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The Elbow Engineers emerges winner of Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2017-18


Kolkata: The winners of the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2017-18 (TSEC), a joint initiative of the Tata group and Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC), were announced during the grand finale held on January 6, 2018, 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.

 The Elbow Engineers from Chennai (Winner), Chakr Innovation from New Delhi (1st Runners-up) and JK Nanosolutions from Bangaluru (2nd Runners-up) emerged as the top three most promising social ventures, winning prize money of Rs. 2.5 lakhs, Rs. 2 lakhs and Rs. 1.50 lakhs, respectively.

The Elbow Engineers, the winner of the challenge, is a Chennai-based startup that has developed a device to provide a comprehensive water generation solution. The device generates water by condensing water vapour from the atmosphere, it purifies the generated water through an Ultra Violet Light sterilizer providing clean drinking water at less than 84 paise per litre, and in the process cleans the air that we breathe of harmful substances.

Chakr Innovation, which was announced as the first runners-up, is a New Delhi-based startup that has developed Chakr Shield, a device that can capture 90% of particulate matter emission from diesel generators. The device controls pollution without causing any adverse impact on the engine’s performance or the environment, and at the same time converts the collected particulate matter into raw material for inks and paints.

JK Nanosolutions, the second runners-up, is a Bengaluru-based startup. It has developed a cost effective rapid solution for complete treatment of waste water and textile effluent using nanotechnology. By this method, 98 percent of treated water can be reused.

Apart from the top 3 winning ventures, the 7 ventures that have made it to the top 10 finalists are, Bombay Bijlee, Villamart, Cerelia Nutritech, Manuring It!, Nanobios lab, IIT Bombay, Resnova Technologies and Sonant Technologies. The ventures were judged on three parameters - Business Model, Social Impact and Sustainability (For more details on the ventures, please refer to Annexure 1).

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Ashok BanerjeeDirector, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park said, “Over the last six years, Tata Social Enterprise Challenge has encouraged many budding entrepreneurs to grow with a vision and create positive sustainable social impact. We are pleased with the quality of talent and the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs who have dreams to make a difference to the society to which they belong.”

 Mr. Sandeep Kumar, Managing Director, Tata Metaliks, felicitated the winners and said, “Listening to and meeting the finalists of Tata Social Enterprise Challenge was an enriching and inspiring experience.

The Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2017-18 received over 500 proposals from across India, of which 205 met the eligibility criteria and qualified for the next round of the competition. These proposals covered several different areas such as agriculture; food and dairy; healthcare; water and sanitation; technology and development; education and skills development; housing; handicrafts; energy; and microfinance, among others.

How the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2017-18 was conducted:

Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2017-18 kicked-off on August 17, 2017 and invited social entrepreneurs who either had an early stage venture (not older than 3 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.

The challenge was divided into three rounds:

  • Round 1 – Teams were required to submit Impact Proposals online in the format specified
  • Round 2 – The Semi-finals – 20 teams were selected from Round 1 to go through a 4-week mentorship programme. These teams pitched to a panel of esteemed judges consisting of social venture capitalists, social entrepreneurs, Tata executives and faculty from IIM Calcutta.
  • Round 3 - The Grand Finale – 10 teams from the 20 semi-finalists were selected for the Finals and out of these the 3 winning teams were selected by an eminent panel of jurists.

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