N/Core selects 10 nonprofit startups to incubate

Last few weeks have been really exciting for us as we opened applications for our N/1 cohort, offering 6 months of incubation, an innovation grant of INR 10 Lakhs and a unique opportunity to be personally mentored by renowned industry leaders. Founders of social change, across India and the world sent us their vision, business plan and thought provoking ideas that can make substantial changes in the lives of millions still living in poverty. As we sifted through 1032 applications from 2654 entrepreneurs from 19 countries, we found an increasing inflow of highly talented and motivated entrepreneurs to solve for poverty in India — which is such a positive trend!

The applicants included graduates from institutions such as IITs, IIMs, ISB, NIT, JNU, Harvard University, Stanford University, Princeton University, Yale University, INSEAD, University of Maryland, NUS Singapore, Oxford, and many more. They are also eager to work on a wide spectrum of issues related to poverty in India and make a visible difference.

Here’s a look at the 10 selected early stage nonprofits and the problems they are trying to solve:

  1. Foundation for Environmental Monitoring

Focus area: Water

Millions of Indians in economically backward areas lack access to clean drinking water. Regular consumption of contaminated water results in chronic health issues, lost wages etc., further aggravating poverty. Foundation for Environmental Monitoring (FEM) is deeply committed to deliver low cost, highly accurate technology to measure quality of water. By making the solution open source, they have also ensured that the cost of technology continues to be affordable.

2. Sushrat Foundation

Field of work: Healthcare

India has a 70% higher patient-to-doctor ratio than the WHO recommendation. This load on the medical system is further exacerbated by operational inefficiencies in a hospital. Trained medical staff spend much of their time in administrative and redundant tasks. Sushrat Foundation, a healthcare nonprofit works to make hospital administration more efficient in government hospitals by using lean, six sigma and kaizen methodologies. Going beyond creating a blueprint for efficiency, the organisation has piloted implementation of the changes on the ground, with the help of Fellows trained on business process transformation.

3. Project Potential

Field of work: Livelihood

In Bihar, the more educated you are, the more likely you are to be unemployed, with over 25% of college graduates currently unemployed — compared to 2.5% for those who have completed primary school and 8.4% for those who have completed middle school. Project Potential is working towards alleviation of unemployment, currently in the state of Bihar by inculcating an entrepreneurial mindset in communities engaged in a wide range of livelihoods.

4. Saarthi

Field of work: Parental Education

Children from impoverished backgrounds bear a huge competitive disadvantage of not having sufficient parental participation in their education. Saarthi Education, is on a mission to transform parents’ involvement in their child’s development. The Saarthi model of providing both content as well as its delivery to parents in low income communities is showing definitive signs of positive impact, in early pilots.

5. Anahad Foundation

Field of work: Livelihood & folks music

Despite immense talent and a heritage of profound art, the Indian folk musician struggles to make a living from his/her art. Music is a multi-billion dollar industry but folk artists remain on the fringe, eking out a living as street performers. Anahad, a pioneering nonprofit has a mission to “revive, research and innovate music as a driver of change to rejuvenate the society”. It functions as a record label, producing unheard cultural folks which can bring a positive impact on the society.

6. NavGurukul

Field of work: Livelihood

The rise of the Indian software industry has had a significant contribution to the rise of the Indian middle class. However, the talent entering the sector has been gated by requirements of formal education, primarily a degree in engineering. This has excluded the bottom of the pyramid from access to jobs in the growing tech sector. NavGurukul is working to teach software engineering skills to underprivileged young adults, irrespective of their formal educational baselines. Their innovative model is based on self-learning and experimentation.

7. Sukhibhava Foundation

Field of work: Menstrual Hygiene

Sukhibhava, is tackling the large-scale problem of lack of awareness and affordability of menstrual hygiene solutions for women in low income groups. Their innovative model empowers microentrepreneurs in communities to proliferate adoption of safe menstrual hygiene practices.

8. The Education Alliance

Field of work: Education

While the government has largely addressed the problem of access to primary education, a large number of government schools lying under-utilised across India. The Education Alliance is a nonprofit working towards improving student learning in government schools through public-private partnership.

9. Volunteer for Justice

Field of work: Democratizing Law

Over 3 crore cases await justice in courts across the country, on any given day. With average pending cases of 3 years in high courts and 6 years in subordinate courts, this translates to justice denied to the most marginalized and disadvantaged groups. Volunteer for Justice aims to create a pro bono culture in the Indian legal system and uphold the constitutional mandate to provide every citizen with access to justice. Volunteer groups of legal professionals offer their services by way of legal advice and mediation, and if needed, representation in courts.

10. Akshar Foundation

Field of work: Education — North-East

Akshar Foundation is an award-winning nonprofit organisation operating in Assam with an innovative, business-oriented approach to education. Serving a community of stone quarry workers that has experienced multi-generational illiteracy, the Akshar team has developed a tiered teaching model that encourages older students who have achieved a faster progression to teach younger students. This model enables Akshar to operate at a 1:100 teacher to student ratio, and helps students to fast track their learning through teaching.

The 6- month incubation program begins 11 Sep, 2017 in Bangalore. Our plan is to incubate 100 nonprofits over the next 5 years, by incubating around 10 such startups twice every year. For more details visit ncore.thenudge.org