30 Jan Weekly Roundup, 30.01.2015: Innovations to serve the underprivileged
In this week’s roundup we focus on efforts taken by young social entrepreneurs as they aim to make an impact in the energy and employment sectors.
One of the key challenges faces over 1.5 billion people in developing countries access to safe and reliable energy supply. Young professionals from Canberra, Australia are heading to India with the aim of improving the lives of the urban poor by providing access to sustainable technologies including solar lights and improved stoves for cooking.
25,000 people in Bangalore have switched to solar LED lighting in their homes.
Staying with setting up ventures in India, NRI venture capitalist Gururaj Deshpande is planning to set up a social entrepreneurship centre in Hubli, Karnataka. “The idea is to spread this as quickly as possible by inspiring other people to solve the problem of social entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Deshpande. “The world is heading in two different ways — people who are seeing a lot of prosperity and doing good things and those who don’t have opportunities and are doing the worst. With this initiative, we are enabling people in economically deprived places to become entrepreneurs and innovative, and solve all kinds of problems.”
Management student Swati Bondia’s goal is to help 2000 families in India by 2018, by providing employment opportunities in handicraft to the underprivileged. As part of this process she hopes to identify appropriate families in Karnataka and Odisha and train then in handicraft. Swati hopes to receive government assistance for the same. “We make the products at the bottom of the pyramid, and sell it at the top of the pyramid,” says Swati. “We are working to bridge this gap better the privileged and the underprivileged sector.”
Finally, Japanese multinational conglomerate Hitachi has framed an India-specific policy whereby it aims to bring about social change through innovation. The strategy is aimed at localised enablement of technology in the Indian space and targeting consolidated revenues of Rs. 20,000 crore. Social innovation seems to be the buzzword for Hitachi in India as the company tries to leverage its presence by banking on internal inorganic growth and power core sectors of the Indian economy with solutions.
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