Government of Bihar invites Social Entrepreneurs for partnerships

By Team YS|29th May 2013
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Bihar has more than 100 million inhabitants and is India’s second poorest state. Ninety percent of the population lives in rural areas and the state’s attempts at remedying the situation have been futile. Social entrepreneurs and civil society organizations have struggled to apply their innovations because of poor reach and lack of demand-side uptake, further exacerbating the problem.


Now the Government of Bihar and the World Bank have come together to build a community based institutional platform Jeevika that will provide financial capital as well as non pecuniary assistance to enable social innovators bring about a quantum change in Bihar. Jeevika is also aiming at mobilising one million women into Self Help Groups (SHGs). Over the next five years they plan to reach 15 million households.

Although, several private sector and non-profit organizations have translated new ideas into tangible social impacts they were unable to scale-up often for lack of resources and access to big public institutions. These innovations end up being largely localized. To address this issue, Jeevika launched a unique market-place called ‘Bihar Innovation Forum’ in 2007. The objective was to find solutions to improve rural livelihoods beyond established channels through a transparent and competitive process. 25 innovations were featured in the forum and given public recognition. Some of these awardees were also given an opportunity to scale-up their innovations through the community institutions. One of their successful innovations PRADAN was able to increase the profitability of rice 2.5 times. Participating farmers have witnessed a productivity increase of 86% in rice and 72% in wheat.

Encouraged by the success of first innovation forum, Jeevika recently launched the second edition of the forum.The government has rolled out a major outreach plan with roadshows across the country to call for proposals from public, social entrepreneurs and civil society organizations in 8 livelihood themes: Agriculture, Livestock, Financial Services, Rural Energy, ICT Based Solutions, Skill Development & Non-Farm Sector, Improved Access to Entitlements and, Better Access to Services.

Winners of the forum will be provided direct financial support, mentorship and a chance to scale-up their innovations using the institutional platform. In addition, these entrepreneurs will get access to a network of other partners like impact investors, foundations, incubation agencies and donor agencies. It has also forged partnerships with the major players in the social entrepreneurship space such as Gates Foundation, Acumen Fund, ennovent, Ashoka Foundation, Intellecap Impact Investment Network and others.

If you believe that you can transform the lives of the rural poor in Bihar and your innovations can lead to sustainable and scalable rural livelihood solutions, then the Innovation Forum is the right platform for you. If your ambitions to scale are being held back by lack of access to rural poor or local governments’ support, Apply Now!

Video of BIF: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4QnH9m8UtQ&feature=player_embedded

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