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.