The winners of the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2020-21 (Tata SE Challenge), a joint initiative of the Tata group and Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC), were announced during the grand finale and virtual summit held on May 15, 2021. A seed fund corpus, established by IIM Calcutta Innovation Park was initiated this year, to which the Tata group has made a contribution of Rs. 25 Lakhs, as part of the annual corpus. Out of the 24 semi-finalists of the Tata SE Challenge, six teams were short-listed to pitch their enterprise to the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge Seed Corpus Investment Committee and other impact investors. Bastar se Bazar Tak was chosen by the committee to receive this seed funding of Rs. 25 Lakhs. Apart from the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge Seed funding, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, the business incubator of IIM Calcutta also provided a seed funding of Rs. 5 lakhs to the winner.
Bastar se Bazar Tak from Chhattisgarh (Winner), AC Biode from Cambridge/UK (1st Runners-up) and Innaumation Medical Devices from Bangalore and Vizag (2nd Runners-up) emerged as the three most promising social ventures, winning prize money of Rs. 2.5 lakhs, Rs. 2 lakhs and Rs. 1.50 lakhs, respectively.
Bastar se Bazar Tak, the winner of the challenge, is an enterprise which aims to enhance livelihoods of forest dwellers, from Bastar, Chhattisgarh. The enterprise strives to do so by reducing post-harvest losses of the forest dwellers, while supplying high quality, unadulterated, processed forest produce to urban consumers at a fair price, thereby conforming to the name of the enterprise.
AC Biode, the 1st Runners-up, is solving the problem of waste segregation. Their patented chemical recycling machines process organic waste mixed with plastic to produce pure carbon using a catalyst called “Plastalyst”. This carbon can be used to produce bioplastics thereby creating a circular economy for the growing bioplastics market.
Innaumation Medical Devices, the 2nd Runners-up, a med-tech enterprise, has developed the AUM voice prosthesis as its core product which helps in voice restoration for throat cancer patients at a very low cost. The main motto behind the company is to make science available, accessible and affordable.
Apart from the top 3 winning enterprises, the 9 social enterprises which made it to the finals were
Unipads India Pvt. Ltd., URIDU gGmbH (Audiopedia), Canfem, Biodesign Innovation Labs Private Limited, Shoegaro Fashions Private Limited, Evlogia Eco Care Private Limited, Hydrotec Solutions Pvt Ltd, Nugu Handmade and Strawcture Eco Private Limited.
The ventures were judged on five parameters – Social Impact, Innovation, Business Model, Revenue and Sustainability, Leadership and Team.
Each year during the summit, change makers, social entrepreneurs of repute and eminent personalities are invited to share their vision and experience in the development space. This year also, the Tata SE Challenge grand finale was graced by several distinguished Social Entrepreneurs and personalities like Dr. Harish Hande, Founder, SELCO, Anshu Gupta, Founder, Goonj, Shamlu Dudeja and Malika Dudeja Varma, Founders, Self Help Enterprise (SHE), Balaji Ganapathy, Chief Responsibility Officer & Global Head – CSR, Tata Consultancy Services, N. Srinath, CEO, Tata Trusts among others. These speakers shared their vision on this year’s theme “Social for Local – Social Entrepreneurship for self-reliant India”.
The winners of the Tata SE Challenge were felicitated by Mr. N. Srinath, CEO, Tata Trusts. Speaking at the occasion, Mr. N. Srinath said, “The pandemic showed us that there is need in the community. We have a lot to do, fortunately we have the capability to do it, we have the resource to do it, and we should do it now. The purpose of a platform like Tata SE Challenge is to encourage people to become social entrepreneurs and to create solutions for local problems, and today we saw a lot of work that is being done. We at Tata Trusts can enable on-ground support to social start-ups and help test some of these ideas.”
Prof. Prashant Mishra, Dean NIER, IIM Calcutta shared, “Tata Social Enterprise Challenge is a key annual feature of IIMCIP activities in partnership with the Tata group, which essentially targets to foster innovations in the social domain. The platform also endeavors to identify most promising early-stage social enterprises and create an ecosystem for social entrepreneurs, encouraging sustainable, scalable and measurable social impact.”
During the event Mr. Srikant Sastri, Chairman of the Board, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park said: “Social Entrepreneurs should leverage technology more often. Social Entrepreneurs can do a lot more by bringing in technology as the force multiplier. Social Entrepreneurs should marry technology into their work to bring out that force – that is a future we should look at.”
Out of 3,000 applications received this year from all over India, 100 applications were shortlisted from the regional rounds. These applications covered areas such as agriculture, healthcare, water and sanitation, technology and development, education and skills development, housing, handicrafts, energy and microfinance, among others. Based on the business plan presentations, 24 social enterprises were selected for the semi-finals and eventually 12 enterprises made it to the finals. Out of the 12 finalists, two enterprises were from UK and Germany. In the Grand Finale of this challenge, top 24 enterprises including the finalists & semi-finalists were felicitated. Eminent personalities shared their insights to motivate the youth towards social entrepreneurship.