Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Third International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship, Dakshinachitra, Chennai, India - 4 & 5 Dec, 2008

Inviting you to register for the international conference on social entrepreneurship in India: 4th-5th Dec 08 near Chennai, India

We are pleased to invite you to register for UnLtd India's annual conference on social entrepreneurship in India to be held from 4th - 5th Dec 08 at Dakshinachitra near Chennai, India.

The conference is being organised by UnLtd India and Centre for Social Initiative and Management ( It is supported by CSO Partners ( and XL Results Foundation (

Building on the success of the events in 2006 and 2007, the conference this year will be buzzing with more energy and ideas for change. The event will attract 250 delegates comprising of social entrepreneurs, non profits, funding organisations, corporates and academic institutions globally.

Attached is the programme that is designed to offer inspiration, expertise, new connections, information and opportunities to you. The speakers include Nachiket Mor, President, ICICI Foundation; Madhav Chavan, Founder, Pratham; Caroline Casey, Founding CEO, Aisling Foundation; Dr. R. D. Ravindra, Chief Medical Officer, Aravind Eye Hospital and Venkat Krishnan, Founding Director, Give India. Please note that the programme will be updated as we receive confirmations from all the invited speakers.

For further details on the event, registration and sponsorship, please visit

If you would like to register online directly, please visit

Please note that the last date for registration is 25th Nov, 2008.

If you have any questions, please write to us at or call us at +91 22 3216 3287.

We hope you will join us to experience the transformational power of social entrepreneurs and to connect with the changemaker within each one of us.

Pooja Warier
UnLtd India
Tel: +91 98679 49306

Find out more about UnLtd India:
Watch our video:

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Catch them Young!" - develop future philanthropists

You might have heard of the catch phrase 'catch them young' that marketing gurus use especially for consumer products. How about applying the same to the charity and good values. When i was in school in late 80s, I remember that a major disaster happened in India. In those days, natural disasters in India where almost like once a decade. Our School decided to participate in helping and decided that they should engage children will social phenomena and activities. Those days Re. 1 and so was a big amount. Everyone in school was given these pre-printed receipts by school of Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10 and in school assembly students were asked to go around their neighbourhood and raise funds using these. There was also an exciting part put in it saying that for each class, top 3 fund raisers will be recognised. I can see how this exercise benefited me. To name a few things:
- engaged me with society early on
- taught me the principles of generosity and giving
- helped me open up and be able to talk to complete strangers (people don't bite if you say hello to them)
- there is competition in everything
- hard work and sincerity
- Trust begins by myself putting trust in others, first (school trusted us that we will not pocket the money and that unconsciously forced us not to steal)
- even small amounts help those in dire need
- marketing and sales
- life has things beyond education, games, sports and co-curricular activities
- importance of giving and encouraging others to give
- charity begins at home (I remember selling 1st of my tickets to my parents and next few ones to my next door neighbours who actually family since we shared food on daily basis and practically lived in each others' homes)

With so many natural and man-made disasters happening in India every year now, one can very well use this idea. If this concept is introduced in schools across India, we can help develop future philanthropists. Catch them Young!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why does Govt give sops to industries that do not matter?

Everyone has heard about the software boom, BPO boom and Outsourcing boom and how it is helping India. The software companies, BPO, KPO, LPO, Outsourcing advocates, Nasscom Foundation, CII shout from the rooftops that we should continue income tax benefits for this industry as it is good for India's poor. The same CII and FICCI said the same slogans for Exporters in last decade trying to fool us all and continue the income tax benefits to few privileged Exporters saying that export is what is helping India alleviate poverty. Good thing is govt did not listen and poor people won and now exporters have to pay taxes. Its time Govt does not listen to these lobbyists who this time are advocating for software and outsourcing companies. All these companies need to be treated the same way as the rest and no incentives are required for them. Look at some of the facts below:

- For Mar 2007, Software and Outsourcing companies put together exported $32 billion worth of services while the manufacturing and agriculture sector together exported $160 billion worth of goods
- Today, IT (Information technology) and ITES (Information technology enabled services) companies together employ a total of 25,00,000 persons all across India while just the security guard industry in India employees 63,00,000 persons. By 2010, entire IT & ITES industry will employ 29,50,000 persons.
- Entire ITES industry employs, 5,00,000 persons while Reliance Retail alone will employ 5,00,000 persons in next 2 years

India needs to create 60,00,000 jobs a year to be able to keep unemployment below 10%. After 25 year of software and outourcing industry growth, they have only employed 15,00,000, a miniscule 60,000 new jobs every year while we need 100 times more jobs than that to employ our growing adult population.

Software and outsourcing industry is creating jobs for middle and higher middle class while we actually need lots of new jobs for lower middle class and poor people. Security guard industry, retail industry, petrol pumps, food processing, restaurant are the industries which are creating jobs for these people and also in quantities that we need. Should govt not be giving incentives to these industries?

