Cohort Announcements by The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation

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Nudging and nurturing top talent to solve for India’s most pressing challenges

Bengaluru, November 30, 2021:  Empowering entrepreneurial energy in the development sector, The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation (The/Nudge CSI) is actively incubating and accelerating high-potential startups that can catalyze social transformation. The/Nudge CSI has today announced the winners/finalists of six of their programmes – Cisco Agri Challenge, The/Nudge Incubator Cohort, Meri Mitti Challenge, Facebook Pragati Cohort, The/Nudge Accelerator, and State Street Fund.

Like other sectors, the development sector too must be disrupted by startups. A new breed of audacious nonprofit founders (both technology based startups and non-technology based) who have innovation, speed and scale as their DNA are at the core of the systems change required.

The/Nudge CSI backs such disruptors whose breakthrough work will take us closer to the vision of a poverty-free India, with a bottom-up approach in solving problems for the underserved and underprivileged – in livelihoods, agriculture, healthcare, education, water sustainability and other areas.

  1. Cisco Agri-Challenge

The/Nudge’s Cisco Agri Challenge calls for solutions that ‘enhance profitability of small scale farmers’, since ~ 86% of farmers are small and marginal. Solutions with a potential to reach 10 million people, that deliver positive economic, social and environmental value compete for an INR 2 Cr prize purse. Over a period of one year, an ecosystem of producers, experts, investors, enablers and supporters have come together to accelerate learning and help refine these solutions.

This year, the following startups have been finalized, the first 5 teams from which will win INR 15 lakhs as Milestone Grant whereas other teams will be wildcard entrants:

  1. Bioprime: BioPrime’s goal is to offer relief to farmers worldwide, struggling with crop loss, temperature fluctuations, drought, resilient insects and diseases. To achieve this, they are developing effective & affordable Agri biologicals with time-proven biomolecules, life-friendly chemistry, smart material and energy use.
  2. Takachar: Takachar is on a mission to fight climate change by transforming massive amounts of waste biomass into marketable products around the world. Using a novel concept called oxygen-lean torrefaction, Takachar has developed and patented the design of small-scale, low-cost, portable equipment to convert waste biomass into solid fuel, fertilizer, and other speciality chemicals.
  3. Ecozen: Ecozen is innovating at the intersection of clean-tech & internet of things. They aspire to disrupt the way perishables are handled across the value chain and build an intelligent and completely automated after-sales service solution in the long run. They have two products- Ecofrost & Ecotron.
  4. S4S Technologies: The majority of farmers in India face the issue of proper storage post-harvesting period, as a result of which their crop does not get sold and eventually gets deteriorated.S4S technologies accept grade B and grade C produce from farmers for dehydration.
  5. Whrrl: Whrrl solves the problem of post-harvest warehouse receipt finance by creating solutions for both supply and demand sides of the product. Their Blockchain-enabled tech solutions reduce banking frauds in the warehouse receipt finance enabling banks to increase their lending books while facilitating easy access to finance to farmers in a real-time environment.
  6. Khethworks: Khethwork’s mission is to give small plot farmers across the world an unprecedented level of control over their lives and livelihoods through affordable and high-quality technology. We are driven by impact–we succeed only if farmers grow more, earn more, and provide more for their families and communities.
  7. Dvara E-Dairy Solutions: follows a digitised cattle approach to solve the problems of small and marginal dairy farmers and the financial service providers (lending and insurers). The innovative solutions from Dvara E-Dairy are based on established veterinary science and advanced practices. They leverage new-age technologies to digitally assess the cattle and provide cattle specific recommendations.
  8. EmerTech Innovations Pvt Ltd: Aims to address the challenges faced by farmer collectives, like spillage and spoilage of produce occurring across the supply chain, lack of transparency at farmer level, lack of access to private insurance or credit, etc., through their blockchain platform – AgroTrust. The platform offers inclusive features, using which, farmers can see their produce till the retail store, their total income and receivables, and plot-wise/crop-wise information.
  1. Incubator Cohort

The/Nudge Incubator is a catalyst for the nonprofit sector, nudging capable and committed problem solvers to work on some of the toughest problems faced by India’s poor. The aim of The/Nudge incubator is to incubate high potential nonprofit across, giving them access to a powerful ecosystem of mentors, knowledge partners, technology partners, policy circle and legal network access, investors and other partners.

