It is no coincidence that India is termed as the innovation hub of the world. India story is replete with innovations. Many among us would be aware of Mr A. Muruganatham who developed an assembly of low cost, portable machines to produce quality sanitary napkins at a cost of around INR 1 to INR 1.50 per pad. We may also know about Rai Singh Dahiya, who is now taking his business offshore to Europe and Africa for his major innovation- a biomass-based gasifier and engine.
What really enthrals is that Mr Dahiya has had no formal education and Muruganatham is a high school dropout.
A greater fascinating fact is that a majority of grassroots Indian innovators are based out of small towns and the rural hinterland. These innovators have devised creative solutions to address their basic needs for food, shelter, and sanitation. For instance, Mitticool -– a clay fridge that keeps food fresh and cool, without electricity.
However, all such initiatives need scaling-up.
With this background, we at FICCI are delighted to announce the launch of Millennium Alliance: India-US Innovation Partnership for Global Development. Millennium alliance is an initiative to support and scale-up low-cost, innovative solutions for and by base of pyramid population. The initiative will also bring together social impact funds, venture capitalists, corporate foundations, angel investors, donors and others to support and scale these innovative solutions.
Millennium alliance is also a first-of-its-kind initiative anchored in India with the support of Department of Science & Technology, Government of India and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In the initiative, USAID is contributing US$7.7 million. FICCI on its part, is matching the USAID contribution. In addition, Technology Development Board (Department of Science and Technology, Government of India) has also pledged US$5 million to the Alliance. USAID and FICCI’s further aim to leverage an additional US$35 million for the Alliance by mid-2013, bringing the total amount leveraged for the Millennium Alliance to at least US$50 million.
“… Millennium Alliance is an endeavour to ensure that the development process is all inclusive, and the benefits of social innovations reaches the poor in the most efficient and cost effective manner, thereby empowering the poor and the marginalized ….”
Dr. Rajiv Kumar 1
We are now pleased to announce the first call for applications from Indian innovators for grant of funds to develop and scale their innovations. The award could be in the form of a grant, debt or equity or a combination thereof. The awards will be provided for projects under the following two stages.
- First, the development needed to support proof of concept and financial, administrative and technical viability.
- Secondly, implementing the project at a sufficiently large scale to allow for rigourous impact testing.
1 Dr Rajiv Kumar relinquished his position has Secretary General, FICCI on October 23, 2012. Dr A Didar Singh took charge in his place on November 01, 2012.
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