Lessons from Sankalp Summit 2012: Day 2 | Milaap

Lessons from Sankalp Summit 2012: Day 2

The second day of the Sankalp Summit was just as insightful as the first, and there was a lot of anticipation in the air as the Sankalp awardees would be announced at the close of the day. The day started with an opening address from Phanindra Sama, Co-Founder & CEO of Red Bus. He spoke of how India has become conducive for entrepreneurship. Next up was Ajay Balakrishnan, Project Manager at Ammachi Labs, who mentioned that there was a requirement of 244 million skilled jobs over the next 10 years. He also spoke of technology as the next frontier when it came to vocational training.

Here’s what we got from day 2.

On ensuring jobs for the Indian youth

Dilip Chenoy spoke of how 700 million youth would join the working population by 2022. Manish Sabharwal, CEO of Teamlease spoke of how employability was a bigger problem than unemployment in India. He also spoke of how 90% of India still in the informal sector, and that the solution would be at crossroads of unemployment and employability. Bridging this gap would increase per capita income from 1000 USD to 4100 USD by 2025. Sanjay Bahal, President of NIIT spoke of how only 5% in India go through formal work training. Chenoy also issued a challenge: how do we move the mindset from degrees without jobs, to jobs without degrees? He also cited that the reason so few are willing to do blue collar jobs is that we do not appreciate or celebrate blue collar workers. According to him, the challenge is now to fill the classroom, and create an aspirational value for getting skilled.

On Health, Water and Sanitation

The Indian healthcare system was found to be growing very fast, and it was necessary to keep it affordable for all. The difficulty was in finding where the real opportunities lay. Frugal innovation was mentioned as a necessity. The focus has been on curative medicine/healthcare, yet there is a large opportunity in preventive healthcare, especially in rural areas. NGO activity in healthcare, though it may not be organized, is also a great opportunity. There must also be financial incentives for those looking to get into the healthcare industry. Lastly, there must be some sort of democracy in healthcare, where providers are able to reach in need areas.

On Education and Vocational Training

This panel looked at technology as an enabler for higher education. Meena Ganesh mentioned Pearson's VSAT solutions as a case study, as they are enabling competitiveness in education in remote areas in India. He also mentioned how online tutoring solutions had been useful for bridging gaps for American Community Colleges, and could be useful in India as well. Mobile connectivity could also be leveraged to deliver education, Rajul Garg of Sunstone Business School said. One of the hindrances of technology and distance models for education was that parents view them with suspicions, citing quality concerns.

On Impact Investing

Sadeesh Raghavan of the Acumen Fund cited that the impact investing space was not as developed or well-formed as 'top of the pyramid' investment models. He also thought the term “impact investing” was redundant, because as an investor, of course you want to have some kind of impact. Patrick Foulis of The Economist also posed a question: was it good or bad that impact investing had picked up Wall Street lingo? What was the result of this? Most impact investors were seen to want to “have the cake and eat it as well”, leading to questions of how this can be improved/ changed.

On finding and retaining Social Intrapreneurs

Access to capital and retaining talent are the top two challenges faced by social enterprises. Talent was said to have 3 dimensions: acquisition, retention and people management. The flip side was that there are a lot of talented people who work in the social enterprise and not for profit space. Good salaries were cited as a necessity even in this space. Entrepreneurs also need to ask themselves what type of person fits each role, and then build awareness and networks from there. Each employee is an investment, yet most social enterprises at the early stages don't have them. Lastly, in the social enterprise world, intent and attitude were found to matter more than qualifications.

On supporting startup entrepreneurs

Treating investors like customers was found to be one of the ways entrepreneurs could find customers. The social return of the investment was also needed to be clearly defined. As it is, investors are not willing to take the risk social entrepreneurs face, it was said. Shared financial, HR and accounting services would be beneficial for social startups, investors said. Entrepreneurs were also encouraged to focus on their businesses and not so much their forms, as it was the businesses that would get them capital.

On Climate Smart Business

Many shocking statistics were mentioned in this panel discussion, made up of John-Mark Zwyko and Arjun Bhoopal of PwC, and Devyani Parameshwar of Intellecap. On average, global temperatures could rise by 2-3 degrees Celsius within the next 50 years or so. 30-50% of species face extinction if temperatures increase by 5%. The world needs to decarbonize at 48% p.a. until 2050 to meet the 2 degrees Celsius increase target. India's carbon budget must fall 29% over 50 years, and it must decarbonize by 4% annually (currently the rate is 0.5%). 10-40% crop production loss is expected by 2080 due to climate change if things stay the same. Social enterprises can tap into climate change as an opportunity, with offerings such as micro energy credits. Global carbon markets currently add up to a total of $144 billion.

The Sankalp Awards

  • The winner in the Clean Energy/Technology sector was Green India Building Systems and Services (GIBSS)
  •  The winner in the Agriculture, Food and Rural Business sector was Vinfinet Technologies
  • The winner in the Technology for Development sector was Invention Labs Engineering Products/Avaz
  • The winner in the Health, Water and Sanitation sector was Eram Scientific Solutions
  • The winner in the Education and Vocational Training sector was EduSports
  • The winner of the South East Asia regional awards was Microventures – Hapinoy Program
  • The overall winner of the Sankalp Awards was Eram Scientific Solutions

A more detailed coverage of events can be found here.