Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mobile Applications contest specific to Rural India

Reliance Developer program is organizing a nation-wide contest among young entrepreneurs interested in building mobile applications relevant to Rural India. The focus  will be on rural applications for transportation, m-commerce, health care services, governance, education, information and location based services. The winning applications will be deployed into Reliance Web-World platform. Applications can be submitted for WAP, java, Reliance Java, Brew, Brew Lite,, Symbian and VoxML environments (for both CDMA and GSM technologies).

Reliance is claiming to have 19000 registered developers in this regard.

Disposable palm dishes

Deepam Palm dish is basically made from areca palm leaves. They seem to be completely natural and disposable.  The cost is not known, supposedly Re.1. This company is recently funded in CII-Investor Forum 2007.

In Chennai (formerly known as Madras, India), most restaurants attach the Banana leaves for the the eating-plates to reduce the water while cleaning the plates due to acute shortage of water.

Fund for startups focused on rural sectors

IFMR has $140 Million fund for the start-ups focused on Micro-finance, education, handicrafts, food processing, diary, rural BPO, rural tourism, waste management, skills training, etc.

For more details, please visit this website.

Efficient Rat trap tool brings prosperity in Rural India

I always believe that technology should aide the development processes. Here is a live example:

Irula is a tribe living in tribal areas of  South-East India living on "Rat catching " as a profession. They do this by lighting a fire in a clay pot, then using their mouths to blow air through a small hole on the bottom to force the smoke into a rat burrow. Then, they dig out the stunned rat, along with any grains the rat had accumulated. These rats and grains (accumulated by rats) is the main source of living. Due to this inefficient procedure, many times they suffer from health problems, such as burned lips and hands, and smoke inhalation resulting in respiratory and cardiac illness.

As per  this paper, CDDP designed a steel trap, with a wooden handle to prevent hand burns and a crank to eliminate smoke inhalation and lip burns.

The results: Irulas using the new traps have doubled or tripled their incomes, greater numbers of Irula children are going to school, and more Irulas are receiving health care.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rural Innovation Fund for software solutions focussed on Rural India

Rural Innovation Fund is launched by Microsoft and IDRC, to promote software solutions for Rural India. It carries a cheque of about 15K-20K US$. There would be a rigorous selection process before presenting the fund. MSSRF is the partner in the selection process.

This year winners include: Aruntec, Vritti Solutions, Aravind Eye Hospital and six other organizations.

More details can be accessed from Mission 2007 website.

HoneyBee Network going Global

HoneyBee network is an organization which maintains a database of grass-root innovations in India. Now it is expanding to other countries such as China.
According to a news published by WSJ,

The China network already has logged 500 innovations, including one by a teenager who designed a shoe rack that kills shoe odor. Eighteen-year-old We Zhi Chuan, chairman of his Tianjin school's innovation association, built his "bactericidal shoe-hanging machine" to wipe out the smell in his running shoes. An avid ping pong player, he hated the way his shoes stank after a sweaty game. So he made a multiprong stand that comes equipped with an ultraviolet light on the end of each prong to kill the bacteria that cause odor.

Multi-Commidities Exchange's Rural plans : An Opportunity for rural entrepreneurs

Multi Commidities Exchange (MCX) has been tying up with TERI, MSSRF, India Post, etc to set-up their (few) thousands of trading terminals in Rural India. One of the feature of such terminals is that farmers can find the right price for their commidities. Operation of such terminals can be a good opportunity for the Rural Entrepreneurs.

India is hot for Microfinance business

Opportunity International , Autralia is entering into India with a cheque of 30Million A$. The goal of this company is to reach 1 Million small business owners by collaborating with local Indian banks.

Are you listening??

Social Entrepreneurship of the Year in India

Shwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship (and many other organizations) awards Social Entrepreneurship award in India. It is for the people who already made their companies in the level of changing the society. Surprisingly the award amount is meagre 20000 US$. Vikram Akula was the last year awardee. Harish Hande of Selco, Rajendra Joshi of Saath, Pravin Mahajan of Janarth and Chetna Gala Sinha of Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank have been shortlisted for this year's award.

There is also Micro Entrepreneurs Award and you may learn about this year's Micro Entrepreneurs Awardees. These are the guys who established self-sustaining businesses using micro-credits.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Multi-national Companies bringing services to Rural India

Smokeless biomass gas stove is developed by IISc, Bangalore and promoted by BP for Rural India. It costs 675/-.

