Weekly Roundup 1.11.13

Last week there was a range of great developments that took place for socially focused enterprises in India. Among the top stories are two organisations that are making a difference in the energy and education sectors. In addition a recent study by customer research firm Quantum 360 highlights how we need to reinterpret BoP markets. Finally, the finalists for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award have also been announced with the winners set to be decided at the final event on November 11th. I hope you enjoy the wrap up from last week.


Image Credit: Social Story and Urja Unlimited


Energy without limits: Urja Unlimited

In a country where nearly 400 million rural people still lack access to electricity, solar has for long been viewed as the energy source with the most potential to offer low-cost power. “It is ironical that the rural poor pay twice as much as urban consumers pay for similar lighting needs”, says Puneet Ahuja, founder of Urja Unlimited, a solar energy solutions manufacturer with the goal to serve every village, town and city in India with efficient energy solutions. What makes this company unique is their “Urja Unnati” livelihood program, which aims to set up 1,000 clean energy entrepreneurs across the country in two years. Read more about their initiatives here.


Reinterpreting the Bottom of the Pyramid

A recent study focused on the bottom of the pyramid titled “The Motion of Aspiration, India” by Quantum 360, a consumer research firm, reveals that treating the whole bottom of the pyramid as one homogeneous market is a mistake. According to the study, India’s consumption pyramid is in line with Pareto’s principle: 72 per cent of the total households in India (880 million) form the base of the consumption pyramid. That is to say, they fit in with the broad definition of the bottom of the pyramid: households earning less than $3,000 or Rs 2 lakh in the Indian context, annually. But clubbing this entire 72 per cent together is unlikely to yield the desired results. The bulk of this aspirant class sits in urban centres, well within the loop of established distribution networks. Capture this audience first and then move further down, urges the study. Learn more about the report findings here


Finalists announced for Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award

The Jubilant Bhartia Foundation, which organizes the SEOY India Award in association with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship announced the finalists of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) India Award 2013. After evaluating a total of 209 applications, the finalists are Breakthrough Trust, Mann Deshi Mahila Bank and Mann Deshi Foundation, * Operation ASHA and Yuva Parivartan/ Kherwadi Social Welfare Association. The winner/s will be chosen by a jury and announced at an award ceremony on November 11 in New Delhi. Learn more about the awards here


LEAP: taking a stap at skilling India’s 500 million youth

India is at a dangerous crossroad – when the rest of the world’s workforce is growing old, India’s is growing younger. But there’s a problem. Most of them will be unemployable because they will either be uneducated, under-educated or be lacking the necessary skills to be employed. There are many organizations trying to do some of the heavy-lifting to skill our youth. One of them is the Megha Aggarwal founded LEAP (Learning, Employability and Progress) that is in the business of providing students with both vocation and life skills to make them employable. In this comprehensive interview with SocialStory (SS) Aggarwal talks about her inspiration, business model of LEAP, impact so far and what the future holds. Read the entire interview here


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