A discussion with Mahindra to help spark the rise

This Saturday a bunch of us from CKS, including Aditya Sood, Ekta Ohri, Namrata Mehta and myself, will be attending a discussion on better facilitating rural entrepreneurship in India, organized by Mahindra’s Rise team. This discussion is the first of a series of three meetups, and will focus on the question of how best to deliver services to entrepreneurs in rural India.

First, a little history: Spark the Rise was born in August 2011 as a campaign and platform to nurture social entrepreneurship in India. In essence, it is an ideas competition where anyone who has a project that will help drive social change and help ‘India to rise’ can submit their ideas related to any sector or field – technology, infrastructure, transportation, power, agriculture, healthcare and more – and through a series of stages of refinement and then public voting, winners are chosen who receive funding from Mahindra. In the year since it was launched, In less than a year, the Rise team has received over 6,000 project submissions and featured 1,463 projects on sparktherise.com. Community support for the initiative has been hugely positive, with the involvement of 1,032 supporters, 740 volunteers, 473 experts,151 funders, 3,54,000 votes cast and 2 million people engaged on their social media and web platforms.

However, Spark the Rise goes well beyond the ideas competition and actually aims to create a community and network of social entrepreneurs in India, involving experts, supporters, enablers, funders, volunteers and more. The team is now focusing on building an ecosystem of change agents and influencers in the social innovation sphere in India, the basis for Saturday’s discussion session. In so doing, they aim to take the dialogue further, create a platform for the sharing of ideas, and arrive at better means of supporting innovation and entrepreneurship for the public interest using dialogic and collaborative.

I was very pleased to be identified as a ‘change agent’ by the team, and look forward to attending what looks to be an excellent and very interesting discussion, so stay tuned – more on this to follow.

About Ayesha Vemuri

Ayesha Vemuri is responsible for thought leadership and outreach efforts at CKS. She has undergraduate degree in Visual Art from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she also studied such varied subjects as biology, literature and the humanities. At CKS, she is responsible for curating the Design Public blog, managing our various social media platforms, organizing Pecha Kucha Nights and contributing to the intellectual content of the Design Public Conclave and other CKS initiatives. Find her on twitter at @ayeshavemuri.
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