara Rao, founder of Bhagavatula Charitable Trust. We were discussing on Social Entrepreneurship and tried to address two areas - Micro Financing, involvement of Technology in Rural Development.

Dr. Rao feels that this has changed the life of a farmer. This is just not helping him to come out of his miseries, however adding to them. Why? Micro-Financing is providing loans to the poor to help enable them to spend more. What is happening here is, instead of providing avenues for the farmer to add more money to his savings, we are drastically increasing his financial burden. Until recently, if he earns Rs. 10 / Day, his expenses were nearly Rs. 8 and at least on an average, he would save Rs. 2. But, with micro-financing coming in, now he need not run behind banks for a loan. Loans from these institutions come a bit conveniently and add up to his burden. As his loans are increasing, his savings are coming down (Micro-financing institutions also have their eligibility criteria which take care of over-burdening too)

Moving away from Farming
Today, there are many farmers who are selling their land and moving to towns nearby for more money. If on an average, a farmer earns Rs. 40 per day from the crop he has brought up, today, he is working as a daily wage laborer for around Rs. 60. He is looking at the Rs. 20 which he earns more than his usual earning which comes only after he sells the crop, but he is not looking at what he is loosing. If this continues to grow, then one day we will definitely be short of food grains to eat and this would impact one and all.

So, what can be done different to help?
We would need to educate and help rural citizens to realize what they can do and provide a helping hand for the work they would do. We need to tune them to help themselves instead of showing them the colours of easy money. This would have a deep impact on them as an individual and also help strengthen the economy.

Government should only do Governance!
An interesting and very simple thought. We have Government to streamline various activities and provide support to public needs. However, today, Government is getting into various activities and diluting the main cause of its existence. If the Government can concentrate on streamlining funds, providing support to its public by strategic investments, it would help benefit the society.

When China decided to concentrate on providing education for all, it had a very good foresight. During that time, they ensured that every citizen of their country is educated which would over a period of time ensure 100% employment which would strengthen their economy.

Today, in India we have a good education system in place - Right from the Government Primary Education centers to pursuing high degrees. However, there are challenges which are obstructing the quality of education. As an example, today, for 4 teachers appointed in schools at the Primary Education Centers, only 2 are available.

Spend Time in Villages
Today, we have quite-a-few people who live in towns/cities who are showing interest in contributing to provide support to the rural poor. The best way to solve or address rural problems is to understand the actual life of people in villages. We need to spend time with them in person to understand the problem and provide required support.

Note: Thoughts and views mentioned above are purely of my choice. There is no correlation to any activities which happen today or any organizations which participate in any of the above mentioned activities.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Entrepreneurship Mentoring from TiE

TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), Bangalore Chapter is offering mentorship programs for budding Entrepreneurs. However, this mentoring program is only for TiE Members. Please visit to know how to become a member and there after how to enroll for their Mentorship Program.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

NEN activities for Entrepreneurs

Business in Development Challenge 2007

India Development Gateway (IDG), an IntelliCap initiative is organizing "Business in Development Challenege 2007" which provides entrepreneurs to submit their business plan and recieve feedback for the same. Also, if your's is the choosen plan, then you recieve cash prize too.

Global Growth Entrepreneurship Program

India School of Business is organizing the Global Growth Entrepreneurship Program for Entrepreneurs and Managers at SME's.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dastkar Andhra Exibition in Bangalore

The cotton and handloom industry is considered as a huge potential as 'cottage industry' in India. This industry provides self-employment to over 70 lakhs people across the country. Government of India has taken appropriate measures to ensure that this industry is given due importance and this resulted in a massive increase of production of handloom fabrics. In the early 1950's the produce was around 500 Million Sq. Meters, and during 2000-2001, recorded more than 7600 Million Sq. Meters. This industry contributes to more than 20% of total cloth produced in the country.

This industry has its own set of concerns and the powerloom sector gives a very tough competition. There are non-profit organizations which are working towards providing a helping hand to such small scale home / cottage industries to reach out to the world.

Dastakar Andhra is a not-for-profit organization which works within Andhra Pradesh to promote the interests of the producer communities within the cotton handloom weaving industry.

Dastakar Andha is having an exibition of equisite handloom fabrics, dupattas and sarees including natural dyed fabrics in Bangalore.
Venue: The Lady Jehangir Kothari Memorial Hall, 15 Quees Road, Bangalore - 01.
Dates: 1 June - 4 June 2007.
Time: 10:30 AM - 8:00 PM.

