In this edition, we are privileged to share the work of Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation, a young organization founded by Samina Bano that has been serving as a strong platform in the crusade for inclusion in education in Uttar Pradesh. With a growing impact investment sector, how does one identify the right investor? Priyanshu Gupta, a doctoral student at IIM Calcutta, draws upon his experience in the impact investment sector to highlight some key criteria that can aid this decision. With the application deadline for Round 2 of the Teach for India Fellowship coming up on the 27th of October, Sharmili Phulgirkar – a current Teach for India Fellow – shares her journey transitioning from a successful corporate career to teaching Algebra, Science, and English to 9th Standard school children in Mumbai. Meanwhile, campus has been abuzz with the official launch of Tata Social Enterprise Challenge activities in August and a football match between our students and NGO Durbar’s talented football team. Read on for what we’ve been working on, and what’s in store.
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By Samina Bano, Chairperson Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation
India’s schooling system has gradually segregated into two segments – ‘state-run schools’ for the poor and range of private schools for the rich. This ghettoization in access to education in India by ability to pay has seen a sharp surge since the 1970s when private schooling space opened up for middle as well as lower income families. As private sector in schooling space is growing fast while already catering to 53% students in Uttar Pradesh and performing slightly better than state-run schools, the role of private sector in facilitating universal access to education cannot be ruled out.
RTE Section 12 that imposes a legal obligation upon private unaided schools to reserve 25% seats in class 1 or pre-primary for children from economically weaker section and disadvantaged groups till class 8 presents a revolutionary opportunity to fix the genuine concern of the socio-economic stratification that privatization brings along. Research also suggests that an inclusive classroom improves the quality of learning for all while fostering an empathetic as well as forbearing environment for the next generation.
Why we became RTE crusader in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state of the country accounting for almost 20% of the country’s population. It has the potential to impact 50 lakh children from socio-economic weaker section in the next eight years by implementing RTE Cause 12. However, the report card of UP till 2014-15 looked extremely dismal with only 108 admissions in the last four years.
This poor performance was largely attributed to a large elite private school lobby that had captured the policy space in education and had been successful in introducing and guarding a policy rider obstructing rights of 6 Lakh poor children every year. The political and financial might of City Montessori School – the so called largest school chain in the world didn’t allow anyone to break through the illegal barrier they had created in the path of Right to Education to millions of children.
Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation (BAF) led by Samina Bano, an IIM Bangalore graduate, played a significant role in bringing this fact to the public and media while advocating for policy reform to unleash its full potential. BAF faced extreme resistance from this lobby but its incessant efforts of two years finally made the government of UP come around primarily supported by the honorable Chief Minister of the state. BAF not only brought about policy amendments but also an 80 times improvement in RTE admissions to a figure of 4,200 in the year 2015 across 26 districts.
Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation (BAF) has worked at three levels to make this happen –
1) Rigorous advocacy for policy reform
2) Technical support to the government on system design as well as capacity building
3) Ground implementation with end-to-end support to the EWS families.
BAF held dialogues with state leadership as well as bureaucracy at all levels to bring them on one plane for creating conducive environment to open implementation space for RTE Section 12. As a result a new government notification was issued on Jan 06, 2015 to actively implement RTE Section 12 in the academic session 2015-16 and onwards. It was a new beginning and there was capacity deficit within government. BAF identified potential technical gaps and worked to bridge these gaps by developing process design, helping capacity building and providing legal support. When it came to implementation, the responsibility lied with the government and private schools to reach out to the target beneficiaries. However, government had limited capacity and private schools had little intentions. Hence BAF had to step in. BAF team ran innovative awareness campaigns at different areas, communities and slums using multiple channels including pamphlets, radio jingle, missed call helpline number 08030636036 and nukkadnataks. Our volunteers reached out to entitled parents and helped them with all required documentation and coordinated with the DEO office for school allocation as well as ensuring admissions at the allocated schools.
This is the first time in the country that any organization is working in close coordination with government as well as private stakeholders in achieving effective implementation of 25% reservation scheme in private schools in a state. BAF and government formed a team and faced fierce resistance from private school lobby who took legal recourse but were jointly defeated.
City Montessori School (CMS) first moved High Court’s single as well as double bench and then the Supreme Court challenging admission order of 31 EWS children in their schools. BAF worked closely with the govt. counsels in this case which instantly turned high profile with the involvement of national figures like Mr. Shanti Bhushan and Mr. MN Rao, ex-Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh representing CMS. While on the other hand we brought another National figure Adv. Ashok Agarwal on board helping the aggrieved parents. CMS was not only defeated in every court but also took a big blow by bringing their well-guarded policy rider to the notice of judiciary that rendered it illegitimate and directed government to amend it. This is the biggest win for BAF and people.
