By Bhaskar Chakrabarti- Professor, Public Policy & Management Group, IIM Calcutta
Covering a usual breadth of our newsletter, Kapil Mandawewala, in this issue, talks about the way Edible Routes educates and empowers people to grow their own food and lead an ecologically sustainable life. Kapil discusses the urban linkages and provides step-by-step guidance on how to efficiently design, plan, build and manage organic edible landscapes and home gardens. In another article, Pradip Lokhande lucidly talks about his army of ‘village developers’ in the midst of developments in their locality using postcards. Rural Relations is in the business of relationship marketing and has a data of around 49,000 villages and has developed relations with key influencers across these villages.
The newsletter also brings you 5C Network, an organisation which ensures that no hospital or diagnostic centre would ever need to worry about having a radiologist at any time, and can be assured that their patient gets the best report at the fastest possible time from a qualified radiologist. Finally, our Invent Update shows how different companies are working on social issues and its impact on the BoP (Bottom of Pyramid) population, and we bring you the news of IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP)’s association with Rotary Club of Calcutta Renaissance – RI District 3291, which resulted in the INVENT Social Entrepreneurship Awareness Programme on the 11th of June’2017 at Rotary Sadan – Kolkata.
By Pradeep Lokhande, Founder - Rural Relations
Born in a family of extremely modest background in Wai, a small town near Pune, I couldn’t really get the kind of education which I deserved. However, I completed commerce and management studies before spending a year-and-a-half as a sales representative of Johnson &Johnson — my first exposure to marketing. However, soon after attending a lecture by Gurcharan Das on the growing importance of the rural market, I succumbed to the lure of entrepreneurship. But this vocation, I was clear, would have to merge seamlessly with my social responsibilities.
For months on end I poured over information on villages in Maharashtra available in Pune’s Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics. Given their number — 43,000 in all — I decided to focus only on those villages with more than 2,000, but less than 10,000, inhabitants. The ones I chose to focus on (6,700 in all) served as feeder villages. They attracted consumers from nearby hamlets, especially on the weekly bazaar days when established traders did brisk business. The next step was to collect data about each village. I obtained the information with the help of my team. This included details of products used by everyone — from three-year-olds to 80-year-old. I followed this up with visits to the correspondents who were generous with their time and hospitality. That marked the birth of rural relations.
Leading corporate houses started seeking my services to sell their products in a hitherto untapped market. With my innovative marketing techniques — such as providing height charts to schools and posters listing tips on health and hygiene to panchayat offices — and by recruiting young boys and girls from the village itself to reach out to potential customers, I could meet their expectations. The experience further encouraged me to extend my network to eight other states.
My army of ‘village developers’ keeps me abreast of developments in their locality using postcards. The ‘village developers’ are tasked with another job: to identify individuals who are regarded as role models in the village community for their contribution towards its upliftment. They are the authentic agents of change.
Rural relations which is in the business of relationship marketing for the last 20 years and has a data of around 49,000 villages, has built a relation with key influencers across these villages.
I realised early that village youth played a premium role in the development of the society and the most important step towards their education is computer operations and the acquisition of general knowledge. Accordingly, I asked individuals and companies to donate their old computers and installed the same in village schools. Close to 20,000 schools have benefited from this project so far.
As I couldn’t get the education that I deserved, and knowing the importance of the same I started working towards creating platforms where students across various villages in the country can have access to study material. With contributions from well-wishers whom I would like to call as ‘non-resident villagers’, I started rural libraries.
After running a successful project of setting up over 20,000 working condition computers in nine states of India, it’s now Gyan-key that is now taking up my time. I talk on rural India in management colleges, travels abroad, meet VIPs but what excites me the most is my trips to the villages. I have visited 5,800 villages all over India and the list is only growing longer.
Some highlights of Gyan-key library are as follows:
My target is to open local language Gyan-key libraries in 94,000 villages in India. I feel besides the wisdom imparted, it’s the best way to keep the regional languages alive.
By Kapil Mandawewala, Founder - Edible Routes
I had started asking myself questions regarding health and wellness, lifestyle choices, and whether I was indeed passionately interested in what I was doing in my life. In 2008, I relocated to Gujarat and started organic farming over an area of 22-acre farmland (family owned). During the next few years, through the process of my work I realised that we as urban consumers, today, are under the delusion that someone else is responsible for growing our food. We are disconnected to the food we are eating by not knowing who is growing our food, how it’s being grown and, where it’s being grown. I felt that the only way to bridge this gap is by learning to grow our own food even if it begins with just one pot of spinach in our balcony.
