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Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2014-15 recognises social enterprises

Ultrasafe ultrasound from Kolkata emerged as the second runner-up at the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge

Ultrasafe ultrasound from Kolkata emerged as the second runner-up at the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge

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L to R: Atul Agrawal, VP – Corporate Affairs, Tata Services; Abhishek Biswas and Aditya Pangte, co-founders of Ultrasafe Ultrasound; M Ashok Banerjee, Dean (New Initiatives and External Relations), IIM Calcutta; and Dr NS Rajan, Member – Group Executive Council and Chief Group Human Resources Officer, Tata Sons

The winners of the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2014-15 (TSEC), a joint initiative of the Tata group and Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC), were announced during the grand finale held recently at the IIM Calcutta campus. The challenge endeavours to find India’s most promising early-stage social enterprises, and create an ecosystem for social entrepreneurship – encouraging sustainable, scalable and measurable social impact.

SAANS from Bangalore (Winner), Godavari Women Weaver’s Services Producer Company (GWWSPC) from Mandapeta, Andhra Pradesh (first runners-up) and Ultrasafe Ultrasound from Kolkata (second runners-up) emerged as the top three most promising social ventures, winning prize money of Rs 2 lakhs, Rs 1.5 lakhs and Rs 1.25 lakhs, respectively.

During the grand finale ceremony, the second runners-up team, Ultrasafe Ultrasound, received on-the-spot seed funding of Rs 500,000 plus technical support by Glocal Healthcare Systems, a West Bengal-based healthcare company.

Abhishek Biswas and Aditya Pangte have developed Ultrasafe Ultra Sound which uses a patented technology that automatically prevents the identification of genitalia in live images produced by ultrasound machines. Talking about their project, they said, “Tata Social Enterprise Challenge is the biggest platform for social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurship is ignored if we compare it to the mainstream entrepreneurship. This is a great validation of our idea and further motivates us to do better. Thank you Tata and IIM Calcutta.”

The ceremony featured special talks by M Anshu Gupta, Founder Goonj, Dr SP Gon Chaudhuri, founder of India’s first renewable energy college – NB Institute for Rural Development (NBIRT), Dr Sabahat Azim, Founder Glocal and Dr NS Rajan, Member – Group Executive Council and Chief Group Human Resources Officer, Tata Sons.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Ashok Banerjee, Dean (New Initiatives and External Relations), IIM Calcutta, said, “The third edition of Tata Social Enterprise Challenge has been important in terms of both the quality and the quantity of impact proposals received. We are extremely happy to note that this national level contest is eagerly awaited by aspiring social entrepreneurs. The on-the-spot announcement of seed funding to one of the winners of the contest goes a long way to prove the potential of this platform.”

Felicitating the winners, Dr Rajan said, “In its third year, Tata Social Enterprise Challenge has grown into a single platform to catalyse new and promising sustainable ventures, build an enabling ecosystem for these ventures to convert their ideas into sustainable impact, create awareness of the social entrepreneurship field, and educate and mentor future champions of change. We are delighted to have IIM – Calcutta as a partner. Their expertise and mentoring proves extremely valuable in making this initiative a success. In line with the Tata group’s ethos of giving back to the society, the group through this platform endeavours to encourage innovative ideas and talent that will help in bringing about a change for the larger good of society. It is heartening to see the passion that these entrepreneurs have to make a difference and we wish them the very best of luck.”

Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2014-15 kicked-off on August 25, 2014 and invited social entrepreneurs who either had an early stage venture (not older than three years) or a promising idea with a plan that could create sustainable social impact in India. Impact proposals (detailed business plans) were invited in the areas of education, health, agriculture, technology, sanitation, and handicrafts, among others.

All the top 20 teams have been mentored by Ashoka Innovators for the Public and Villgro, and the IIM Calcutta faculty. The social VC partners of the initiative were Acumen, Ankur Capital, Yunus Social Business and Ennovent. The teams also had an opportunity to network with mentors, experts and fellow social entrepreneurs.

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