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Social Innovations Needed To Solve The Problems Of The Poor: Sam Pitroda

Press Release

“India is in a unique position to solve the problems of the poor as it has the largest number of poor and huge amount of talent to address challenges faced by them. Unfortunately a lot of talent is devoted to solving the problem of the rich. Innovations are needed to solve the problem of the poor,” said Sam Pitroda as he addressed a meeting of 100 young social innovators at the first ever ‘Action For India’ Forum 2012 held at IIT Delhi on January 21,2012.

The goal of the Forum was to provide an opportunity to innovative social entrepreneurs to share opportunities and challenges they face as they try to solve the complex problems facing the nations poor and to understand how technology can make these social enterprises scale their operations more effectively. The young social innovators invited to attend were people who have made significant impact  in the field of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Livelihoods and Healthcare.  The forum was held under the leadership of leading inventor, entrepreneur and policymaker Sam Pitroda who serves as advisor to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on public information infrastructure and innovations.  

Representatives from government, the investment community, technology partners, sponsors, and social enterprise exemplars were also present. In addition to Sam Pitroda many  representatives from his office at the National Innovation Council attended the event. They were joined by representatives from the offices of progressive young political leaders such as Sachin Pilot, Minister of State for IT and Telecom, and Naveen Jindal, a Member of Parliament. 

Some of India’s most celebrated social entrepreneurs were also in attendance, helping to guide and advise the next generation. Among them were Fabindia chief William Bissell, Educational Initiatives founder Sridhar Rajagopalan, energy expert and TIDE head Swati Bhogle, rural healthcare pioneer Dr Ashwin Naik, and skill development agency chief Dilip Chenoy. Other luminaries included Aditya Natraj, founder of the Kaivalya Education Foundation, and Mark Khan, Founding Partner at Omnivore Capital.

‘Action For India’ believes that social entrepreneurs make a real difference to the everyday lives of real people and are India's best hope for long-term, large-scale social change. A billion plus people require a wide variety of solutions, and AFI believes that those solutions are already all over India, in the minds of social entrepreneurs, just waiting to be tapped.

“India is full of creative, driven, young people who have innovative solutions to the problems around them. Our aim is to identify these innovators who are addressing critical social problems and help them unleash the potential of technology to make their solutions more sustainable, affordable and scalable." says Sanjay Kadaveru, Founder and President, Action For India and a Charter Member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE). Kadaveru along with co-chairs Srikanth Sastri, Vaibhav Gupta and  Ranjani Saigal created a very effective Forum which will  serve as a catalyst for 100 Young Social Innovators, who have impacted the bottom of the pyramid by providing critical resources, so that they gain momentum to benefit a much larger audience.  

The Action For India Forum 2012 Forum was a very positive experience for the young social innovators who attended the event. "The 'invite-only' nature of AFI Forum resulted in highly constructive conversations with fellow entrepreneurs. Practically everyone in attendance shared a common goal in improving the state of the nation -- and we had all taken personal risks to do it.  This made everyone's approach and experience interesting to everyone else.  I really learned a great deal from my fellow innovators during the sector-specific panels and while networking over coffee." said Anup Akhilal, one of the young innovators who attended the event.

This highly charged event was a testament to the can do attitude of young men and women who have taken great personal risks to create social impact.  â€œI am really inspired to hear the innovative solutions that many of the young entrepreneurs here have implemented to solve some of the most complex problems facing the nation" said Pitroda who took careful notes throughout the day and promised to help the entrepreneurs in their efforts. 

Action for India also launched its growth prize competition at the event that aims at recognizing the innovators who has achieved the maximum growth within a period of 9 months. Action for India in collaboration with Dasra created a special report on the basis of the study conducted with the help of these young social innovators outlining the issues in the five sectors. The report was also released at the event. "I genuinely believe that we are at a tipping point in India’s history. The advancements in infrastructure and technology, with support from the government, will, for the first time, make it possible to bring transformational innovations to hundreds of millions of Indians who today are excluded from India’s growth" said Sanjay Kadaveru.  

To learn more about Action for India please check out their website at http://actionforindia.org.

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