Edible Routes was started in 2010 with the aim to help people find ways to grow their own fresh, organic and seasonal food, in whatever space might be available to them.
In my interactions with the urban community of Delhi/NCR I have come to realize that more and more people are looking to be in control of the quality of food they are consuming – Edible Routes provides them with real, and direct solutions to do so – by teaching them how to grow their food themselves, giving a whole new meaning to the Local Food Movement!
Edible Routes provides step-by-step guidance on how to efficiently design, plan, build and manage organic edible landscapes and home gardens, in cities for individuals, corporates, schools and community groups. We educate urban dwellers through workshops on organic urban farming and sustainable living in a practical and hands-on manner. This equips participants with the basic skills required to start growing food themselves, and lead a more ecologically balanced lifestyle. We also collaborate with schools in Delhi and Gurgaon to teach children the joy of growing their own food and providing them with practical solutions to tackle the larger challenges of urban ecological sustainability that their food consumption is nestled in.
Our impact consists of empowering urban dwellers to start growing their own food, and leading an ecologically balanced lifestyle: through workshops on urban farming, composting, waste management, and natural building techniques, etc. 1500+ people have learnt through our workshops till date.Our food garden set-ups/projects, 300+ to date, allow us to directly empower people to grow food themselves – in confined city spaces.
The biggest challenge we are facing is the challenge of having to change the perception of urban dwellers – towards their food, towards the farmers who grow their food, and towards the earth which is most essential to grow their food. The other challenge we are facing is peculiar to the urban scenario – we are often faced with the question of whether urban agriculture/kitchen gardening is a long term economically viable option. However the need of the hour is to realise that the food we grow ourselves is the freshest produce we will ever be able to consume.
Edible Routes offers an integrated set of services to urban gardeners: from garden set-ups and maintenance to workshops; from online resources and newsletters to gardening products; and finally the offer to volunteer on our Permaculture farm that allows people without space for gardening to learn and experience urban agriculture. We also believe in creating tailor-made kitchen gardens; focusing on each individual and their particular space and experience and needs.
We seek to educate and empower people to grow their own food and lead an ecologically sustainable life. We also hope to create rural – urban linkages such that people are able to answer fundamental questions about the produce they are consuming. Finally, we aim to educate and empower the younger generations to lead a life in harmony with their self, people around them and their natural surroundings.
Edible Routes has managed to provide the necessary guidance to implement real, direct and tangible solutions to tackle the often perplexing concerns of the ecological footprint that we – as a world community – are going to leave behind. We have created a platform for like-minded people to impact and influence the wider community – not only through awareness but also through action.
By Kalyan Siva, CEO: 5C Networks
Our team has always been passionate about healthcare technology. Our first opportunity to work in the healthcare domain came up with a project under the Government of Karnataka, to connect Tumkur District hospital ICU (which is a hub for traumatic cases) to a centre in Bangalore which would monitor the cases. This project gave us an on-ground understanding of the problems of the healthcare space in terms of availability of specialists, especially in non-urban areas. Being a team with a strong technical background, we understood clearly the role of technology in solving this problem. We analysed the problem and found that radiology should be the focal point to start with. We grew from strength to strength, working with the Government of Karnataka to setup the statewide eKirana network, which has been called the most impactful telehealth project in the state. Currently we have spread our services to the private sector, having a PAN India presence.
The current process of Radiodiagnosis is sequential, not technologically enabled and is therefore slow, inaccurate and inefficient. There are 4 key problems:
5C Network is a cloud based platform that:
5C Network ensures that no hospital or diagnostic centre would ever need to worry about having a radiologist at any time (24x7x365). They can be assured that their patient gets the best report at the fastest possible time from a qualified radiologist, powered by state-of-the-art technology for the most accurate diagnosis. The centre will have all the data stored (scan) for lifetime which would be easily accessible based on report, symptoms, annotations etc. The referring doctor and the patient will also have on demand cloud access to this data, greatly improving convenience and helping health centres go filmless!
We deliver quality and immediate diagnostic support, helping hospitals get the best advice and plan their patient’s line of treatment faster. We have received feedback & testimonials like: immediate reporting in critical cases, no need for patients to travel a long way and waste time and money for diagnostic testing.
