New Delhi, India, 6 November 2012 – The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum, in partnership with the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation announced Anshu Gupta, Founder and Director of Goonj, as the winner of the 2012 India Social Entrepreneur of the Year award. The award was conferred in New Delhi at a celebration attended by over 200 participants in the presence of Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
Goonj channels excess resources in urban households to impoverished rural and disaster-prone areas. Materials include clothes, furniture and electronic equipment. The company collects and delivers 1,000 tons of material every year through an extensive network of 500 volunteers and 250 partners across 21 states of India. Goonj also supports village and slum communities in infrastructure/local development projects.
More than 180 applicants entered the eighth annual Social Entrepreneur of the Year selection process for India, and three finalists emerged after several stages of rigorous assessment. An independent panel of pre-eminent judges met on 6 November to select the winner. This year’s judges included Sudha Pillai, Member Secretary, Planning Commission, India; Shobhana Bhartia, Member of Parliament; Chairperson and Editorial Director, HT Media, India; Harish Hande, Managing Director, SELCO Solar Light, India, and a Ramon Magsaysay Award Winner for year 2011; Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Switzerland; Yogesh C. Deveshwar, Chairman, ITC, India; Neelam Chhiber, Managing Director, Industree/Mother Earth, India, and last year’s winner of the award; and Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson, Arghyam Foundation, India.
“India continues to be one of our strongest countries in putting forth a large number of high-quality social enterprises,” said Hilde Schwab. “This is also the first year in which all Social Entrepreneur of the Year finalists have impact or activities concentrated in remote regions where the need for healthcare, skills development and infrastructure remains acute,” she added.
The India winner enters the Schwab Foundation’s global community of 230 social innovators. Social Entrepreneurs are driven by their mission to create substantial social change and promote inclusive growth, developing new products and service models that benefit underserved communities.
Sameer Sawarkar and Rajeev Kumar, Neurosynaptic Communications (NCPL), Bangalore: NCPL is a technology provider for remote medical diagnostics and telemedicine, working with partners to bring healthcare to areas with no clinic or hospital access. NCPL’s solution enables patient data transmission and high-quality remote medical consultations. In the last year alone, ReMeDi has enabled 100,000 paid medical consultations, in which 75% of the patients did not have to travel beyond their village for healthcare access. Villagers experience an average cost savings of US$ 6 per visit.
Vanita Viswanath, Udyogini, New Delhi: Udyogini provides business training to marginalized and often illiterate women in some of the most backward parts of the country. Focusing on existing value chains primarily related to agriculture and natural resources, Udyogini builds capacity for local resource management and facilitates market linkages; rural communities report a 50%-100% increase in family incomes. To date, 25,000 rural producers have been impacted and 85 micro-enterprises have been incubated and launched.