Now, an RTE implementation system has been setup after rigorous process design and capacity building exercises with the government bodies.BAF now targets to achieve 1,00,000 admissions by 2017 by working closely with the state government in system design, preparing future roadmaps, setting up RTE committee, training administration, technology enabled scaling, building robust grievance redressal mechanism and facilitating social integration in classrooms.
Media Coverage (Few key links)
Tata Social Enterprise Challenge (TSEC) – a joint initiative of the Tata Group and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) held the second edition of the student seminars, ‘Thinking Social’, at IIT Guwahati on 29 August 2015.
The day-long seminar had about 90 participants and it sought to introduce students to the concept of social entrepreneurship and inspire them to start their own venture that solves some of the challenges faced by society. The speakers for the day comprised eminent individuals, who have established their own outstanding ventures in the Indian social entrepreneurship space.
Mr Subhrangshu Sanyal, CEO IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, welcomed the participants for this event and explained the objective of the seminar on “Thinking Social.” Mr Biswanath Sinha, Associate Director of Tata Trusts addressed the audience by presenting the core values of the TATA group. He gave an overview of the activities conducted by TATA trusts to support social enterprises that benefit the community and the country. Concluding his speech he said “I hope many young entrepreneurs will emerge from this region and make changes which are beneficial to the society.”
Prof. Ashok Banerjee, Director IIM Calcutta Innovation Park explained the concept of Social Entrepreneurship to the audience and presented the “shared value” concept in this regard. He stressed that in order for a social enterprise to be sustainable it must be self supported, it should have a revenue model and must make profit. He emphasized that “You should create wealth and distribute it and in the process solve some social problems.”
Dr Nomal Chandra Borah, Founder, GNRC Hospitals shared his exciting journey as a social entrepreneur and how he created his enterprise out of nothing. He told the young students that “Money is no barrier to an entrepreneur” and one should be innovative and should be able to identify opportunities out of challenges.
Pranjal Baurah, founder of Mushroom Development Foundation projected a practitioner’s view point on the concept of social entrepreneurship. He commented that a successful social entrepreneur focuses on human aspects, environment and profit. He emphasized the importance of agriculture in the society and said that social enterprises should come up to enhance productivity of farming and improve the livelihood of the farmers.
Anirban Gupta, Co-founder of Tambul Plates Marketing Pvt. Ltd. explained the concept of Social Entrepreneurship – “Doing well by doing good” and stressed on the fact that doing well is equally important as doing good. He said that while setting up a social enterprise sustainability is a key factor.
Deep Jyoti Sonu Brahma, Co-founder of Farm2Food shared a unique concept called Farmpreneur i.e. creating the next generation farm entrepreneurs by promoting entrepreneurship to the students in the upper primary schools of Assam. Sharing his experiences as an entrepreneur he urged that at least 1% of India’s population should take up entrepreneurship as a career.
Dilip Baruah, Founder of Fabric Plus shared his journey as a social entrepreneur and his dream of impacting the lives of half million people through his venture. He explained his “5 F model” of success i.e. Farm, Fiber, Fabric, Fashion and Foreign.
Manash Chaliha, Co-founder of Organic Majuli, a young entrepreneur talked about his passion for creating a positive impact in the society and for the environment. He encouraged the youth of today to participate in the social entrepreneurship movement and emphasized the importance of building a strong team and creating a sustainable business model.
Re-emphasizing the importance of innovative solutions for our society Prof. SRM Prasanna, Dean R&D IIT Guwahati, inspired the students to take the plunge and start their entrepreneurship journey. He commented “passion is all that an entrepreneur requires to make a change.”
Concluding on a high note, the seminar left an audience inspired by various stories of change and impact, created in society by the speakers for the day. “Such seminars really inspire the students and will help them make a difference to the economy,” said a student of IIT Guwahati about his experience at Seminar on ‘Thinking Social’.
By Sharmili Phulgirkar, Teach For India Fellow
In his bestseller, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell suggests that brilliant decision makers take two seconds to decide instead of processing tons of information by slicing variables to bare minimum and taking a call. I am definitely not a brilliant decision maker but my decision to apply for the Teach for India (TFI) Fellowshipsurely seemed to follow Blink. It seems like yesterday when I was sitting in my office thinking aboutwhatI would do to achieve themonth’s numbers, subconsciously thinking about what I am doing with my life, when I saw a mail from TFI. I went through the content and in a blink, applied. One month after that day and after many rounds of selection, I got selected for the 2015 batch of fellows.
