Monday, September 5, 2022

Champions of a Better Tomorrow – Five pioneer social innovators are finalists of the prestigious Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award India 2022

Mumbai- 05 September2022: The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and Jubilant Bhartia Foundation announced the finalists of the 13th Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2022 today.

The following highly accomplished individuals with their transformational social ventures have been selected as the finalists:

1. Osama Manzar

Digital Empowerment Foundation,

2. Ajaita Shah

Frontier Markets,

3. Aniket Doegar


4. Wilma Rodrigues

Saahas Zero Waste & NGO Saahas,, 

5. Meera Shenoy


The winner of the ‘13th Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ (SEOY) Award - India 2022 will be announced in an event on Thursday, 15 September 2022. The award ceremony will be attended by dignitaries from various fields, across the globe to celebrate and appreciate the extraordinary contribution of these passionate individuals. 

The SEOY award aims to honour and recognise accomplished social change leaders across a diversity of large-scale, system change and social innovation models in society. These change leaders are key enablers of an inclusive, sustainable and equitable world. 

The winner of the SEOY Award - India will join the worlds largest and the first inter-sectoral community of social innovators in the world affiliated with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. The Winner and Finalists of SEOY India will also get an opportunity to apply for the Hindustan Times Fellowship for the Stanford Seed Transformation programme. 

This year’s finalists of the SEOY Award India, are inspiring, visionary individuals who met various stringent criteria of evaluation for their selection. The chosen finalists are technology-enabled experts working for the underserved in fields of digital literacy and empowerment (financial inclusion), financial technology, agricultural technology, e-commerce, rural 

technology, social protection, livelihood, waste management, education and skilling and advocacy for people with disability. 

Using creativity and innovation in their respective initiatives, these social entrepreneurs are delivering impact through the use of technology, market-linked skilling, large-scale advocacy, innovative expansion of the market, data analysis etc. 

The SEOY award – India 2022 opened for applications in February 2022 and received over 100 submissions, out of which over 60% are women. The diverse categories of the interventions included healthcare services, clean technology, media communication, disability, energy, enterprise development, labour conditions, microfinance, nutrition, sustainable farming, and water and sanitation. 

Over the last decade the SEOY Award – India, has established itself as one of the most reputable awards for social entrepreneurs. This year the award celebrates its 13th year. In 2010, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and Jubilant Bhartia Foundation came together to promote social innovation in India through the Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) Award – India and has since recognised and supported the growing field of social innovation in India.

Meet the Finalists:

Osama Manzar


Year Established: 2002

Sector: Digital (Access & Infrastructure, Education & Empowerment, Governance & Citizen services, Markets & Social enterprises, Research and Advocacy, Knowledge Hub & Networking)

Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) is a non-profit organisation working towards empowering citizens through digital literacy and digital tools to gain access to better healthcare, education, skills and livelihood opportunities. DEF focusses on making technology easily accessible to the masses, so as to empower women, youth, persons with disabilities, artisans and the elderly through providing functional digital literacy, media literacy and digital up-skilling across agriculture, micro and nano-businesses, health, education, livelihood and entrepreneurship. Over the last 20 years, DEF has directly impacted over 30 million people, through its 1,500 strong Community Information Resource Centers. These centers are supported by a widespread network of 10,000 digital foot soldiers located across 24 states and 135 districts in rural, tribal, marginalised and unreached areas. 


Year Established: 2011

Sector: FinTech/AgriTech/E-commerce/Rural-Tech

Frontier Markets through its unique rural distribution platform, is driving access to the products and services that the rural population wants to be delivered at their doorstep. These products and services are high quality, climate friendly, gender-inclusive and also include clean energy-services. It is doing so by investing in rural women, making them entrepreneurs and building a strong network, which acts as a bridge to rural communities. The delivery is enabled via its e-commerce platform specially designed to cater to the rural population that remains unreached by mainstream e-commerce platforms and hence inevitably being denied an opportunity to change, evolve and grow. Frontier Markets has enabled over 20,000 women rural entrepreneurs to help over 500,000 families in over 3000 villages adopt over 10 million solutions.  

Aniket Doegar, HAQDARSHAK;

Year Established: 2006

Sector: Social protection, financial inclusion, livelihood

Haqdarshak is solving the information and access gap between citizens and the government’s welfare schemes at the last mile, through its tech-enabled intervention. It digitises information on government schemes in a simple form in 11 vernacular languages and makes it available to intended beneficiaries including MSMEs through various B2C channels and an agent-led model. It also has an easy eligibility-discovery engine that identifies eligible schemes based on the profile information provided. Haqdarshak also enables an extensive agent network to deliver last-mile support in accessing these schemes and trains these select field agents for on-field implementation. Present in 24 states in India it has trained over 22,800 agents so far and provided benefits worth Rs 4,000 crore for over 20 lakh families and 35,000 micro businesses. 


Year Established: 2013 & 2001

Sector: Waste management

Saahas Zero Waste (SZW) is a socio-environmental enterprise that provides decentralised end-to-end waste management services. With the belief that waste is a resource and through its holistic solutions, SZW strives to ensure that more than 95% of waste is converted to resources, thus addressing the issue of open dumping, burning, landfilling and contamination of air, water and soil. SZW was also one of the first movers in India in formalising the waste management industry. It branched out of Saahas NGO in 2013 and currently both organisations are independent entities working towards holistic solid waste management. Together, they have over 20 years of experience, work with over 100 clients across 22 states and 2 union territories, managing an average of 100 tonnes of waste per day. 

Meera Shenoy, YOUTH4JOBS,

Year Established: 2012

Sector: Livelihoods & Education for persons with disabilities

Youth4Jobs Foundation (Y4J) works for grass-root transformation of lives of persons with disability by skilling and linking them to sustainable livelihoods.  Youth have locomotor, speech, hearing and visual impairment.  Some have cerebral palsy, autism spectrum, downs syndrome, and multiple disabilities. Y4J  works with 1100 companies to ensure the hired youth is productive and it benefits business. Today, it is  a ‘System-Changer’ with a pan-India presence, scale and high impact, changing attitudes and lives. Youth4Jobs has trained over  31,647  youth with disabilities with job linkages.  22% trainees are from  SC , ST category and 30% are women. Y4J has reached 9.3 million households in 28 states, 8 Union Territories, 12,026 villages, 579 districts and 3,452 mandals.  It is setting up ‘SwarajAbility’, an AI-triggered accessible job platform for youth with disabilities. 

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