  1. Alokit: Alokit’s vision is to see all children in India learning in high-quality schools led by empowered leaders in India. In order to achieve this vision, they support school leaders (Principals / HMs and education officers) to improve their leadership practices which in turn leads to improvement in school processes and culture. This results in change and improvement of teaching-learning practices which ultimately improves student outcomes.
  2. Barefoot Edu: Barefoot edu involves in whole school transformation (direct implementation with low fee schools) + Incubator for school principals (amplify leadership) + Principal App (self-learning modules). Intervention delivered via online workshops, school coaching and peer learning circles.
  3. DK Health Access Foundation: DK Health Access Foundation is developing a web based application called सुलभ इलाज (Sulabh Ilaaj) which analyses an individual’s clinical and medical health data, predicts the individual’s health risk and provides access to appropriate healthcare services.
  4. EkiBeki: Ekibeki identifies traditional Indian crafts which are at the risk of extinction, focusses on reviving them through design, skills and market interventions and builds self-sustaining artisan clusters.
  5. Eklavya Foundation: Eklavya provides mentorship, training and guidance to first generation learners from marginalized communities to pursue higher education from premier Higher Education Institutes.
  6. Esther: Esther offers an immersive 5 month program to put women (in their final year of graduation) on an accelerated trajectory to be workforce ready and streamline their job discovery process. There are 4 pillars to the program – 21st century + Life skills, career readiness, mentorship and experiential learning (this is the capstone of the program – culminating in an internship or a project experience).
  7. Fortify Health: Fortify Health focuses specifically on fortifying atta with iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12 to address the issue of iron deficiency anaemia.
  8. NETRI: India’s first incubator & aggregator for women in the political ecosystem in India. They assist women to run for elections, choose supporting political careers as professionals and also start their own political action units at grassroots.
  9. Sajhe Sapne: Sajhe Sapne undertakes Training (followed by guaranteed placement) in year-long career certification courses delivered through residential and day-training centers called Sapna Centers in villages. All of the course curriculum follows four consistent pillars – English Language, Digital Literacy, Career Intelligence, and Specialized Skills
  10. Saturday Art Class: Saturday Art Class integrates social-emotional learning with creative exploration and expression into the classroom curriculum of schools that serve children from low-income communities, so that all children have a safe space to develop awareness, compassion and creativity irrespective of their backgrounds. 
  11. Svatanya: Svatanya India Foundation works with women from slums in Delhi with skill development, livelihood generation and upcycling to minimise waste & environmental impact
  12. The Apprentice Project: The Apprentice Project offers a choice-based curriculum across Coding/ Makerspaces, Visual arts and Performance arts delivered via WhatsApp.
  13. Tisser Artisan’s Trust: Tisser Trust works with women in artisan clusters, like Varli in Maharashtra and Madhubani in Bihar. They train groups of women for around 40-45 hours on the art on various mediums (drawing and painting with pencil, paint etc on paper, clay, cloth, etc), and then grade them based on ability.
  14. Watavaran: Waatavaran will leverage existing technology (satellite imagery, mobile application) to establish ownership over land and forest of forest dwelling communities and also empower and transform their leadership through intense training programs.
  15. We are India’s Children (WAIC): Proposed technology solution called the Child Lifecycle Management Solution to digitise, manage, track, and audit the ground level processes among CCIs and relevant government bodies, to manage the status of all vulnerable children who reach CCIs, and to ensure the movement of children into the legal adoption pool where applicable, giving all children a chance to reach their forever family.
  1. Meri Mitti Challenge

With the Meri Mitti Challenge, The/Nudge aims to support rural organizations to develop innovative solutions and strengthen existing interventions designed to improve land access and ownership for women in rural communities.

  1. Madhari Rural Action Group (MARAG): MARAG works with Pastoralists, Dalits, Tribals, youth, women, children and other marginalized groups and communities since 1994, in the state of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Community participation and mobilization has been its core strength. It works on the issues of education, governance and livelihoods. Since inception, it has formed and supported five sangathans across the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and at national level (covering 10 states). Through these networks, we have an outreach to at least 60000 members.
  2. Ayang Trust: Ayang Trust’s work is based in Majuli which is a flood-affected district of Assam. Keeping women at the forefront, Ayang Trust’s intervention is focused on two key areas which are Skill development of farmers and artisans and building women producers’ organizations with strong market linkages and high-quality production capacity.
  3. Amhi Amchya Arogyasathi: Amhi Amchya Arogyasathi (literal translation-We for Our Health) was a culmination of a journey that started with Tarun Shanti Sena by the group of social activists from Vidarbha region of Maharashtra State in India. AAA was established with the vision to build an organized dynamic community which has internalized justice and equity as its basic tenements and is sensitive towards all life forms.
  4. DARPAN: Darpan is a women led organization registered in the year 1998. Since its inception, Darpan has been mainly working on the rights of women and children. Under this, initiatives are being taken for the economic and social empowerment of women.
  5. Pradeepan: Pradeepan established in 1995 in Madhya Pradesh has been working on women’s rights, specifically land rights with the goal to provide 5500 tribal families their forest land rights. It has in the past helped 162 women obtain forest land leases, 36 women their rights to ancestral land and also helped 62 women with residential land leases.
  1. Facebook Pragati

Facebook Pragati is a CSR initiative of Meta (earlier Facebook) powered by The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation to incubate and accelerate, early stage women led non-profits that are working in the areas of women entrepreneurship and to drive awareness and adoption of technology among women in India.

