Global Social Venture Competition 2009 picks its winner


The Global Social Venture Competition, a MBA social venture competition that partners several different universities around the world, wrapped up this past weekend at UC Berkeley Haas Business School.  The GSVC is one of the most competitive gatherings in the social enterprise world, bringing together business plans that look at both profit and social impact. The winner was a project from Indonesia called EcoFaeBrick, which produces “high quality and low price bricks by utilizing the abundant cow dung” available in the region.

Several of the finalists had their focus on the Indian context:

Avi Clinics, Haas School of Business

Avi Clinics envisions transforming rural healthcare in India by using telemedicine. Merely 3% of India’s qualified medical staff lives in rural India compared to 70% of its overall population. The current rural public healthcare infrastructure is woefully inadequate. Moreover, qualified doctors are reluctant to establish private practice in rural areas because of poor civil infrastructure. As a result, there is an abundance of qualified doctors in urban areas, where only highly specialized doctors eventually become successful in establishing profitable private practices. Avi Clinics intends to bridge the gap between rural patients who seek quality healthcare and the qualified urban doctors who struggle to sustain profitable practices. Avi Clinics will enable doctors in urban centers to provide medical services to rural patients over a wireless long distance network called WiLDNet, which was pioneered by Professor Eric Brewer of UC Berkeley.

Pioneer Healthcare Services, Indian School of Business

Many rural areas in India do not have accessible, affordable and professional healthcare facilities. In an effort to address the concern of this majority of population, we propose building a network of hospitals in rural areas that will be served by a 100-bed central city hospital in a “Hub and Spoke” model. The city hospital at Chennai, a city in the state of Tamil Nadu, India will serve two 25-bed rural centers, one each at Ponneri and Guduvancheri, two villages near Chennai. This is a high-volume low-cost model with emphasis on maximum resource utilization. Extensive use of Telemedicine and 24-hr ambulance support will be the predominant means of connectivity. Local people would be trained as paramedical personnel for generating local employment. The total initial investment is estimated to be USD 3.8 million with an ROI of 36.11% over five years. The SROI has been calculated to be at 497%.

Mauka, Columbia Business School

Despite the much talked about growth phenomenon in India, the population below poverty line remains at 25% and stems from symptoms of a larger problem – unemployment, now at a staggering 7.2%. Ironically, due to the absence of an organized semi-skilled sector, there is a dearth of people available for semi-skilled jobs. Mauka thus aims to make a direct positive impact on these unemployed urban youth. Through the formation of a centralized call center, Mauka will assemble a cadre of individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds that have completed training programs through our partner organizations in any one of three specified trades: electrical work, plumbing, and auto repair. Our call center’s target segment includes corporations and households in need of reliable semi-skilled technicians. As such, Mauka aims to bridge the gap between some of India’s harshest extremes through a multi-fold plan to uplift urban youth through guaranteed job placement post-training.

UMMEED, S P Jain Institute of Management and Research

Menstrual hygiene has been an unattended basic need, shrouded by myths and taboos. Majority of Indian women use cloth and other unhygienic means for protection during menstruation which often leads to vaginal infections, skin irritations and embarrassing stains in public. It also results in increased dropout rate of girls from schools, and decreased productivity in workplaces. UMMEED proposes a socially viable and commercially sustainable business model that runs on the principle ‘of the women, by the women, for the women’. We provide easy access to affordable sanitary napkins and create awareness among rural women on menstrual hygiene. Involving rural women right from production to distribution, we empower them economically by providing employment opportunities while also creating a huge social impact by providing access to better health conditions. Our model gains a competitive edge over local manufacturers in terms of quality and over MNCs in terms of affordability and accessibility.


Updates from around the world