Spark the Rise Round 2 WinnersNews & Updates | January 16, 2012
A student from Chandigarh, a businessman from Delhi, and an...
Here they are (in no particular order):
With a Masters in IT from Vijaywada, an MBA from Rutgers University in New Jersey, and 10 years at Verizon Wireless, one would have assumed Sadhu, 39, had his professional life all charted out. Instead, he quit his job and invested his life’s savings in creating VESAG.
India’s economy may be on the rise, but for the 37% of the Indians living below the poverty line, many basic services are out of their reach. In February 2010, Dr. Rangan Varadan, a former head of banking and capital market vertical at Infosys, and Dr. Sekhar Sarukkai, a successful serial entrepreneur, started MicroGraam to help combat this. By offering an online peer-to-peer lending platform, MicroGraam connects deserving students, entrepreneurs, and farmers in rural India with the resources and funds to overcome the myriad obstacles they face.
Chetan Bhagat’s “Five Point Someone” and subsequent hit film “3 Idiots” may have made the Indian Institute of Technology infamous on a world scale, but their competition for both entry and matriculation have long been famous in India. Known for their rigorous course loads and unmatched job placement rates, IITs receive some of the most competitive applicant pools in the country.
Vivek Nair may already be a serial innovator and entrepreneur at 23, but his involvement with carbon nanotubes started entirely by accident, when he stumbled upon the subject at a seminar. Today, it’s a career choice even as he continues his education (he’s currently studying for a double doctorate at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University as well as at the Institute of Sports Research).
Despite its sizeable youth population, some fear that India’s much touted demographic dividend is on the verge of going horribly wrong – that the economy may not produce enough jobs to absorb the fast-growing labour force, leaving millions of young people feeling bitter and betrayed. To make matters worse, a recent Gallup study found that Indians are simultaneously the LEAST and MOST entrepreneurial people in Asia – with many Indian youths possessing strong entrepreneurial traits, though few actually wanted to start their own businesses.
The motor boat took us along the Caribbean coast and down a stretch of river dotted with palm frond huts, disembarking at a little dock in the heart of the mangrove swamp. From there it was a long hike in the viscid July air, along muddy trails tracing through thick jungle and over sharp limestone boulders. As forest gave way to corn fields and heavy-set Corozo palms swayed dreamily in the wind, we finally reached the first house of Cerro Blanco. A woman peeked out of her window with a huge gap-toothed smile as her little ones giggled curiously. Passing the hut, Mateo let out a high-pitched ‘Whoo!’ in greeting, explaining who these two gringos were in the curt guttural tones of Maya Q’eqchi’.
Best wishes for the New Year!
The Rise Team
On 29 December, 2011, Cyclone Thane ripped into Tamil Nadu in southern India. Forty seven people were killed and the damage to infrastructure is estimated at USD 376 million.
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