Celebrating the Land of Opportunities
By helping participants explore opportunities in our society’s biggest challenges, E Week India aims to trigger a thousand world-changing ideas
Opportunity: Anaemia is the single largest cause of maternal mortality in India. 1 million deaths a year are directly caused by anaemia around the world.
Solution: Darshan Nayak’s Biohsense produces a portable and affordable easy-to-use device for point-of-care screening and monitoring of anaemia for rural India.
Impact: 3,000 women to be screened for anaemia in primary healthcare centres in Parol and Bhatane in Maharashtra for a pilot study.
Opportunity: India is 35% energy deficient
Solution: Using cotton stock for biomass energy generation. Siddhartha Srivastava’s startup VisViva is organizing a robust form of collection of cotton stock from farmers, to enable renewable energy generation for furnaces. Two briquette units have been set up on a revenue sharing basis with farmers to produce eco-friendly fuel.
Impact: A supplement to coal, the biomass energy generated by each unit is equivalent to lighting up ten villages. In addition, 4000 farmers in 50 villages in Maharashtra have benefited with a 15% increase in revenue through sale of cotton stock.
Opportunity: Tough competition to get into the country’s best professional institutes. 12,00,000 applications for 4,000 seats in IITs, 5,50,000 seats for 350 seats in IAS. Almost 80% of these applicants are from Tier II and III cities that don’t have good training facilities to face this competition.
Solution: VMukti, founded by Hardik Sanghvi, has tied up with three leading preparatory schools to provide tele-education through an online video communication platform to students in Tier II and III cities
Impact: In one month, 1,000 students have enrolled in 5 Tier II cities. Reach to increase to 50 Tier II and III cities by March-end.
Three young startups make a difference in the lives of 8,000 people. Imagine the impact if there are thousands of such startups transforming India’s challenges into opportunities?
E Week India 2010 Theme: India – Opportunities Within
By exposing young people to not only the challenges but also sharing examples of existing solutions, Entrepreneurship Week India 2010 aims to trigger thousands of world-changing ideas to tackle the big problems the country faces today. Running for the fourth year, lakhs of students across the country will come together to take part in the week-long awareness campaign, from February 6 to 13, to focus public attention on opportunities in today's India.
Last year, E Week witnessed participation from over 360 institutes and 400,000 students across 30 cities in India. 18 entrepreneurial organizations partnered for E Week India 2009, including Indian Angel Network, TiE, Proto.in, Open Coffee Club, New Ventures India and DARE.
Today, India faces daunting challenges across many sectors: water, health care, waste management, energy, education. And as the pressure mounts, and the cost of technology drops, these challenges are beginning to provide enormous economic opportunities to those who solve them.
Of the growing number of new and future entrepreneurs in India, how many are targeting these opportunities? Not many, and certainly not enough, feels Laura Parkin, Executive Director, NEN. Scanning the almost 600 nominees for the 2008 Tata NEN Hottest Startup Awards, the largest competition of its kind, with a national reach, one finds almost 200 IT service and internet companies – but 3 startups in the clean energy space, and only 2 in waste management.
Why? Laura believes it is a combination of various limiting factors, the most important being the information gap, where while the overarching problems are obvious, the opportunities within the challenges remain unclear, and therefore appear inaccessible. In addition, there is limited perceived glamour in these opportunities, and not many well-known stories and heroes.
New Entrepreneurs: Upbeat and Hopeful
According to Darshan, the climate is apt for new entrepreneurs to seek solutions whose impact is wide-spread. “Unlike in the past, I am seeing a lot of support from policy makers, who are ready to take risks and invest in new ideas. This is an opportunity that entrepreneurs should capitalize on,” says Darshan. He himself capitalized on such an opportunity, and won a grant from Department of Science and Technology’s Technopreneur Promotion Program.
Agrees Hardik of VMukti. “With technology maturing, and demand being so high, we have realized there is immense scope for growth in India, especially when it is focused on solving some critical and wide-spread challenges. Even the response and readiness we are seeing from prospective customers for our tele-education solutions have taken us by surprise,” admits Hardik.
E Week India 2010 aims to be a celebration of these opportunities, and inspire new and future entrepreneurs in solving India’s biggest challenges. If you would like to join this movement, visit the Get Involved page on this website.