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Tech gurus to reward young social innovators

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CIOL Bureau
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NEW DELHI, INDIA: Come Saturday, and India's most celebrated social innovators — bureaucrat Anil Swarup, entrepreneur William Bissel, social innovator CP Das, energy expert Swati Bhogle, healthcare change agent Dr Ashwin Naik, self-help group pioneer Anish Kumar, skill development agency chief Dilip Shenoy — will put their heads together to galvanize 100 Young Social Innovators.

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The purpose of the exercise is to discover how technology can help social enterprises get more pervasive in coverage and impact.

Tech Czar Sam Pitroda, who invests a day leading Young Social Innovators session in the capital, says, "Social innovations are critical for solving India's challenges of inclusion and fulfilling unmet needs of a large number of people."

"Our young social innovators can break barriers and seize new opportunities to enhance development that reaches many more people," added Pitroda, who guides Action For India (AFI) as the honorary chairman.

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Action For India is a not for profit body that works with social entrepreneurs, who make a real difference to the everyday lives of people and are India's best hope for long-term, large-scale social change.

The first-ever Action For India Forum will focus on scaling social impact through technology at a day-long session on IIT-Delhi campus.

Of the 100 young social innovators, those who leverage technology and show an outstanding impact over the next six months will be eligible for five Action For India Growth Prizes, one each for education, healthcare, agriculture, energy and livelihoods.

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Each Growth Prize will consist of Rs. 5 lakh, apart from non-monetary benefits.

Ashoka, the leading global organization focused on identifying and supporting social entrepreneurs, will guide the evaluation and selection process.

"Action For India will identify innovators addressing critical social problems and help them unleash the potential of technology," says Sanjay Kadaveru, founder and president, Action For India and a Charter Member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE).

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"India is full of young innovators, who impact their communities in myriad ways. But in a country of 1.2 billion, we need to scale their proven solutions to serve a much wider swath of the population. By connecting successful entrepreneurs with technology experts and resources, our goal is to accelerate this scaling process," adds Kadaveru.

An in-depth report highlighting barriers to scale how technology and government can play a role in overcoming these challenges, specially developed by Dasra, a strategic philanthropy foundation, will also be unveiled at the event.

Young social innovators, under the age of 40, who have made significant impact with their innovations in agriculture, education, energy, livelihoods and healthcare, will place their specific needs before technology providers such as Nokia, Intel, 'A Little World' and M Power forum from Spice group and seek their support for widening impact at the 'Action For India Forum 2012'.

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