Neelam Chhiber of Industree Crafts Awarded Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 for India


INDIACSR News Network

NEW DELHI:  The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation, has announced that Neelam Chhiber is the winner of the India Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2011. Prithvi Raj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Ashwani Kumar, Minister of State for Planning, Science and Technology & Earth Sciences handed the award to the winner in Mumbai.

Industree Crafts Foundation triples incomes of marginal artisans by moving them from being ‘piece rate workers’ to owners and entrepreneurs of grassroots community enterprises. It works both at the production and market ends of complex supply chains and has impacted more than 10,000 artisans living below the poverty line, by putting them in charge of their own enterprises.

The other contenders for the award were Gyanesh Pandey from Husk Power Systems (Patna), Matthew Spacie from Magic Bus (Mumbai) and Sudesh Menon co-founder of Waterlife India (Hyderabad).

Neelam Chhiber (Winner of the Social Entrepreneur Award), Shyam Bhartia, Prithvi Raj Chavan, Klaus Schwab and Ashwani Kumar during the Social Entrepreneur Awards at the India Economic Summit 2011 in Mumbai, India, 12-14 November, 2011.

More than 140 applicants entered the seventh competition for the “India Social Entrepreneur of the Year” selection process. After several stages of rigorous assessment, four finalists were chosen. An independent panel of pre-eminent judges met on 12 November to select the winners from among the finalists. The judges this year included: Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson of the Hindustan Times; Y. C. Deveshwar, Chairman of ITC Ltd; Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson of Arghyam Foundation; Sudha Pillai, Member Secretary of the Planning Commission, Adi Godrej, Chairman of Godrej Group, Dr Harish Hande, Managing Director of Selco Solar Lights, Mirjam Shoening, Senior Director of Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Rajiv Khandelwal, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Aajeevika Bureau.

The award has been given annually in the country since 2005 to individuals who have founded organizations or companies with targeted social missions benefiting underserved communities. The winners enter the global network of 200 leading social entrepreneurs of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum.

Industree triples incomes of marginal artisans by moving them from being ‘piece rate workers’ to owners and entrepreneurs of grassroots community enterprises. It works both at the production and market ends of complex supply chains and has impacted more than 10,000 artisans living below the poverty line, by putting them in charge of their own enterprises.

At the producer’s end, Industree incubates community enterprises and common production entities that are jointly owned by artisans and local entrepreneurs (typically unemployed orbunder employed youth) . At the market end, Industree’s multi-retail brand, Mother Earth, and aggressive sales force, set up with investment from the Future Group, offers the new producer- entrepreneur with a direct market platform to the Indian retail market, ensuring steady business of high volumes and smooth cash flows, year-on-year.

For every 100 Indian rupees of revenue increase for Industree, producer incomes increase by 58 Indian rupees. As a result, community enterprises incubated by Industree, and owned by artisanal communities, break even within their first year of operation. In addition, 13% of the brand Value of Mother Earth has been locked into a MBT for artisans to purchase at par.

As of August 2011, Industree has incubated 13 SHG-based community-owned enterprises and common production units in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and directly impacted more than 10,000 marginal producers and their families, of which 61% live below the poverty line, earning less than one US dollar a day. Industree also trains and sources products from 400 crafts-based collectives and SHGs in 10 Indian states, opening up the Mother Earth brand and market platform for them.

In 5 years, Neelam Chibber and her team aim to directly impact more than 50,000 individual artisans by incubating their enterprises and facilitating their diversification into newer products, brands and markets, beyond those offered by Mother Earth.

The India SEOY Award identifies and celebrates visionary social entrepreneurs who have demonstrated systems-change models and are at the stage of scaling/replicating their ideas across India and in other countries.

Applications to the India SEOY Awards 2011 opened in April this year. The response was positive, and the quality of applications were by far the most competitive. The finalists of this Award were identified through an intensive 4- step process.

140 social entrepreneurs submitted their applications, of which 18 semi-finalists were moved to the next round of the competition. The Jubilant Bhartia Foundation and the Schwab Foundation teams thereafter identified 6 applications for the next stage of the competition – i.e the due diligence visits.

The four finalists, further selected from this pool, are extraordinary social entrepreneurs who are shaping and scaling large-scale solutions to building an inclusive India. They will meet the jury of the India Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award on 12 November 2011 in Mumbai. The jury will comprise eminent members from the corporate, media and the civil society sectors. The winner will be announced on November 12, 2011.

The Schwab Foundation The Schwab Foundation is a sister organization of the World Economic Forum. The Foundation provides unique regional and global platforms to promote social entrepreneurship as a key element to advancing societies and addressing social problems innovatively and effectively. It also fosters a close-knit community of social entrepreneurs for idea exchange and replication of best practices. Finally, social entrepreneurs gain unprecedented networking opportunities with global decision-makers, thereby furthering the legitimacy of their work and mobilizing resources for continual expansion.

Jubilant Bhartia Foundation, the social wing of the Jubilant Bhartia Group, was established in 2007. As a part of the Jubilant Bhartia Group, the foundation focuses on conceptualizing and implementing the Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives for the group. The foundation’s objectives include various community development work, health care activities, cultural & sports activities, environment preservation initiative, vocational training, women empowerment and educational activities.

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