The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the sister organisation of the World Economic Forum and the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation, a not for profit organisation of Jubilant Bhartia Group today announced the finalists of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY)- India 2019 award.

The finalists were identified following an intensive search and selection process, including expert reviews, background research, reference checks and site visits.

The seven finalists of the award are:
  1. Gaurav Mehta of Dharma Life, New Delhi

  2. Shanti Raghavan and Dipesh Sutariya of EnAble India, Bengaluru

  3. Mukteshwari Bosco of Healing Fields Foundation, Hyderabad

  4. Nand Kishore Chaudhary of Jaipur Rugs, Jaipur

  5. Bijal Brahmbhatt of Mahila Housing SEWA Trust, Ahmedabad

  6. Aakash Sethi of Quest Alliance, Bengaluru

  7. Sanjeev Kumar of The Goat Trust, Lucknow
Of the seven finalists, the winner will be chosen by a distinguished jury. Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs & Ministry of Civil Aviation and Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Government of India will present the award at a special ceremony on Thursday, 3rd October, 2019 which is part of the India Economic Summit organised by World Economic Forum and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). 

The winner of SEOY India will join the world’s largest network of social enterprises affiliated with The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The finalists of the SEOY India award are the tech-enabled social entrepreneurs who are helping in bridging the gap between the marginalised and the mainstream, by working in fields of livelihood generation for rural women, livestock entrepreneurship, creating safe & sustainable habitats, improving rural health, empowering people with disabilities and art preservation through empowerment of artisans. These social entrepreneurs have brought disruption in their respective fields with their innovative ideas. They have demonstrated that through empowerment of marginalised rural women, people with disabilities, small livestock farmers and grassroots artisans, India can move closer to inclusive growth.

Over the years, SEOY India award has established itself as one of the most reputed and coveted award for social entrepreneurs in India. This year the award celebrates its 10th 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) India Award. The annual award recognises entrepreneurs who implement innovative, sustainable and scalable solutions to solve social problems. These entrepreneurs address pressing issues faced by under-served communities.

The SEOY India award 2019 opened in March this year and received over 120 applications from 19 cities. This year saw over 30 applications from women social entrepreneurs. The categories of intervention include enterprise development, disability, water & sanitation, labour conditions, micro finance, housing, fair trade, energy, sustainable farming, communication media, clean technology and nutrition. In this year’s applications, health sector (43%) lead the nomination tally followed by education (40%), environment (27%) and rural development (26%).

Brief Descriptions of the Finalists: 

Gaurav Mehta
Dharma Life, New Delhi (www.
Echoing the belief that economically empowered women leads to empowered families; Dharma Life is providing women in rural India the opportunity to earn a livelihood while driving social change in their villages. These reformed women entrepreneurs, also referred as ‘Dharma Life Entrepreneurs’ (DLE) are changing the face of women empowerment in India.

Determined to create the largest network of female change agents, Dharma Life has  trained and engaged around 16,000 Dharma Life Entrepreneurs (76% women) across 13 states in India. By honing the entrepreneurial skills of rural women Dharma Life is optimising a woman led entrepreneur-based model that delivers critical products and services to low income households. This includes creation of livelihoods for the DLE, training and certification of the DLEs in rural sales entrepreneurship (certified by the National Skills Development Corporation (Government of India) and IFC), sustainable income creation for the Dharma Life Entrepreneurs as well as increased equity in society for them. Reached more than 1,50,000 households and over 1.3 million women with financial literacy campaign.

It addresses key and interlinked levers of social change – livelihood creation, digital empowerment, water, hygiene & sanitation, menstrual hygiene & family planning, energy access & clean cooking and nutrition.

Shanti Raghavan and Dipesh Sutariya   
EnAble India, Bengaluru (
EnAble India (EI) is rapidly building the Indian eco-system of skilling, employment and entrepreneurship for persons with disabilities (PwDs) through technology innovations, breakthroughs in skill trainings, new workplace solutions and behaviour change tools. By changing the mindset of 729 business houses and building frameworks of inclusion in universities and government agencies, EI has created a robust business case for employing PwDs in formal and informal sectors across India.

Over 20 years, Shanti, Dipesh and their teams have cumulatively transformed the lives of 2,20,000 individuals with disabilities and their families, community leaders and employers, across 28 states. Working across a wide bench of 14 disabilities, all EI trainees perform at par, and receive salaries at par with their non-disabled peers. Through partnerships with 200 non-profit organisations, EnAble India is set to transform one million PwDs as confident tax payers, active citizens and nation-builders over the next three years.

Mukteshwari Bosco    
Healing Fields Foundation, Hyderabad (
Healing Fields Foundation (HFF) is building vibrant eco-systems of rural health care in areas where basic health services are absent or severely deficient. It is doing so by transforming once- voiceless and marginalised women into community healthcare entrepreneurs and health leaders who have a stake in the well-being of their communities. Backed with training in basic health care and innovative technologies (including a health decision-support app), more than 5000 trained community health entrepreneurs have taken healthcare information to nearly 12,50,000 individuals in the most backward districts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Jharkhand. 66% report a 100-200% income increase as a local health entrepreneur. HFF has also kept its eye on enhanced health outcomes. 98% of service users have reported improved health knowledge; 71% regularly practise positive health behaviours and 89% families are immunising their children. Additionally, 1000 school health champions trained by HFF across Telengana have reached 150,000 people with information on health education, nutrition and healthcare products. The HFF model is currently being replicated in Indonesia.