If you are in Bangalore, do take some time to visit...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Entrepreneurship Learning

I came across the web site of Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI), Ahmadabad. This institute offers courses for aspiring entrepreneur's. Do any courses or books give you the edge to become an Entrepreneur? Probably not, but we definitely need understanding of various aspects of how to run an organization. This is what we need to look for. I am planning to enroll for the Diploma in Business Entrepreneurship. The course fee is only Rs.5000 (in case you are a Technology graduate, they give you Rs.2,500 instant waiver in fees).
I am really impressed with the kind of support various educational and government organizations are providing us to learn more and inspire to take the country forward. I think it is moral responsibility for each of us to ensure we utilize these courses/seminars/workshops to think forward.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Social Entrepreneurship - The case for Definition

Recently, I came across Stanford Social Innovation Review web site and I got to read they article on Social Entrepreneurship - The case for Definition which really interested me. I will not take this note towards explaining the site or the article, but will pen down my initial impression when I read this article by Roger L Martin & Sally Osberg.

It is really a case for definition. The article begins with a little introduction to Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, but actually concentrates in defining what "Social Entrepreneurship" is all about. If you think that you are going to get introduced to organizations like Ashoka etc, then you might be disappointed. The authors take you to a journey into defining Entrepreneurship and why is it passonating to "be there, and do that".

It is worth if you personally read it than me trying to write in my own words.

I highly recommed each one to read this article. It is really worth it....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Rural BPO

I was reading about this organization in the recent issue of Business Today (India's Most Wired, 22 April, 2007) and have been quite impressed with the young lady's initiative.

Ms.Saloni malhotra, a 25 year old graduate from Bharateeya Vidyapeeth, Pune is inspired by Dr.Ashok Jhunjhunwala's speeches. Her mission is to "turn rural internet centers into BPO's".

DesiCrew.In, based in Chennai, acts as a mediator between the client and the far end BPO. The internet center in a Rural area acts as a BPO. The work is channalised to the Rural BPO through DesiCrew. The BPO is not more than a 3 computer center with Internet and Network. The employed are people living in the area with minimum education/knowledge in English/language which is required to get the work done (Its not that simple, DesiCrew has a rigourous selection criteria) . Kinds of work includes - Data entry, Digitisation of records for Government, proof reading of books and little of CAD work. These BPO's have delivered work for around 20 clients till date (this is just few months old organisation). Work pricing ranges from Rs.20,000 (~$480) to Rs.3,00,000 (~$7,186) and this in return earns around Rs.8,000 ($192) to Rs.12,000 ($287) per month which is quite impressive to begin with. Current strength of the organization is around 60 and Ms.Saloni anticipates that this would grow to around 200 people this year.

This is a very small beginning and DesiCrew wants to build the world's best network of service providers.

Visit the website and it has upto the point information available. The site is very simple, yet elegent. Now, this is what I call SocialEntrepreneurship.

Excellent job...

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Silence for a long time...

I have recently changed role in my company. Now, I manage consulting teams (out from Testing after 6 Years) and have been busy since then. I thought this move made sense as I would have the option of seeing how other parts of the Project Lifecycle work. As this is a new team which we are forming as part of the India Operations, it has been challenging for me too, which is very very interesting. This is not a reason for me to be silent, but yes, this is one of the key reasons for my silence.

Bangalore BarCamp3
BCB3 is happening today and tomorrow at IIM,Bangalore campus. Even though I signed up to be a volunteer in organizing this camp (the topic is very close to my heart and this is what i am interested in doing), I could not participate as I am currently travelling. Here I am in sitting in a Hotel room in London, been sick for last week due to bad weather :(
However, my friends in BCB3 are online and been blogging continiously giving virtual people like us access to what is happening there live!
Check out

My latest Reading
Interesting book which I picked up at Bangalore airport just before i flew out - CHINDIA, How China and India are Revolutionizing Global Business. Could not get through the complete book yet, but it is giving a glimpse of the differences between the two countries and how the world is looking at them. Will post more information once I get through it...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bangalore BarCamp 3.0

It's long time since I penned. Beginning of the year, I took a vow that I will write once a week (at least once in two weeks). But, since then, my weekends have been taking me away for various things...Life is going on...

Coming to the point, we are having Bangalore BarCamp 3.0 on the 31 March and 1 April. Theam this time is going to be around SocialTech, my area of interest and life. Unfortunately, I will be travelling during those dates and will not be able to make it for the un-conference.

I am sure I can keep myself posted with live blogging.....

Sunday, January 28, 2007


The Yeshaswini Health Insurance Scheme (YHIS) is a unique initiative by Government of Karnataka, India. Under this scheme, HealthCare services are provided to farmers at an Insurance premium of Rs.10 per month.

This article in HealthCare Management outlines the program -

The following paper provides in-depth information on the same -