  1. FMCH INDIA:  Bridging access and awareness gaps around malnutrition and maternal health in vulnerable communities innovatively, every day!
  2. Esther: Enabling female graduates from peri-urban areas enter India’s workforce
  3. EKIBEKI: Ekibeki is a hybrid organization with the Vision of livelihood generation for artisans with focus on women and rural youth by helping them to become creators of sustainable and largely handmade products
  4. Sajhe Sapne: End-to-end career support for young women from rural India to launch and grow in modern day jobs
  5. Tisser Artisan India: Creating a base for skilled & sustainable rural employment and preserving India’s traditional handicrafts
  6. SVATANYA India Foundation: Responsible Social enterprise, crafting innovative, high quality, conscious products for consumers while upskilling & financially empowering underprivileged women

The/Nudge Accelerator is the first of its kind ₹40 crore startup fund designed to accelerate nonprofits that are ready to grow and scale. Announcing cohort 8, supported by Mphasis, Skoll Foundation, HCL Foundation, Meta (earlier Facebook), and State Street Corporation.

  1. India Development Review: By providing access to relevant expertise, amplifying diverse models/approaches, and disseminating learnings regionally, IDR increases access to evidence-based knowledge. This helps stakeholders take more informed decisions, leading to greater impact.
  2. Leadership For Equity: Envisioning Public Education Systems that REFUSE to let children down
  3. NavGurukul: Enabling each and every student to have access to quality higher education leading to aspirational jobs
  4. FMCH INDIA: Bridging access and awareness gaps around malnutrition and maternal health in vulnerable communities innovatively, every day!
  5. Mantra Social Services: The uniqueness and strength of our program lies in its holistic and systemic approach to education transformation – seen in our focus on developing the capacity of the ecosystem, engaging in effective and long-term collaboration with government agencies and civil society organizations in improving the agency of education leaders to lead transformation on their own. This is enabled by the use of technology platforms (like DIKSHA) across our interventions.
  6. Jaljeevika: Jaljeevika develops systemic change intervention through a hybrid model in which physical interaction with farmer and institutions and a digital platform work in close relation. Physical AquaSchools develop farmers’ skills and bring micro- entrepreneurship with support of mainstream program, whereas IT enabled e-learning modules, collaborations, a set of micro services enables local community to scale their business models.
  7. Gramhal Foundation: Gramhal solves the problem of information and network asymmetry faced by more than 118 million smallholder farmers in India. During sale of crops, farmers do not have access to daily price information, adjusted for their location and quality of produce. In addition to this, they have linkages to only 2-3 prospective buyers to sell their produce.
  8. Saarthi Education: Saarthi educated children at their own pace and providing a channel of continuous feedback by empowering mothers. Their worksheets follow the incremental advancement theory which ensures children learn with minimal instructions. They use technology to create a scaffolded set of worksheets. In addition to this, along with empowering parents to feel confident in engaging in their child’s development by motivating them through personal coaching.
  9. Intelehealth: Intelehealth has developed an innovative open source telemedicine platform that improves access to primary health care in underserved regions of the world. They work with Governments, NGOs, & INGOs to set up Telemedicine projects in last-mile settings (eg. rural areas and disaster zones).
  • State Street

The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) and State Street Corporation (NYSE: STT) launched a $750,000 fund to incubate non-profit start-ups through a 3-year partnership. With a focus on job creation and enhancing the livelihoods of underprivileged urban youth in India, State Street will work with The/Nudge CSI to accelerate four to six high-potential start-ups in this sphere.

  1. NavGurukul: Enabling each and every student to have access to quality higher education leading to aspirational jobs
  2. Jaljeevika: Jaljeevika develops systemic change intervention through a hybrid model in which physical interaction with farmer and institutions and a digital platform work in close relation. Physical AquaSchools develop farmers’ skills and bring micro- entrepreneurship with support of mainstream program, whereas IT enabled e-learning modules, collaborations, a set of micro services enables local community to scale their business models.

Speaking on the occasion, Sudha Srinivasan, CEO, The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation said,” The pandemic has forced us to regress on several developmental indicators – and while we have demonstrated an admirable ability to bounce back, thanks to the tireless efforts of civil society institutions and government at all levels, there is far more to be done, at a far greater pace. Further, Beyond the pandemic – the work of nonprofit organizations will be critical in accelerating our recovery and eventual attainment of sustainable development. Through these cohorts under various challenges, we are looking at catalyzing social transformation so that we truly can address poverty at all levels.”

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