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India Development Marketplace 2011 – OPEN

Parvathi Menon's picture

As Process Partners for the India Development Marketplace 2011, (India DM) one of the exciting things our team at Innovation Alchemy is doing is to help seek and surface interesting Social Enterprises that are working on tough social challenges, and building sustainable models to solve them.

A rigorous assessment process with a panel of independent expert assessors and jury will help the India DM 2011 program arrive at 13 winners who will each get funded with $ 50,000 over 24 months to effectively scale their SE models.

The call for entries has just been launched on December 10th  2010 and Applications can be submitted online before 23rd January 2011. As this process moves forward we will be traveling across the Target states of Bihar, Rajasthan and Orissa to meet and engage with the social impact community – to help eligible organizations apply for the competitive grant available under the India DM. More on that soon.

Each week (between now and 23rd January 2011) as our teams travel and meet entrepreneurs and organizations doing interesting work, we will try and document it all here – sharing the ideas and work that is inspiring our search.

This week threw up some interesting social enterprise ideas evolving out of Bangalore! Here are a few we met to understand better:

Babajob: An online and mobile phone based service that connects the unorganized labour market to better jobs and opportunities. With cumulatively over a 150,000 registered users and 1500 more joining in each week (!!) – Babajob is becoming an opportunity platform for many people to find better, more organized work force. And interestingly the mobile phone service providers seem to be big enablers of this service. For service providers and Telcos to scale into ‘BoP’ india, its clear that some highly relevant and effective services be added to phones. And what better than a service that helps me get a better paying job!

mDhil: A Mobile web enabled platform that provides information and education on health and health issues via sms and video. What stands out? The fact that they are dealing with tough issues like HIV, safe sex etc through a series of simple relevant videos and content. Users are signing up and slowly this idea of disemminating critical health information in easy to engage content will take shape. Their latest is a 3 part series on “No Condom No Sex”  watch it.

Mad Rat Games (Aksharit): Scrabble is played in over 30 world languages. In English it is designed around the 26 letters of the alphabet. But when it comes to a Hindi Scrabble with over 600 characters including the tough ‘matras’ – it was thought impossible. Till a young 3-member team took it up as an idea and evolved it for them selves to play. Aksharit, now in 11 Indian Languages  has decoded the complex phonetics of Indian languages and converted them into a series of  wonderful board games for children starting from early school ages. Teachers love it as an education tool for the language and children think they are fun. So much so that Nokia got the Mad Rat team to convert the board game into an interactive Phone App for the N8 phone. What is scale for this team? A day when all regular boring Hindi and language books will get replaced by these fun board games as study material. More power to you!!

Inclusive Planet: Imagine if you were visually challenged. Over years you would have to build up a whole tool kit of learning on how to navigate and engage with the regular world – because to survive you would have to find ways to do it (especially within a largely apathetic environment). Globally there are about 314 million people who are visually impaired, 45 million of them are blind (WHO Fact sheets) . Imagine. That many people have found their own solutions to everyday problems. What if all these people and their solutions could be connected? That’s what Inclusive Planet is attempting to do. With a portal designed around Screen Readers and a small (5000 strong) but growing community of visually impaired members worldwide – this could be a huge focused channel for communication, in a few years time.

Find this search for scalable social enterprises interesting? More real time updates via twitter @parvathimenon @WorldBankDM and follow the hashtags #socent #devmarket.

And if you are interested or know someone who is eligible – then apply for the India DM 2011 grant at www.dm-india.com.