Building a great team and finding the right people who believe in the vision and are willing to give some of the best years of their life to it is always a huge challenge for startups. Some hospitals have also never taken services onto the cloud before and are unsure about it, but we try to help them understand the technology, its superior security features and cost effectiveness.
We are India’s First Diagnostics Network- our approach to solve this problem through all 5 stakeholders – helping them connect and collaborate, is novel.
5C Network aims to be at the forefront of bridging the Healthcare divide.
We are lucky to have IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP) as believers in our vision and our ability to execute. Subhrangshu Sanyal, CEO-IIMCIP and his team are a great source of strength for us.
INVENT Incubatees : 8
Funded still now : 4 incubatees funded & 3 approved for funding
Sector wise Incubatees :
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All these companies are working on some social issue and impacting the BoP (Bottom of Pyramid) population. Further there is some innovation in their programme, either in the product/service, in the process or in their delivery.
In the Education sector our incubatees are providing affordable education through satellite /e-learning to poor children.
In Agriculture Onganic is motivating farmers to adopt organic farming and currently have over 205 farmers in their fold. In Bihar, Green Agrevolution has made a revolutionary progress with a unique business model of providing both capacity building and technology support to farmers and also backward and forward linkage for their inputs and produce. He has successfully impacted more than 500 farmers so far.
5C Network is a tele-radiology company providing a unique platform to hospitals and diagnostic centres connecting them to remotely located radiologists for report generation within a short span of time. They are presently doing 150 scans per day. Arogya Medtech , another incubatee has invented a portable brain scanning machine which can save people’s lives in the golden hour – they are currently working on the product aesthetics, post which clinical trials will be conducted.
A F&B company from North Bengal namely MOMO On Wheels has successfully innovated frozen momos with a life span of 9 months and is working with unemployed women rejected by society. Momos are sold through custom designed vending carts and presently over 55 carts have been deployed all over Bengal impacting lives of over 100 BoP people out of which 90% are women.
Talento Consulting Pvt Ltd. Is a skill development company providing customised solutions in over 17 sectors to Govt. Departments and Corporates. They are enlisted with NSDC and other Government projects. They have impacted more than 15,000 lives so far by way of providing skill development.
IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP) in association with Rotary Club of Calcutta Renaissance – RI District 3291, conducted the INVENT Social Entrepreneurship Awareness Programme on the 11th of June’2017 at Rotary Sadan – Kolkata.
The primary objective of this event was to build awareness on social entrepreneurship, generate interest and inspire the young generation to come up with innovative solutions to social challenges.
The event began with an opening address by Mr. Chirabrata Mazumdar, President- Rotary Club of Calcutta Renaissance. Mr Gaurav Kapoor, Head- INVENT (IIMCIP) presented a talk on social entrepreneurship- what is it and innovative startups in the social entrepreneurship space.
This was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Journey of Social Entrepreneur- its Challenges’. The panelist comprised of F&B company owner, Debayan Biswas from North Bengal speaking on his venture MOMOS on Wheels which has successfully innovated frozen momos with a life span of 9 months and is working with unemployed women rejected by society; Prof Somprakash Bandyopadhyay, Mentor of ‘NexConnect Venture’ a unified digital teaching-learning platform that seeks to provide a quality learning environment to every child/student in both rural and urban areas; and Mr Sandip Datta, Senior representative from ‘IKure’, which has a vision to provide affordable, accessible and quality healthcare using technological intervention.
The audience were highly engaged in the programme and actively participated in the same. The programme was a grand success and acquired positive responses from enthusiastic individuals from various sectors.
Unconvention | Speaker Series Kochi – 29 June, 2017
To register, visit: https://docs.google.com/a/villgro.org/forms/d/1z5D_W2QzzBjcyjuHFYS-j6EHIpprHoumyK6D1kQPf6M/viewform?ts=5908242c&edit_requested=true
Thinking Social Seminar – Patna (22 July 2017)
To register for the event write to firstname.lastname@example.org
INVENT Social Enterprise Hunt at Patna – 21 July 2017
Pitch your Idea for entrepreneurship opportunities in Bihar at the INVENT social enterprise Hunt. To register visit:http://beabihar.com/TATA_and_IIM_Calcutta_presents_P4Bv2_0.aspx#p4b