Instead of blocking foreign investors to come into retail sector, if we allow them, we can create millions of new jobs for really poor people. Imagine Walmart, Tesco, Metro if are allowed to setup stores in India, they will employ at least 1,00,00,000 in less than 3 years in their stores and on the manufacturing floors of their suppliers.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Have Govts & Civil Society really failed at reducing poverty in India?

We keep blaming Govt after Govt, NGO after NGO about not alleviating poverty. Can poverty be really eliminated? Has any country achieved this utopia, even our favourite comparison - USA? If eliminating poverty is an ideal which we should all aim for but we all know is not practical, than reduction of poverty year-on-year is something we should aim for and evaluate our Govt and Civil Society on this parameter - reduction of poverty, rather than poverty alleviation.

A simple direct comparison between INDIA and USA on poverty shows us that after all, we haven't done so badly. We are only 9.61% behind USA in terms of poverty. They have had 233 years to work on it as against 61 years we have had since Independence. A lot remains to be done. We definitely need to bring down poverty to single digit percentage and looks like we should be able to achieve this by 2025, if not 2015. So we should take a moment and pat our Govts and Civil Society for their contribution in making this happen. It is really critical to take real stock of the situation and then move forward.

Comparison criteria INDIA USA
Years since Independence 61 233
Total population 1,129,866,154 301,139,947
Poverty line INR 1,500 $ 5,250
%age poor 22.00% 12.39%
Poor population 248,570,554 37,300,000

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Why is current increasing inflation good for India?

We always think inflation is bad. Increasing inflation is worse. Inflation make things expensive and cost of living goes up. But just like there is good cholestrol and bad cholestrol, there is good inflation and bad inflation. This time around the inflation that has almost doubled in last few months in India is good inflation. Why is that?

This time around, the increasing inflation is mainly due to increasing food prices. I often wondered as to how is it that i used to be able to purchase a loaf of bread for Rs. 8 about 5 years ago and even today while prices of petrol, car and other items keep increasing. Also input item prices for farm production kept going up but food prices remained pretty much the same. That made me wonder as to everyone talks about India being an agricultural economy and still in 2008, 60% of Indian population is employed in farming or dependent on farming for their livelihoods. Now if bread loaf price or milk price is same for last 5 or 10 years, would farmers not become poorer and poorer. It always made me sad.

Since last few months, I am seeing milk and food prices go up. I am very happy. There were some protests by political parties about increase in milk price by Re. 1 but no one would protest increase in car prices or school fees or price of other products. I am so glad that the political parties coy to instigate people to protest against milk price increase by a mere Re. 1 did not work. If milk price will not increase for 10+ years, how would farmers and others dependent on animal husbandary for their livelihoods ever come out of poverty? That Re. 1 increase is not going to make any difference to pockets or milk consumption or spending capacity of 35 crore middle class Indians but it is going to make a big difference in helping alleviate poverty among the bottom 26% of Indian population. Can't we even let go of some Rs. 30 a month to eliminate poverty in India??? Please note that after farming, 2nd largest section of Indians are dependent on animal husbandary especially selling milk.

So the food price increase this time is GOOD. It means better prices to farmers for their produce. Better prices for produce means, farmers make some profit and in some cases more profit than before. Bottom 60% of India gets richer and this 60% includes most of the 26% below poverty line population in India. So I am ecstatic. Are you? If you are an India, you will be and will stop protesting this increase in inflation but start rejoicing it.

Critiques will say, food price increase is not being passed on to farmers, middle men, merchants and others are making merry while farmers are getting nothing. They are wrong. Even when milk prices went up by Re. 1, farmers got Re. 0.50 out of it, which is a lot. If you don't believe me go ask the family that keeps 1 or 2 cows or buffalo. This food prices increase is percolating down to farmers. I can say that as i am also a farmer and i am fetching better prices for my produce. So critiques beware.

Pl check with the farmer you know, milkman you know and send me comments.

Ask the politicians to get off the case of inflation this time. Again they are trying to instigate the public to get election gains for upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2009. India, let us celebrate our farmers getting richer, our cow rearing families being better off, our poverty reducing. Let us stop politicians from stopping Indians coming out of poverty.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Swades Ki Khoj 2008

We have just commenced promotion for Swades Ki Khoj 2008. Our initiative to provide young graduates between the ages of 21 and 28 with the opportunity to spend a year living and working in a rural area and to possibly discover themselves.

The first cohort had 14 young people who have been spending the past year with an organisation located in one of these states - Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, UP, MP and Uttarakhand.

We would be delighted if you could pass this on to young people whom you think might be interested. If you know of an organisation that might be willing to host these young people for a year and would we willing to invest time in them, then please let us know.

V K Madhavan

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Inviting applications from young social changemakers

Change Looms is a program that recognizes, encourages and supports the exceptional achievements of young people who are actively promoting social change in society. Applications are currently invited for Change Looms as well as other Pravah programs for youth. As many of you are working on issues related to social entrepreneurship in India, we would appreciate it if you could use your networks to spread the word about this opportunity to potential candidates.

