164 social ventures take part in the first edition of Tata Social Enterprise Challenge – Greenway Grameen emerges winner


Indiaeducationdiary | 24 February 2013


Report by India Education bureau, Kolkata: The Tata group in partnership with the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIM-C), hosted the grand finale event of the first Tata Social Enterprise Challenge today, followed by a Social Entrepreneurship Conference at the institute’s auditorium where the winners were felicitated.


In an endeavour to promote and support social entrepreneurship, the challenge recognised and felicitated promising, socially-driven ventures and ideas with proof of concept shortlisted after a two-month rigorous competition. Greenway Grameen Infra and Ottoclave emerged victorious in this year’s challenge, winning prize money of Rs1.5 and Rs1 lakh respectively, after being placed first and second.

Greenway Grammen Cookstove

Neha Juneja, co-founder and CEO of Greenway Grameen Infra, the winner of the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge has developed a smart stove that burns biomass fuel more efficiently, reducing fuel consumption by 65 percent and smoke emission by 70 percent. Speaking at the occasion, she said “Greenway Grameen Infra aims to change the way India cooks and this recognition will help us to expand and reach out to the remotest corners. I must commend IIM Calcutta and the Tatas that they have created a platform like this and especially when it comes to social enterprise. Our presentation has led to a lot of introspection and we do believe that through this platform we will be better at doing our work ahead.”


Hallie Sue Cho and Greg D Tao, MIT alumni and co-founders of nine-month-old start-up Ottoclave, which was declared the runner-up, have developed an affordable autoclave using a simple pressure cooker and a talking cycle monitor in local language, providing easy sterilisation to reduce surgical infection. Explaining further, they said “Ottoclave makes clean surgery as easy as cooking a pot of rice. We want to reach out and touch more lives with this concept. We are very excited today and look forward to expanding our team and growing our venture in India.”


The challenge that commenced end-December 2012 invited entrepreneurs who would focus on social impact ventures in India. Entries were received from around the world. The shortlisted 20 of 164 entries, both early stage ventures and promising concepts, were given a platform to experience first-class mentorship and training at the IIM-C campus as a part of the challenge. Divided into three stages, the competition concluded in a grand finale event attended by representatives of social ventures, established social entrepreneurs, Tata group representatives, IIM-C faculty and students. The other eight teams that made it to the finals were: Utopia, Vi-Care, Onergy, Doctors for You, Project Kayakalp, Sudiksha, SMV Wheels and MediAngels.


Overall top 20 promising ventures, including the 2 winning entries, were selected from a pool of 164 impact proposals, submitted entries, from across multiple sectors namely education, health, agriculture, energy, technology, housing, handicrafts and microfinance, amongst others. The entries received were from different corners of the world including the US, the Netherlands, Nigeria and South Africa. The bulk of the entries were from India including places like Delhi, Dehradun, Nainital and Tehri Garhwal in the north; Chennai, Pollachi, Coimbatore, Mysore and Trichy in the south; Jaipur, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Pune and Mumbai in the west; and Bhubaneshwar, Patna and Kolkata in the east.


Over 25 established social entrepreneurs, IIM Calcutta faculty and mentors from various mentorship organisations were engaged in mentoring the top 20 teams. The social venture capitalist partners of the initiative were Acumen Fund, Ankur Capital, Ennovent, Villgro and Yunus Social Business Fund Mumbai. The teams also had an opportunity to network with mentors, experts and fellow social entrepreneurs.


Prof Ashok Banerjee, Dean NIER, IIM Calcutta, and Viresh Oberoi, CEO and MD, Mjunction Services, and chief guest for the event, gave away the awards to the winners of the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Oberoi said “I am honoured to be here today and delighted to see such excellent work. Tata Social Enterprise Challenge is a framework provided to make sure that ideas grow, and this is really something that is outstanding.”


The winners were felicitated during the Social Entrepreneurship Conference at IIM-C that included sessions and workshops by eminent speakers namely Joe Madiath from Gram Vikas, Radha Basu from Anudip Foundation, Arunachalam from Jayashree Industries and Padma Bhushan DR Mehta of Jaipur Foot fame.


The ‘Tata Social Enterprise Challenge – a joint initiative with IIM Calcutta’ is a national-level initiative to create an ecosystem for social entrepreneurship and encourage sustainable, scalable and measurable social impact. The property is also aimed at raising awareness about social entrepreneurship. The challenge invites social entrepreneurs, who either have an early-stage venture or an idea with a proof of concept.


The challenge was divided into the following rounds:


Round 1: Teams were required to submit impact proposals online in the format specified.

Round 2: The semi-final – Twenty teams were selected from Round 1 to go through a three-week mentorship programme. These teams pitched to a panel of esteemed judges consisting of social venture capitalists, social entrepreneurs, Tata leaders and faculty from IIM Calcutta.

Round 3: The grand finale – Ten teams were selected for the grand finale from the teams who reached the semi-finals. The teams pitched to a panel of esteemed judges, consisting of business leaders from the Tata group, CEOs, social venture capitalists, social entrepreneurs and faculty from IIM Calcutta.

The ventures were judged on three parameters – business model, social impact and sustainability. There was no restriction on the business model; it could be for-profit, not-for-profit or even hybrid, but was required to demonstrate significant social impact through results or proof of concept.


All semi-finalists received three weeks of mentorship support, including a three-day training at the IIM Calcutta campus. Funding opportunities were also provided to all teams shortlisted for the semi-finals and finals. The teams were given a chance to pitch to India’s largest social venture capitalists for seed funding. Finalists will be given the opportunity to pitch for incubation at IIM Calcutta along with monetary support for their ventures.


Greenway Grameen Infra is also a part of the Ennovent Network that helps discover, startup, finance and scale innovations for sustainability. You can connect with them (after you login) .



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