The decision making after that wasn’t so intuitive! I had many questions along with the jitters. Is this right time to move? How will my career be affected? What if I don’t like teaching in a municipal school? What if I end up losing patience with my son because the kids in school are driving me mad? Think of a negative outcome and you can rest assured that I had thought of it! But after a week of deliberation, long phone conversations with current fellows and alumni, and a coin toss in favor of TFI, I left for Pune for a month long training.
It has only been four months but the experiences I have got have really enriched me! I am certain that these experiences are not replicable in a corporate setting and had TFI not happened to me, I would have never tried to seek them out. I discovered my enthusiasm to try out new things by being surrounded by 20-somethings at TFI. I walked up to a kid and managed to connect with him and play for 2 hours. I’ve lived in a so called slum area (despite my inhibitions) and have had a peaceful night sleep. I’ve met these 41 kids who are amazing. They have taught me difference between arrogance and confidence, between being sympathetic and being empathetic and between idealism and realism! I’ve been able to compare TFI kids with children attending schools under theBrihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)and realize how 6 years of TFI adopting them has made a difference to their lives. This realization elucidates how much responsibility lies on a fellow’s shoulder. I teach Algebra, Science & English to these kids. And while teaching them I’ve discovered how much fun life can be. My journey of personal transformation has started by being in TFI. It now remains to see how many personal transformation stories I can ignite in the next 2 years – by being just me…
SharmiliPhulgirkarhas done her MBA from IIM Bangalore and has completed 9 years of corporate work experience spanning across functions like business intelligence, strategy, product development, sales, digital & email marketing. She has worked across companies in different sectors viz. Infosys, Barclays and Aditya Birla Group (ABG). She was instrumental in development, launch and subsequent monetization of the first digital foray of ABG – a personal finance platform called MyUniverse (www.MyUniverse.co.in). Currently, she is a fellow of batch 2015 @ Teach for India where she teaches 9th standard kids Algebra, Science and English. You can write to her at Sharmili.email@example.com
The deadline for Round 2 of the Teach for India Fellowship is October 27th. For further information on the fellowship, please visit: http://teachforindia.org/fellow-ship/how-to-apply
By Siddhant Sachdeva, Tanya Khera, Vatsalya Kishore, Vavilapalli Bharat, Vishal Kumar Singh, Yarrajonna Adarsh. PGP2, IIM Calcutta
Students of IIM Calcutta organized a sports meet with Durbar, a Kolkata based organization that works with sex workers communities in order to establish, promote and strengthen the rights, dignity, social status, and improvement in the quality of life within these communities. Durbar works along multiple verticals including Microfinance, Anti-trafficking, Education and Sports. While microfinance is related to enhancing the financial services available for sex workers, anti-trafficking aims at having checks in place to reduce cases of under-age sex workers. The education and sports initiatives are centered around children of sex workers.
A cohort of 80 children affiliated with Durbar from Sonagachi were first picked up from their homes and brought in a bus to the IIM Calcutta campus. The first part of the event was a Campus Walk, with IIMC student volunteers taking the children on a guided tour of the Joka campus. This was followed by an interaction with the children in one of the classrooms where the agenda was to have an interactive session on different career opportunities. We had also arranged for lunch for the entire cohort and the accompanying Durbar officials at the hostel mess. It is worth mentioning here that the mess workers and the student volunteers were a tremendous help with managing the crowd in the mess, and the children heartily enjoyed a sumptuous meal.
The main attraction of the day was the football match was scheduled post-lunch with the IIM Calcutta team pitched against the Durbar football team. Durbar’s Under 14 and Under 16 football teams have won various tournaments and have had players who have represented the state in National tournaments as well. Since 2014, Durbar has been taking part in the Third Division Kolkata Football League. One of the trainees of Durbar Football Academy has gone on to take training with the renowned Manchester United football club in April 2014. The match at IIMC was a very heated and exciting affair, which both teams appreciated, despite it being a new football format for the Durbar team.
Prized were distributed to each and every child who had come to the campus. T-shirts with the IIM Calcutta logo were distributed to all children and the supporting staff who had come for the event. We look forward to having more such matches with the accomplished Durbar football team in the months to come.