Reuters is providing weather updates, crop prices, and other agri-related information via SMS to Rural farmers in India.

Honda, Ford, GM and Mercedes Benz are bullish about SUV vehicles market in Rural India.

Court on Wheels

Huge amount of economic loss happens due to judiciary delays in India. In particular, rural Indians face this problem a bit more serious due to running around long-distant courts/police stations.

Government is conducting an experiment by arranging a court using a hi-tech bus and travelling to rural villages.

Similarly hospital on rails is launched recently.

Rural India gets hi-tech banking services

Banks in India have been puzzling to provide services to Rural villages in India. Financial Information Network & Operations Ltd is rearing to solve this tricky puzzle using bio-metric smartcard systems in a way to help MicroFinance ogannizations, Banks, Insurance companies.

60000 US$ Seed Fund for Social Entrepreneurs

EchoingGreen provides support for social entrepreneurs in the form of fellowship after a rigorous selection process. Fellowship amount is upto 90000 US$ and The good thing is that even a student can apply for this!

Fellowship can be considered as a seed fund. Nearest deadline for application is : 3rd December 2007.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Co-operative Credit Organisations and some numbers

The cooperative credit structure consisting of over 1,25,605 outlets purveys more than 62 per cent to total agri-rural credit. While a network of 66,573 commercial banks and 14,505 Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) along with 81,078 branches, these put together account for only 38 per cent of rural credit. There are 30 State Cooperative banks with 953 branches and 368 District-level Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) with 12,858 branches carrying a network of 1,08,779 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS).

India's first HSPA (3G) Broadband access to Rural India

Ericsson is the provider for India’s very first HSPA (high speed packet access) broadband network, which delivers the advantage of 3G. It is introduced as a pilot project in the beginning of September across 18 villages and 15 towns in Tamil Nadu.

Some Numbers on Rural India

Rural India accounts for more than 50% of the GDP and out of total 62.97 million households, having income more than 5 lakhs pa, nearly 28.68 million households (46%) live in Rural India. The rural market is projected to be bigger in India than the urban market for fast moving consumer goods, with an annual size of Rs 48000 crore ($12 billion) in 2004 and growing.

Rural consumption expenditure is accounted for around 60 per cent, or Rs 9,13,500 crore ($228 billion), of the country's total consumption expenditure.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rural Indian Innovators

I have written previously about National Innovation Foundation which collects the grass-root innovations from Rural India. I am listing few of such innovations showed on Discovery Channel.

Please note that all the following videos are less than a minute ones.

Want to know more about National Innovation Foundation? Watch these videos (together:20 min):

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Running a rural school and need investment??

This is one of the most fabulous news I have recently heard. Please read through.

Orient Global Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Orient Global Group, is pleased to announce it has created a USD 100 million Education Fund committed to supporting entrepreneurial solutions to improve the quality and availability of education in developing countries around the world. Education is the foundation for economic development and individual fulfilment, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and it plays an essential role in fostering social harmony and teaching us how to live together.

Whether one is addressing poverty, healthcare, unemployment or equality, education is one of the most effective ways to improve lives. Yet due to inequalities in the education systemin underdeveloped countries, over 100 million underprivileged children do not have access to education, whilst the quality of education received by many more children is extremely low. Orient Global Foundation seeks to bridge this gap.

Announcing the creation of the Education Fund, Richard Chandler, Founder and Chairman of Orient Global, commented: “Education is essential if we are to create and sustain a better future. Orient Global Foundation will promote a holistic education for underprivileged children, allowing them to release their talents and creativity for the benefit of themselves and others. Education is the bridge between poverty and prosperity. Our goal is to ensure that every child – no matter their sex, race, family background or socioeconomic status – will receive a quality education that allows them to compete in a rapidly changing global economy.”

Professor James Tooley will join Orient Global Foundation from 2 April 2007, as President of the Education Fund. Professor Tooley presently directs the E.G. West Research Centre at Newcastle University which is dedicated to understanding the role of choice, competition, and entrepreneurship in the delivery of education for all.

James Tooley commented: “Our research already demonstrates that some of the poorest people in the global village are enlisting the support not of their governments or international agencies, but of entrepreneurs, to help educate their children and improve their lives. In some of the most disadvantaged places on earth, in the slums, shanty towns and villages across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, there is an extraordinary blossoming of private education. Orient Global Foundation’s Education Fund provides the means to add momentum and scale to this phenomenon.”