India’s Most Promising Early Stage Social Ventures


Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2015-16, a joint initiative of the Tata Group and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC), celebrated India’s most promising early-stage social enterprises, which could bring about long-term solutions to India’s social problems.

Tata Social Enterprise Challenge (TSEC) is a quest to find India’s most promising early-stage social enterprises. The endeavor of the challenge is to create an ecosystem for social entrepreneurship and encourage sustainable, scalable and measurable social impact. This year’s edition received 600+ registrations from across India, out of which 210 met all the eligibility criteria and moved to the next round of the competition. These impact proposals were in the area of agriculture, food and dairy; healthcare, water and sanitation; technology and development; education & skills development; housing; handicrafts; and energy and micro finance/financial inclusion. The ventures were judged on three parameters – Business Model, Social Impact and Sustainability.

The grand finale of the fourth edition of the programme held on January 16, 2016, at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM-C), saw HelpUsGreen® from Kanpur (Winner), Jeevtronics from Pune (1st Runner-up), and Hasiru Dala Innovations from Bengaluru and Disease Diagnose Group from Boston, USA (Joint winners of the 2nd Runner-up position), emerge as the most promising social ventures.

Ankit Agarwal, the winner of the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2015-16 has started HelpUsGreen®. A Kanpur based social enterprise, HelpUsGreen® preserves the rivers by flowercycling® the waste from the places of worship into bio-fertilizers and lifestyle products like incense and bathing soaps, among others, and in doing so also empowers women self-help groups (currently the venture is managing five women self-help groups with sixteen members each).

t1Jeevtronics, a Pune based venture, was declared as the 1st Runner-up. Jeevtronics is dedicated to designing and implementing affordable medical devices for underdeveloped and rural areas. It has patented a hand-cranked defibrillator – a life-saving device for heart patients – which has a built-in power generator that enables it to work in off-grid rural areas, mini ambulances and disaster relief camps, among others. The hand-crank generator requires 12 seconds to charge and comes at one-fourth the cost of competition.

The 2nd Runner-up position saw a tie between two ventures, Hasiru Dala Innovations from Bengaluru and the student-led venture, Disease Diagnose Group from Boston, USA.

t2Hasiru Dala Innovations is committed to creating predictable livelihoods for waste pickers through providing total waste management, urban gardening services and products for sustainable living. The model is designed to enable a circular economy that enhances the lives, be it a waste picker or a resident, it touches. The venture is supporting waste pickers to collect from 10,000 households in the city. It has also, in collaboration with partners, created a unique certification course called Enhancing Skills of Small Entrepreneurs in the Recycling Industry.

The joint 2nd Runner-Up venture, Disease Diagnose Group (DDG) has developed a
hand-held malaria detector called Rapid Assessment of Malaria (RAM). Out of every 1000 malaria infections, only 500 fevers are identified, 250 tests are performed and only 125 diagnoses are accurate. This device, called RAM for short, detects a magnetic substance that malaria parasites release when digesting red blood cells thus providing a faster and more accurate diagnostic test than those used currently, and at a much lower cost. The device is reusable, mechanical, fast and sensitive, and the technology is clinically approved.

t3The ceremony saw talks by inspiring leaders in the space of social entrepreneurship like Dr. N.V. Prajna, Chief of Medical Education at Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai; Mr. Vinayak Lohani, Founder of the NGO Parivaar; Mr. Manoj Kumar Nambiar, Managing Director of Arohan Financial Services; and Dr. Mammen Chandy, Director, Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata, among others.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Ashok Banerjee, Director, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, said, “Social entrepreneurship is all about innovative solutions to social problems. At IIMC, we want to take this as a challenge and as a movement. Going forward, we want to continue on this journey and contribute towards bringing about change through enabling social enterprises in India.”

Felicitating the winners, Dr. Mammen Chandy, Director, Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, said, “Today students of management should seek to find fulfillment in social entrepreneurship rather than only seeking personal material gain. The lives of people like Ida Scudder show how Social Enterprise can transform and change the lives of millions of people.”

Six other ventures made it to the Top 10. They are Aadhan Infra (New Delhi), Cattle Mettle (Jodhpur), Dazl-My Kavach Wearable Technology (Gurgaon, Haryana), Dhvani (Mumbai), Distinct Horizon (New Delhi) and Oniondev Tech (New Delhi).