Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Four Top Social Innovators make it to the final round of India's Most Prestigious Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) India Award 2023

INDIA- August 8, 2023: Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in partnership with the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation, today announced the finalists for the most awaited 14th edition of the ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ India Award 2023. The prestigious award recognises and celebrates the outstanding contributions of social innovators in India who have transformed lives and communities through their exceptional socio-business initiatives.

The extensive selection process is based on various parameters such as the organization’s orientation towards addressing social inequalities, exclusion and marginalization; uniqueness of the social model or initiative, and ability to create sustainable systemic level changes. The Schwab Foundation and Jubilant Bhartia Foundation teams also conducted background research, personal and team interactions, impact assessment, expert reviews and reference checks to select the following four high-impact social innovators as finalists: 

1. Dr. Aparna Hegde, ARMMAN, Mumbai 


2. Ms. Bijal Brahmbhatt, Mahila Housing Sewa Trust, Ahmedabad


3. Mr. Dhimant Parekh & Ms. Anuradha Parekh, The Better India, Bengaluru


4. Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, Ujala Cygnus Healthcare, New Delhi 


The winner of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year India Award will be chosen by a distinguished jury comprised of industry stalwarts and eminent personalities from different backgrounds. The award will be announced on August 25, 2023 in a grand ceremony in New Delhi amongst distinguished global leaders and representatives from various sectors gathered to celebrate the spirit of social entrepreneurship. This year, the award ceremony will be on the side-lines of B20 - Business 20 of G20 in India.

The SEOY India Award 2023 received 110 diverse applications this year, with around 60% of them being first-time applicants, reflecting the reach of the platform to newer organisations. The top five sectors in applications consisted of Education, Health, Rural Development, Environment (waste management), Water and Enterprise Development. 

Through their humanitarian approaches, the shortlisted finalists, have exhibited unparalleled commitment towards addressing some of India's most pressing social challenges. Their contributions range from: 

a) providing support to maternal and neonatal cases in remote regions by leveraging technology to connect and resolve primary health complications of pregnant women and new-born babies 

b) bringing constructive advancements for women of urban-built landscapes in poor communities by improving their housing, living, and working environments

c) bringing innovative solutions of affordable and accessible healthcare services in poor housing localities

d) bringing the stories of positivity and change from the unseen India to the mainstream for amplification as well as bringing societal optimism and inspiration lead impact

As part of the award, the winner of the SEOY India Award 2023 will join the social innovators community of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a leading global platform that has accelerated outstanding models of social innovation for over 25 years. The Winner and Finalists of SEOY India Award 2023 will also have the opportunity to apply for the Hindustan Times Fellowship for the Stanford Seed Transformation program. 

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) India Award 2023 and has since recognised and supported the growing field of social innovation in India. Over the last decade, it has established itself as one of the most reputable awards for social entrepreneurs. 

Meet the finalists: 

Dr. Aparna Hegde   



Year Established: 2008

Sector: Health

About: With the vision of a world where every mother is empowered and every child is healthy, ARMMAN leverages mHealth to create cost-effective, scalable, gender-sensitive, non-linear, systemic solutions to improve access of pregnant women and mothers to preventive information and services along with training health workers to reduce maternal and child mortality/morbidity. It adopts a blended ‘tech plus touch’ approach by leveraging the health worker network of the government and partner NGOs along with deep mobile penetration. ARMMAN leverages deep mobile penetration with existing health worker network and infrastructure to, provide preventive care information to women through pregnancy and infancy enabling them to seek care in time and train and support health workers for timely detection and management of high-risk conditions. ARMMAN is currently implementing the largest mobile-based maternal messaging programme (Kilkari) and the largest mobile-based training programme for frontline health workers (Mobile Academy) in India.  Since its inception in 2008, its programmes have impacted the lives of almost 40 million pregnant women, new mothers and their families and trained over 3.24 lakh health workers in 20 states and Union Territories of India.

Bijal Brahmbhatt

Mahila Housing Trust (MHT)


Year Established: 1994

Sector: Women-led development, Inclusive and Climate Resilient Urban Development

About: With a vision of improving the habitat of poor women from informal sector in cities, MHT invests in women’s collectives and leadership that advances a constructive dialogue and responsible urban development. It acts as an anchor organisation to Awaas SEWA Pvt. Ltd. and Credit Cooperatives, both owned by poor women. MHT mobilises women for good governance and empowers them thereby to take charge of their habitat improvement. By forging a unique relationship between poor communities and local governments, it advances access to basic services, promotes climate resilience, and deepens participatory and inclusive governance. Over the last two decades, MHT through its presence in 9 states, has helped poor women in accessing over US$ 20 million worth of public resources. It is serving 1126 slum settlements, reached 4,50,857 households and created around 16,000 Community Action Group women leaders. With its efforts, 53,500 households get potable water; 59,870 got access to toilets; and 1,81, 708 access grid electricity. It has trained 13,732 women as climate sathis.

Dhimant Parekh and Anuradha Parekh 

The Better India, www.thebetterindia.com

Year Established: 2008

Sector: Media

About: The Better India (TBI) ushered a whole new positive movement in the country - by using the power of stories to effect large-scale social impact. It is the world’s largest positive stories platform publishing in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Bangla & Marathi. It unearths stories of ordinary unsung heroes, community change-makers, remarkable ideas and ground-breaking innovations that often go unnoticed by traditional media. The platform inspires millions of Indians on a daily basis to be a part of a movement of change and is working towards making every citizen a force of good. It has also undertaken several impactful campaigns that have brought long-lasting change in the country. TBI's stories have led to positive changes in government policies, brought water & sanitation in villages, helped farmers come out of poverty, raised funds for slum schools, taken social enterprises global and much more.

93% of TBI’s readers have found inspiration in their stories, fuelling their drive to actively contribute towards positive social change. The Better India reaches out to over 200 million people every month across all its channels.

Dr Shuchin Bajaj

Ujala Cygnus Healthcare, www.ujalacygnus.com

Year Established: 2011

Sector: Healthcare 


About: With a mission of ‘Building trust by saving and caring for lives with dignity, affordability and quality, Ujala Cygnus through its chain of low-budget-and-patient-friendly-tertiary-care hospitals is enabling access to high-quality integrated healthcare infrastructure and services for underserved communities in tier 2&3 cities of India. It is bringing the revolution of super-speciality tertiary health care to the untouched and unserved communities at their convenience and cost. Ujala Cygnus is also mobilising the community on various facets of health awareness through health/medical camps for rural outreach and has launched several initiatives for community education and empowerment like the unique Sehat Chaupals among others. It also conducts interactive academic sessions called Continuous Medical Education (CME) programs for community medical practitioners by expert doctors. Over 5000 CMEs have trained over 55,000 community medical practitioners so far. With a network of 20 hospitals across 15 cities in tier 2&3 cities of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Delhi, and with the support of over 300 doctors and medical experts, the Ujala Cygnus hospitals have catered to over 2 million patients since inception. 

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