Selection criteria: Candidates should be...

  • between the ages of 17-27
  • the founder and leader of an initiative addressing an issue of social justice
  • running an initiative which is youth-led, independent from existing organizations, on-going and in operation for at least 6 months, with long term plans for social change
  • implementing work directly on the ground
  • have working knowledge of English and/or Hindi
The last date for receiving applications for the 2008 batch is 31st March 2008. Application forms and relevant background information is attached.


CHANGE LOOMS is a support programme for young people who have started their own initiative for social change. Change Looms is a joint venture between Pravah ( & and Ashoka: Innovators for the Public (, supported by the Youth and Civil Society Initiative of the Sir Ratan Tata Trust ( and Global Fund for Children ( More information about these organizations can be found on their websites.

The focus of Change Looms is to facilitate your learning and development as young people leading social change.

The key components of the Change Looms program are:

Development and Assessment Center (DAC):

Selected candidates will be invited to the DAC in July 2008. The DAC is a one-week residential workshop where you meet other youth from across the country to build your skills, refine your ideas and programme designs, reflect on yourself as a leader of social change, and receive feedback from peers and experiences social sector leaders. In the DAC, you develop a learning plan which you submit to Change Looms as your proposal for participating in the Learning Phase.

The Learning Phase:

Based on the learning plans submitted after the DAC, selected candidates will be invited for a six month Learning Phase. You are encouraged to work with a mentor, participate in collective learning events, go for exposure visits, invite resource people to engage with you, and participate in peer learning with other Change loomers. You will receive guidance and financial support to enable you to implement your learning plan.

Public Recognition:

Selected candidates are invited for a Public Recognition Event in Delhi.

Networking and further opportunities:

After completing the learning plan, you can apply for Organizational Development support from Change Looms, which includes a financial component of Rs. 40,000. As Change Looms alumni, you will also get access to other opportunities through different programs and partners.

NOTE: Change Looms is not a funding agency, and any financial assistance is purely linked to accelerating learning and development of youth leaders and their organizations.

Selection Criteria

Candidates should be...

  • between the ages of 17-27
  • the founder and leader of an initiative addressing an issue of social justice
  • running an initiative which is youth-led, independent from existing organizations, on-going and in operation for at least 6 months, with long term plans for social change
  • implementing work directly on the ground
  • have working knowledge of English and/or Hindi

Individuals or teams can apply. If applying as a team, you must designate an anchor to be the lead person in the Change Looms process. The anchor is expected to bring the learnings back to his/her team. As of now, Change Looms does not entertain applications from for-profit enterprises, one-off or event based initiatives, online initiatives, and support organizations

Lillian Strand

Change Looms Coordinator

C-24B, 2nd FLoor, Kalkaji
New Delhi 110019
91 11 2644 0619, 2621 3918, 2629 1354

Youth Social Enterprise Initiative (YSEI) announces a call for proposals to the YSEI Fellowship 2008

Youth Social Enterprise Initiative (YSEI) is a high-engagement social venture program for emerging young social entrepreneurs in developing countries. Through its Fellowship Programme, YSEI provides young social entrepreneurs with support in four key areas:

Financing: Up to USD15,000
Knowledge: Essential development knowledge & tools on social entrepreneurship
Mentorship: Technical consulting through mentorship
Networks: Access to diverse networks

The Fellowship Programme consists in a competitive selection process to provide support to young social entrepreneurs.

20 workshop finalists would be identified to attend the upcoming YSEI Capacity Building workshop scheduled for May 2008. The deadline for submission is the 28th of Mar 2008.

To apply, please visit the following link ( and proceed to register and complete your online application.

The purpose of the Capacity Building Workshop is to both identify the batch of YSEI Fellows 2008 and provide capacity building support to all the finalists participating. This would entail refining the workshop finalists business plans, conducting further due diligence and nurturing a network of young social entrepreneurs and mentors.

YSEI aims to invest in young visionaries who have big ideas and who need crucial startup support to turn their ideas into action. The following are characteristics of ventures we aim to invest in:

* Ventures are led by youth from developing countries aged between 20 to 35 years
* Innovative social ventures with blended values (creation economic, social and/or environmental value components)
* Information & communication technologies (ICTs) are recognized as an integral part of the venture/ solution-provided
* Ventures that are specifically designed to solve social or environmental problems
* Ventures that have at least 6 months implementation

This round would only cover the Asia-region (East and South) as YSEI is in the midst of exploring replication of the program with other partners in the other regions. The replication of the program is expected to happen in the near future.

Although we encourage you to complete the application online, if you encounter problems, please download the application form and submit it to
The deadline for submissions is 28th Mar 2008.

The workshop finalists results are expected to be announced by the 10th April 2008.

The applications will be judged based on the YSEI Program criteria.

Yours sincerely,
YSEI Secretariat
Peerapond Chutisuntarakul

Coordinator | TRN Institute (
T: +662.938.2636 F: +662.938.1877
Mobile: +6686.973.2906