Acara Challenge 2011 is a competition intended to develop business plans for a sustainable business for a social change. Using ethnographic techniques, teams were required to identify a need, design a solution, and create a viable business plan to address food security.
The purpose of Acara Challenge is to engage students in a multi-discipline, multi-country collaboration to develop sustainable solutions and business models to challenging global social issues. In addition to this, it helps to incubate and implement the winning plans into successful sustainable social businesses.
In the Acara Challenge 2011, 21 student teams, comprising of about 175 students from the 12 participating universities from USA, India and Mexico worked to develop business ideas/models to tackle Food and Water Security issues. Some of the participating universities are Arizona State University, Cornell University, Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, IIT Roorkee, TERI and University of Minnesota. 50 industry mentors guided the students in their projects and almost an equal number of judges helped in evaluating the student plans.
SIMSR partnered with, The Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University to participate in The Acara Challenge 2011. The competing teams had students from both the universities.
“Swach,” proposed by Amandeep Arora, PGDM’12, Shreya Bhattacharji, PGDM’12, Saumyajit Chatterjee, PGDM-IB’12, Saurabh Jain, PGDM’12 and four team members from Cornell University in the U.S. will provide food-safety testing kits and establish an auditing process to ensure the hygiene of the government-supported mid-day meal, served to school children throughout India. They were guided by faculty coordinators – Prof. Radha Iyer (SIMSR) and Monica Touesnard (Cornell) along with Vikash
Singh as a Student Coordinator. The team members were from diverse backgrounds like management, architecture and public service which helped in bringing multi-dimensional approach to their business
Swach improves the efficiency and efficacy of the midday meal audit process in schools. Swach would provide testing kits and the communication infrastructure to test for food quality issues and report them to authorities, allowing time-strapped government auditors to focus where they are most needed. After evaluating the 21 student plans, 8 teams/plans were advanced to the final round presentations on May 16, 2011 at Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota. Of these 8 teams, 4 teams
including Swach were selected for the Acara scholarships. We have received the Acara Challenge scholarship of $5000 plus tuition for our members to the Acara Summer Institute (SI) 2011 at Bangalore between June 27- July 15, 2011 hosted by Honeywell Technology Solutions Lab. This opportunity will help us in refining our plan and secure funding for our venture to turn it into reality. It is a practical hands-on opportunity to take our idea to market, to create a high impact venture. It consists of classroom and field experience, including time with successful social
ventures in South India.
We are proud of this team for taking us to such global heights!!!
Here is the write up used by US team when the team won first round.
Here are some pics of the SIMSR Team…
Pic 1 : Saurav Jain (2nd from left), Amandeep Arora(1st from right) and CRY representative (1st from left) with the community
Pic 2 : Shreya Bhattachaji(Left) taking a survey in the community.
Pic 3:Saumyajit Chatterjee (Left) and Amandeep Arora(Right) at the Konkan bhavan.