Thursday, November 13, 2008

XLRI bags top prizes at IIM Indore contest

More news on something I blogged about before now reported in the Telegraph

XLRI excels at turning rural dreams into reality
- B-school projects Parichay & Swavalamban bag top prizes at IIM Indore contest

Jamshedpur, Nov. 11: Ideas born at XLRI School of Business and Human Resources have clicked again. And this time nationally.

Two projects engineered by the students of the premier B-school beat 101 entries from across the country to bag the top prizes at Kalpavriksha — IIM Indore’s much acclaimed social business plan contest — on November 8.

The annual event is described as a forum for self-sustainable business plans with the potential to make a difference to society and XLRI indeed made a difference.

Parichay, the project that bagged the first prize, began six months ago. It is a gateway to the market for rural and tribal artisans. It was launched with the objective to revive traditional art by giving them a contemporary makeover and to ensure direct access to the market for artisans.

By winning the Indore contest, Parichay has secured its place in the semi-finals of the Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC) slated for February 2009 at Foster School of Business in Seattle, US.

The XLRI project that won the second prize at the meet is Swavalamban. Under the project, students used an ox-driven generator to light up homes in remote villages.

Swavalamban has already bagged orders from the Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency and the Tata Motors corporate social responsibility department. The National Thermal Power Corporation has also ordered 200 units at a research level.

Both the projects have been supported by the XLRI Social Entrepreneurship Trust, which was established to promote and support students and alumni of the institute. Talking to The Telegraph, Madhukar Shukla, the chairperson of the trust, said: “We are glad that the work of our students has been recognised. This will prompt us to motivate those keen on becoming entrepreneurs.”

Ankur Saboo, one of the members associated with Swavalamban, said he felt very proud. “I had a gut feeling we would win because people had liked our project and we had already bagged a few orders,” he said.

The panel of judges at the contest included representatives from organisations such as Aavishkaar India Micro Venture Capital Fund, and India Development Gateway. The winner and the first runner-up received cash prizes of Rs 120,000 and Rs 80,000, respectively. The members associated with the projects would also get mentorship (guidance) from, a social enterprise, and India Development Gateway (IDG), an organisation of equity investment.

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