By Priyanshu Gupta, Doctoral Student IIM Calcutta, formerly Associate Vice President, Lok Capital
Over the last decade, impact investing has steadily risen as an important asset class for private equity and venture capital transactions, reaching almost a quarter of all equity transactions in India1. With a growth of over 30% per annum2, it is also amongst the fastest growing. While the initial push came from the microfinance institutions, the industry has steadily expanded to include sectors like affordable education, affordable healthcare, clean energy, agri-business, and livelihood enterprises. These sectors now comprise over two-thirds of the total transactions. This rapid growth has been supported by specialized risk capital from almost 50 focused impact investors (comprising of impact funds, family office/foundations, DFIs, and incubators). This is further strengthened by an ever increasing appetite from mainstream PE/VC players who now contribute a majority of the overall transactions3. It points to a scenario where emerging social enterprises should be spoilt for choice, at least as far as funding is concerned.
However, securing venture funding is often among the most challenging tasks for emerging and early-stage social entrepreneurs. I am often asked three key questions – When to hit the markets? How much to raise? What type of fund to approach? While each of these could merit an article in itself, let me try and address the last and probably the most important question – the choice of an investor. This assumes significance as venture investment is like a marriage – it can be a supportive partnership to help you through ups and downs, but is pretty difficult to get out off if things don’t work out as planned. While, there could be several criteria for choosing an investor, let me focus on four key things to keep in mind.
The key to choosing the right investor is not so much in external scanning of the funding ecosystem but in a careful understanding of your business model. The kind of assumptions to be tested and corresponding risks entailed; evolution of the intrinsic profitability profile of the business; gestation period to profitability; and growth trajectory comfortable for business evolution; are all important drivers of the choice of suitable investor. Given the inordinate delays and challenges faced in fund-raising, there may be a temptation to go along with the investor philosophy i.e. follow the funding. However, relying on investor’s competence at the cost of own beliefs and capabilities, is probably too big a risk for an entrepreneur to take.
Priyanshu has around 8 years of development focused work experience spanning impact investing, strategy & operations consulting and grassroots activism. He was an Associate Vice President with Lok Capital, a pioneering BoP focused impact investor where he was leading their portfolio and investment strategy for financial inclusion, skill development and employability solution sectors. Previously, he worked as a strategy and operations consultant with A.T. Kearney. He has also worked in tribal regions of Central India on indigenous rights and livelihoods.
By Ajay Tannirkulam, Founder – Magasool
Reintroducing Millets to the Urban Indian Palette: A Sustainable Development and Nutrition Goal
Tamil Nadu grows a diverse set food grains – paddy, pulses and many varieties of millets. Millets require very little water, are more nutritious than rice and wheat, have high fiber content and low glycemic index (especially good for diabetes patients). India produces and consumes more than 12 million tonnes of millets every year. Millets are slowly becoming a part of the urban diet again and consumption grew by 25% between 2001 and 2012. Millets are also potentially the food for the future as they are resistant to droughts and climate change.
Unfortunately, while paddy and pulses are actively promoted and supported by the Government, support for millets is at best weak. Millets farmers typically belong to the weakest segments of society, using subsistence farming methods and depending on rains for irrigation. Further, in the rain-fed regions of Tamil Nadu, such as Javvadi Malai (Thiruvannamalai district), tribal farmers who grow millets, depend on middlemen to process their produce and take it to market. There is a gap of 300 to 500% between the price a tribal millet farmer receives, and what his/her processed millet produce sells for in the urban markets.
Magasool will partner with millet farmers to exploit this demand and supply gap in the market, and directly market processed millets to urban customers. We aim to set up a millets procurement, processing and marketing business that will ensure fair remuneration to the tribal farmers and provide high quality processed produce to urban customers of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Towards this end, Magasool rented a modest processing plant, and ran a small pilot to procure, process, and market 1.5 tonnes of millets. Encouragingly, we found that we could keep the whole operations financially sustainable, and still increase farmer remuneration by at least 30%. In 3 years, we propose to setup 3 medium to high-capacity millets processing units that will work with 300 tribal farmers and cater to the demands of more than 10,000 customers. In ten years, Magasool plans to capture 10% of the urban South Indian market in millets.
Magasool is attempting to raise money from investors for its first millets mill in Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. We plan to start the floor work for the mill by the first week of October. Machinery will purchased and installed after getting an investor onboard.
 Michaelraj, P. S. J., & Shanmugam, A. (2013). A study on millets based cultivation and consumption in India. International Journal of Marketing, Financial Services & Management Research, 2(4), 49-58
The Tata Social Enterprise Challenge is a joint initiative between IIM Calcutta and the TATA groups 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.
