For those who dare to disturb the universe, Spark The Rise is back!Economy & Development | February 28, 2014
India has been on the verge of greatness for too...
When Facebook snapped up Little Eye Labs, a start-up from Bangalore, it put India right on the global map of innovation and entrepreneurship. It is certainly not the first big idea to have germinated in India, but the Facebook acquisition did make the world sit up and notice.
While the last couple of decades have been about services and back-end support, the next few decades promise to embrace alternative thinking and bring in more product companies to the fore, led by feisty young entrepreneurs. The tribe is small but growing steadily for sure.
Could Sabeer Bhatia have come up with Hotmail had he been in India in the nineties? Probably not… India then was still not open to innovation. But today, we are on the cusp of path-breaking inventions from entrepreneurs not shying away from the well-trodden path.
The country today provides a breeding ground for entrepreneurs and investors alike. The economic landscape too has changed for the better, with more open and liberal policies.
From technology, entertainment and green energy to healthcare, services and food, the country is seeing innovative enterprises across different sectors. Recent history is replete with success stories of Deep Kalra (Makemytrip), the Bansals (Flipkart), Deepinder Goyal (Zomato), Neeraj Gupta (Meru Cabs) and Anupam Mittal (Shaadi.com) who chased their dreams, shattered popular notions, and stretched the boundaries.
For a long time, a visit to the doctor meant burning a hole in your pocket until ventures such as Vasan, EyeQ and Vaatsalya burst onto the scene with their “affordable” model, providing a win-win for all. In the food sector, quick service restaurants such as Yo!China and Mast Kalandar, and food kiosks such as Goli Vada Pav are game changers.
And then, there are more.
In a country like ours where cost is a constraint, social innovation takes on a whole new meaning and dimension. So, we have ventures such as Evomo that makes low-cost utility vehicles for rural India and Aakar Innovations which makes machines that produce biodegradable low-cost sanitary napkins.
The story of Angad Daryani, a teenage school dropout who sells DIY kits, teaches that entrepreneurship is for everyone, provided you are willing to challenge the status-quo.
The ecosystem may still lag behind western standards but it is far more enabling and exciting than ever before. The curriculum in schools and colleges too inculcates the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation. Angel investors, start-up funds and incubators such as Villgro, Ankur Capital, Helion, 5ideas and Khosla Labs, and industry bodies such as CII and Nasscom are also willing to back those ready to go that extra mile.
So, what’s holding back young India when inspiration is everywhere and anywhere?
Rise to the challenge as Mahindra corporate knocks at your door again. It is time for the third edition of Mahindra Spark the Rise, an initiative that propels innovation in order to drive a positive change.
In the past two years, Spark the Rise has been connecting change agents and social entrepreneurs with like-minded peers, mentors, funding agencies and incubators. It has received an overwhelming 7,000 entries from enterprises that serve the community and solve its problems in the areas of green energy, technology, education, agriculture, transportation and infrastructure.
Nearly 100 grants totaling $1 million have been given away to 1,941 sparks or promising early stage social enterprise in the first two seasons. The winners in the past include Fuzion Crafts International, which trains rural women to manufacture decorative items from water hyacinth; Divya Jyothi Charitable Trust that prints books in Braille; and Jagriti Mahila Samiti which aims to replace kerosene lamps with solar lights for children to study in rural Uttar Pradesh.
Spark the Rise has 2,878 volunteers and over 800,000 followers on social media – The third edition promises to be bigger and better with grants worth USD 1 million. There are more than just grants at stake.
Are you brave and mad enough to make a positive change and illuminate India?
Do you have a bright new idea and need a launch pad? Or are you already chasing a dream that needs further impetus? We are listening.
Take the Spark the Rise challenge and submit your entries now.
Log onto Spark the Rise to know more.
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