Applications Open For Tata Social Enterprise Challenge

By Team YS|14th Jan 2013
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IIM Calcutta and Tata Group have joined forces to create the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge, an initiative to promote, mentor, and provide funding for India’s most promising social entrepreneurs. Launched in December, the challenge will be accepting business plan entries and nominations from social entrepreneurs across the country. Applications will be open until January 20.While serving as a platform to discover and cultivate an emerging generation of social entrepreneurs, the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge holds as one of its primary goals expanding the understanding of social entrepreneurship across the country and across the world. By using the platform to proliferate an awareness of social enterprise, Tata and IIM Calcutta hope to spark interest among the youth and thus inspire the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

“The Tata Group is known for pioneering ventures, and continuously endeavours to foster leadership and entrepreneurship through various initiatives,” noted Mr. Atul Agrawal, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Tata Services. “In line with the Group’s ethos of commitment to society, the ‘Tata Social Enterprise Challenge’ is a new initiative, to recognise promising ventures in the field of social entrepreneurship and provide them with a platform that offers them an opportunity to grow.”


To be eligible for the competition, an entrant must either have an early stage venture three years old or younger, or have an idea with proof of concept. The venture or idea can be structured as a for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid model, so long as it demonstrates an innovative and sustainable business model with a tangible social impact in India. Entrepreneurs are invited to submit a detailed Impact Proposal detailing their ventures. Based on these proposals a review team will choose a maximum of twenty ventures to be shortlisted for a three week mentorship program with renowned social entrepreneurs, mentors, and IIM Calcutta faculty.On top of the mentorship they will receive, shortlisted entries will have the opportunity to earn funding and further support for their respective social ventures. These entrepreneurs will be able to pitch their venture to some of India’s largest social venture capitalists including the Acumen Fund and Yunus Business Fund. Semifinalists will be judged by an expert panel and further narrowed into a maximum of ten finalists, who will have the opportunity to receive cash rewards and other benefits, including continued support from IIM Calcutta.

Professor Ashok Banerjee, Dean of New Initiatives and External Relations, IIM Calcutta, also commented on the event, explaining that “Responding to societal needs is one of the core institutional values of IIM Calcutta. IIM Calcutta has always encouraged its students to pursue their interest in entrepreneurship in the social sector and take up the role of flag bearers for innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. The institute expects this initiative to serve as an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to engage themselves in socially-relevant initiatives and also familiarise themselves with the work that various organisations are doing in the social sector in a sustainable manner.”

With so many social entrepreneurs noting a lack of mature mentorship as one of the greatest challenges to starting a social venture, the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge presents an opportunity for stimulus and growth in the social sector. Opportunities like this give anyone with an idea for a sustainable social business an equal opportunity to make their concept become a reality. The more we see entrepreneurs, innovators, and anyone who wants to make the world a better place participate in programs like this, the faster we will realize our visions for a better tomorrow.

To participate, nominate, or read more, log on to  http://tatasechallenge.org/ and visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/tatasechallenge.

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