The India Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) Award celebrates social entrepreneurs and the organizations that work towards creating innovative, practical and sustainable solutions for issues such as poverty and lack of access to basic services such as health, education and water, etc., faced by ultra-poor communities.
What is SEOY?
The country-specific Social Entrepreneur of the Year Awards was started by the Schwab Foundation in 2005. Prior to this, the Foundation would invite leading social entrepreneurs from around the world to join its global network. Vijay Mahajan of BASIX and Ela Bhatt of SEWA are among the large number of first-generation social entrepreneurs to join the Foundation’s network. Today, the India SEOY Award is the only remaining country-specific award. It is run by the Schwab Foundation in conjunction with Jubilant Bhartia Foundation. It is now inviting applications for the India Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, 2014. The deadline for receiving applications is 31 May, 2014.
Finalists will be selected following an intensive search and selection process, including expert reviews and site visits. The winner will be announced at the award event on 4thNovember 2014 in New Delhi.
Who started this?
The Schwab Foundation was started by Professor Klaus Schwab in 1998, with the purpose to promote entrepreneurial solutions and social commitment at the grassroots level. The Schwab Foundation works closely with the World Economic Forum, also started by Professor Schwab, to provide social entrepreneurs with a platform to draw on the support, knowledge and networks of its members and constituents.
Over 300 social entrepreneurs from around the world form part of the Schwab Foundation community. The Foundation works with Harvard University, Stanford University and INSEAD to provide scholarship opportunities to the best executive education courses in the field to the selected social entrepreneurs. It also works closely with leading academic institutions to publish case studies on specific social entrepreneurs for incorporation in undergraduate and graduate level courses. However, the Foundation does not give grants or invest financially in the selected organization instead it provides access to the key WEF networks.
The Jubilant Bhartia Foundation established in 2007, is the not-for-profit arm of the Jubilant Bhartia Group. The Foundation’s activities include carrying our community development, health care programs, women empowerment and educational activities, etc.
What do the winners get?
The winners and finalists of the award receive recognition networking opportunities with governments and pioneering businesses at both the domestic and international levels. The winner gets to attend the Global and Regional meetings of the World Economic Forum, while the finalists get an opportunity to actively participate in the India Economic Summit. While the winners and finalists gain visibility and credibility for their work and access to finance and partnerships, they would have also inspired many business, and political leaders at the events they participate in. The winning entrepreneurs under the age of 40 get further nominated to the Forum of Young Global Leaders. Sanjit Roy of Barefoot College, India, says the opportunity allowed him to build connection and acquire funding to scale up the bottom-up, low-cost community-based approach in over 30 countries. “The World Economic Forum and the Schwab Foundation provided us with a global platform to test our ideas in other parts of the world,” he says.
Ms. Chetna Gala Sinha of Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank and Mann Deshi Foundation received the SEOY award in 2013. Ms. Mallika Dutt of Breakthrough, Mr. Kishor Kher and Mr. Mrinalini Kher of Yuva Parivartan and Dr Shelly Batra of Operation ASHA were the finalists for the same year. Together, the entrepreneurs are seeding thousands of change agents in excluded territories, laying the foundations of a truly inclusive India.
How do I win it?
The award looks for mature-stage social entrepreneurs and enterprises that are building large-scale systemic transformations to build inclusive societies. It is sector agnostic, but it is guided by a set of defined criteria that include: organizational sustainability, achievement of transformative social change, reach, scope and scalability of the initiative, etc. There are four rigorous stages in the selection process which include expert reviews and site visits, after which the finalists will be screened by an eminent jury of leaders from business, government, academia, media and social entrepreneurship.