By Shriya Garg

Someone once said: “Travel far enough and you shall find yourself”.

This is the spirit of Jagriti Yatra, an annual 15 day train journey that takes 480+ change makers handpicked from 27 states of India, as well as from 46 other countries, with the expression ‘to build India through enterprise’.

It’s a massive initiative that embarked on its 9th edition in December. In the past, the Jagriti Yatra has been supported by Google, Tata, Rolls Royce and Coca Cola among others.

at Jagrirti

Yatris arrived in hundreds to be a part of the events.

Yatris in Bangalore

On the 27th of December, the fourth day of the journey, the Jagriti train arrived at Bangalore, to reach the Mount Carmel College, for the Jagriti Enterprise Mela (JEM). As a one-of-its-kind event, it is a festival of enterprises that are working with a social focus in diverse domains relevant to our nation’s development.

As a one-of-its-kind event, it is a festival of enterprises that are working with a social focus in diverse domains relevant to our nation’s development.

These domains majorly include education, agriculture, health, manufacturing and arts among others. In the Mela, about five enterprises from each domain have been curated to showcase their product or service offerings. The Mela in the Jagriti Yatra provides an opportunity for such enterprises, which are a mix of for-profit, not-for-profit and non-profit with a vision to create a better India; to come and share their philosophies, business models, and ideas with a larger audience, and inspire them.

Solving a problem – the most important aspect

The program kicked off with a session with Ms. Hemalatha Annamalai, Founder and Managing Director of Ampere Technologies. Ampere Vehicles designs and manufactures reliable, high-quality yet affordable Electric Vehicles (EV), providing cost-effective means of personal transportation with a wide range of Electric Mobility Solutions for all categories of people and businesses.

Ms. Hemalatha talked about her journey, the failures and successes, and the highs and lows that have led her here. She repeated how the only three things you needed to run a business are grit, determination and perseverance. Money is secondary.

She emphasized how money was not a motivator, but she wanted to solve a societal problem.

The Indian automobile industry is bearish on innovation and any kind of change will take time. But she’s very clear on how she stands apart.

    

“They are fighting not to lose. I’m fighting to win.”Ms. Hemaltha Annamalai

This was a tough act to follow, but the next speaker Osama Manzar was more than a match. Founder of Digital Empowerment Foundation, he regaled the yatris with his life story, in a highly engaging speech.

Osama Manzar

Osama Manzar, founder of Digital Empowerment Foundation provided thoughtful insights through his engaging speech

Only 72% of women have a phone. Telecos boast of 1 billion+ connectivity, but they’re actually talking about sim cards. The actual population with access to phones is close to 300-400 million. In a country of 1.2 billion, these numbers are appalling.

New Delhi-based Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) was started in 2002 out of a deep understanding that marginalized communities living in socioeconomic backwardness and information poverty can be empowered to improve their lives on their own, simply by providing them access to information and knowledge for using digital tools. And so, in 2002, DEF was registered as a not-for-profit organisation. So far, DEF has empowered more than one million marginalized people living in information darkness and socioeconomically backward areas to become digitally literate and access the Internet.

On this note, the Mela kicked-off.

In the right direction

Some of the popular startups among the yatris were:

  1. Kamal Kisan: Simple solutions for smart farmers. They make single-person operated devices that are suitable for vegetables and flowers, portable and easy to operate. Their vision is to reduce effort and save time.
  2. The Green Path: Known for their inspiring story of transformation of barren land to food forest, they provided delicious, organically grown food on their 40-acre farm, within driving distance from Bangalore. They aim to revive the culture of food which is respectful to both the body and the environment.
  3. Sankalpa: Sankalpa dreams of a world where there’s plenty of water or everyone. They are a non-profit organization that has been promoting Rainwater harvesting techniques involving bore well recharging, roof-top water harvesting since January 2008. They have been working throughout India to bring about awareness about the rainwater conservation practices, importance of rainwater management, and recycling of water.
  4. Kisan Raja: Kisan Raja is a GSM based controller, which allows the farmer to control the agricultural motor using his mobile or landline from the comforts of his home. It is specifically designed to change the way farmers interact with motors.
    Kisan Raja at Jagriti

    Kisan Raja-One of the many startups showcasing their vision

  5. Buzz India: They equip rural women with financial and leadership skills to combat poverty. They drive in the message – literally! Buzz India goes village to village in their unique training bus. So far, they have trained 12,000 women, and 14% of those women have went on to become entrepreneurs. All of them became better communicators, courageous, and problem-solvers.
  6. Loop Reality: It is your one stop solution for indoor fitness training. It brings to your indoors a perfect blend of immersive VR, IoT and analytics in a multi-player gaming environment, making your workouts more exciting and enjoyable, and thus providing the perfect blend of health and technology.

Featured Image Courtesy : Cyber Space and Time
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Posted by The Indian Economist

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