Compiled By: Kartikey Srivastava & Perzen Patel
Following the introduction of our first roundup last week, this week we have some interesting news to share from ease of regulation for entrepreneurs in Gujarat to a rise in frugal innovation and the use of mobiles for social change. Read this quick weekly roundup to know what’s hot for socially focused ventures in India.
Much has been written in the Indian media about the friendliness to enterprises in Indian state of Gujarat and they continue to live up to their reputation. To make the registration process for enterprises easier, the state government is now offering the option for entrepreneurs to register online.
Not only will the process be faster, but it will also be more transparent. Instead of having to travel to the Direct Industries Centre to track updates of their application, socially focused ventures can simply check the status online and use the time saved to further develop their business models.
This is a significant step forward for entrepreneurs and hopefully other states will take notice.
Scarcity of resources is something that all Indians are continuously aware of. This is why more and more entrepreneurs are turning towards frugal innovation – a process of creating advantages out of constraints. Faced with scarce resources and institutional vacuums, frugal innovators develop radical new solutions to problems.
Examples include Mansukhbhai Prajapati who designed a low-cost clay fridge, which requires no electricity and functions even during the blackouts that blight his town regularly.
But, it’s not just about making things cheaper, rather its about making them better, more appropriate and scalable. However, frugal innovators need more than money and much work needs to be done to connect these grassroots technologists with the support they require.
Osama Manzar, curator of the mBillionth awards highlights that out of the total number of mobile phone users, 333 million are from rural India. Mobile phones can therefore play a huge role in triggering social changes in India.
The e-Mamtahealth application is a fine example, provides millions of registered women on its system important health information through both messages and calls. There is also is the Kisan Sanchar, a platform which allows experts to share their knowledge with farmers.
However, many of these programs whilst producing positive results are mostly limited to specific states.
Gram Vaani’s flagship, Mobile Vaani, is a “voice-based social media network for rural citizens.” Leveraging the rapid penetration of mobile phones into rural India, the company has built an intelligent IVR (interactive voice response) system that allows people to call into a number and leave a message about their community or listen to messages left by others. It currently gets 2,000 calls per day and the platform touches more than 45,000 rural families.
The funds raised will be used to grow the company’s user community, partly through a franchisee model, and expand its team of 20 people.
Finally, in case you missed it, here’s three things you may like on the Ennovent Blog this week:
1. The Grand Challenges in TB Control opportunity for healthcare innovators
2. A brief discussion on our learnings from Impact Forum 2013
3. Read how this government project is using methane gas from sewage for cooking gas
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