Teams who either have an early stage venture (not older than 3 years) or a promising idea with a plan, that can create sustainable social impact in India, can submit their business plans online, by logging onto https://www.tatasechallenge.org/
Last Date for apply: 7 October 2015
Egiye Bangla’ is a unique Contest-cum-TV Reality Show for start ups (aspiring and recent entrepreneurs) based in West Bengal to showcase their unique business ideas and get a chance to win recognition, rewards, and support for their business.
The MSME&T Department, Government of West Bengal, in partnership with IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, has launched ‘Egiye Bangla’, an entrepreneurship TV reality show. This contest-cum-show would identify, recognize & reward aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs having unique innovative start up ideas across all sectors.
Last date for applying: 21 October 2015
To know more visit their website: http://www.egiyebangla.in/
IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP) in association with Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communications (SIMC) is organising a “Thinking Social” seminar on 03 October 2015 at the SIMC campus.
The speakers of this seminar comprise eminent academicians and social entrepreneurs, who have established their own outstanding ventures and have impacted the lives of thousands of people.
The participants will have a great opportunity to learn from these practitioners about their journey, the challenges faced and the social impact created by their venture. This will motivate and encourage the students to consider social entrepreneurship as a career option.
The participation in the seminar does not require any fee. The registration to this seminar is on a first-confirmed-first-served basis.
To register please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more details please visit: https://www.tatasechallenge.org/
IIM Calcutta Innovation Park is organizing a Roundtable on “Enhancing Quality and Affordability of Education through Technology” at Delhi on 16 October 2015, under the aegis of Tata Social Enterprise Challenge (TSEC).
The aim of these Roundtables is to invite, interact & build bridges, and gather inputs for future strategies & plans for the evolving Indian social sector from active players, decision makers & influencers representing the key stakeholder groups who have an important role to play in the Indian social entrepreneurship eco-system.
To register please write to: email@example.com
For more details please visit: https://www.tatasechallenge.org/
The “Empowering people Award” was launched at an event in Munich with the online participation of a large international community. Inventors and developer teams are called on here to submit their low-tech innovations in one of eight categories that cover the main areas of basic supply in impoverished regions. The potential to be embedded in entrepreneurial models providing sustainable help to individuals and communities in developing regions is one of the pivotal criteria.
The Award is on the lookout for solutions in the categories of Water & Waste Water, Energy, Food & Agriculture, Waste Management, Healthcare, Sheltering, Education and Information & Communication
Deadline for entries is November 30, 2015
Further information visit their website
The annual event is organized by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and his Creative Advisor Hans Reitz, which gathers experts from private sectors, civil society, governments and academia over a few days of meetings, forums and workshops.
The Global Social Business Summit is the largest international platform where the global community of social business practitioners and supporters gathers each year. Over 1000 participants from more than 70 countries are expected to come to Berlin in November to get inspired, discuss, learn and celebrate achievements. The summit is organized by The Grameen Creative Lab (Germany) and the Yunus Centre (Bangladesh) in partnership with visitBerlin. Further partner organizations are the Yunus & You – The YY Foundation and Yunus Social Business.
Registration & more information on www.gsbs2015.com
Power to Empower (P2E) 2015 Challenge is the joint initiative of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and India@75 (a CII Initiative) with Ennovent as the Managing Partner. The objective of this challenge is to find and create an investable pipeline of innovative and sustainable enterprises in the skills ecosystem in India and promote skilling as an entrepreneurial opportunity among aspiring individuals and supplement into the Skill India Mission.
For more details visit: www.powertoempower.in
In case of any difficulty or clarifications, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or give them a call at 011- 4385 1999 Ext- 5.
Centre for Health and Social Science, School of Health Systems Studies, TISS in collaboration with the Population Council is organizing a Scientific Writing Workshop from Oct. 5– 7, 2015. The workshop is part of the Bill and Melinda Gates funded Knowledge Network Project that aims to build the writing skills of social researchers for scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals. The workshop combines teaching with practical exercises to build scientific writing capacity and reinforce the principles taught.
To register write to: email@example.com
It talks about who edupreneurs are, what obstacles they face, what triumphs they achieve, how they interact with communities and governments and what lies ahead for them. If you know someone who is redefining education, share their story in a short film. 5 best films will be screened at the Jeevika: Asia Livelihood Documentary Festival and the winning film will receive a prize of USD 300 / Rs 20,000.
Last date for submission: 15 October 2015
For more information visit: www.jeevika.org/edudoc