It’s that time of the week again when we share top stories from across India on enterprises for low-income markets, impact investing and beyond. This week there seems to be a strong light shining on the sector with Economic Times sharing how roads and mobiles have improved the lives of the poor and Naina Lal Kidwai of FICCI sharing examples of innovative solutions that are transforming the lives of those living in rural areas. We hope you enjoy this week’s roundup!
Artoo develops Android and cloud-based applications that run on mobile phones and tablet devices and allow enterprises to take all field processes online. Their platform allows field agents in rural areas to perform various functions like customer enrolling, credit bureau checks, collections and data analytics, all in real time. This makes results and decisions available almost instantaneously. As a result, the software helps reduce turnaround time by 50% and increase productivity of field agents by 60%.
What is really driving this unprecedented income growth at the bottom of the income pyramid? Simply put, it is improvement in ground-level infrastructure that helps achieve two targets. Firstly, the spread of wireless telephony and rural roads have helped create larger economic clusters, allowing the creation of new types of jobs. Secondly, better rural infrastructure has added several productive hours in a day that can be put to productive use. Mobile phones and roads help create larger economic clusters, which allow people to specialise, improving productivity. Read the full article here
Gijs Spoor (GS), an Ashoka fellow since 2009, founded social business incubator UnLtd Tamil Nadu last year. He has spent 10 years in India and been involved with four companies before, the most famous of them being Zameen Organic. With the first batch of UnLtd Tamil Nadu Spoor is helping incubate 10 ventures. In this open-ended interview he speaks about why he went with UnLtd, the model of incubation, the companies being incubated, challenges he faces and what plans he has for 2014. Read the interview here
Somewhere in a village in India, the government connects with panchayats through fibre optic cables to bring in better service delivery in health and education. Tata Swach, Mera Gao Power and Ayas Shilpa are just some such examples. At the heart of this great innovation rush is a growing consensus in developing countries that economic growth of a nation can no longer be decoupled from the welfare of people still living on fringe benefits after decades of high growth. India’s entrenched tradition in frugal innovation today offers smarter ways of designing and delivering products at affordable prices. Read Naina Lal Kidwai’s full article here
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