Nand Kishore Chaudhary

Jaipur Rugs Ltd., Jaipur Living, Jaipur Rugs Foundation

Jaipur (
Jaipur Rugs [Featured Story] has catapulted more than 40,000 artisans (weavers and spinners) into artists, designers, entrepreneurs, teachers and quality control experts in the high-end, global, luxury carpet segment in 600 villages. By tripling incomes for women carpet weavers and enhancing their well-being and leadership, it has demonstrated that business success can combine as much meaning and purpose for customers, as it does for its rural and tribal artisans, and their families.

Jaipur Rugs is an exclusive, handmade carpet and rugs company, serving consumers across 62 countries. Upturning the exploitative practises of the carpet weaving industry, it has integrated ethical business practices with grassroots women’s entrepreneurship and created a business culture of empathy and care. Sharing growth benefits with its artisans, Jaipur Rugs runs an exclusive line of ‘Artisan Originals’ where weavers are the designers of their own rugs, showcasing their artistic creation on national and international platforms.

Impacted over 1,29,000 lives across Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, Jaipur Rugs has put the locus of control back in the hands of village level bunkar sakhis and artisans not just through enhanced incomes, but also through leadership trainings, financial literacy and health services.

Bijal Brahmbhatt
Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT), Ahmedabad (
By putting poor women in charge of their neighbourhoods, Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT) is changing the face of India’s sprawling urban slums. Viewing habitat as essential to the well-being of a person, MHT mobilises, organises and trains women leaders or ‘Vikasinis’, to participate, design and drive urban planning and the development of their areas. The women map infrastructure gaps, deploy clean energy solutions and partner with local governments and the private sector for basic services like water, sanitation, power, sewerage and advocate for tenure rights. By building the social and leadership capital of resource-poor urban women, MHT ensures they access secure habitats and a quality of life deserving to all citizens.

Serving four lakh poor households, MHT has scaled its work to 34 cities across eight states in India. Reaching 1.7 million poor individuals, it has legalised power connections for nearly two lakh households, and potable water to 48,000.  Close to 57,000 households have built toilets and 30,500 have invested in energy saving products. In a major win, 22,563 Households have secured registration of property titles, resulting in a tangible asset for the poor. With urban population set to increase by nearly 50% by 2030, the MHT model offers a solid women and citizen-led strategy for transforming India’s squalid slums into safe, clean, climate friendly, vibrant socio-economic hubs.                       

Aakash Sethi
Quest Alliance, Bengaluru (

65% of children starting school today will hold jobs that do not exist yet. They are likely to have four or five careers over the course of their working life. Additionally, technology is rapidly changing job roles and rendering trade-specific skill trainings irrelevant. For Quest Alliance, self-learning and 21st century skills are then, the new life skills that youth will need to thrive, not just survive, in fast digitising economies.

Quest Alliance has integrated education technologies, curriculum and the culture and practise of self-learning and 21st century skills into India’s education and skill-training system.  By doing so, it is transforming institutions, educators, skill trainers, while enabling unemployable youth to respond to a fast digitising economy, enhance their learnability and build rewarding career pathways.

Through partnerships with 100 non-profit partners and state governments, the Quest Alliance model has been embedded in 5,000 government schools and 800 vocational training centres and ITIs across nine states. It has impacted 3,00,000 adolescent and youth (of which 50% are women) from rural, peri-urban, minority and other excluded communities. 70% of the youth who go through the Quest model are placed in jobs, with a majority reporting an average upward mobility of income of 170% (income compared to their current annual family incomes). A formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of India opened the pathway for more than five million adolescent and youth to be impacted by the Quest Alliance model over five years.

Sanjeev Kumar    

The Goat Trust Group of Social Ventures (

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

The Goat Trust Group of Social Ventures is revitalising ailing, rural economies by transforming once marginalised and scattered women goat farmers into formidable network of small livestock entrepreneurs. Sanjeev and his team take a three-pronged approach for putting women in charge of small livestock husbandry: Innovations in micro-leasing (allowing a woman to lease and rear a goat); a network of 1000 ‘pashu sakhis’ or mature women goat farmers who offer scientific livestock rearing and veterinarian services for a fee; and innovative technologies, including a goat health app and an e-commerce platform for women farmers to connect with distant markets and access fair price for their livestock.

Together, this approach has enabled 3,00,000 ultra-poor women from marginalised communities to scale their small livestock farming value chains. They have enhanced their annual incomes from upwards of Rs 70,000 to Rs 900,000. Collectively, they have organised into 25 producer organisations with annual turnover of Rs 500 million. The Goat Trust group has scaled its model in 18 states through the state rural livelihoods mission machinery, focussing on difficult agro climatic zone like dry lands, forest fringe villages and flood-affected areas. More than 84 non-profit organisations across India, West Africa and Afghanistan, have been trained in its ‘Goat Gurukul’ to create the groundswell of women small livestock husbandry leaders.

Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship was co-founded by Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and his wife Hilde. For twenty years, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has supported the world’s leading social entrepreneurs in their efforts to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world. The Schwab Foundation provides unparalleled platforms at the regional and global level to highlight and advance leading models of sustainable social innovation.

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Jubilant Bhartia Foundation (JBF), established in 2007, is the not-for-profit organisation of the Jubilant Bhartia Group. It focuses on conceptualising and implementing the Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives (CSR) for the Group. The Jubilant Bhartia Foundation’s activities include various community development work, healthcare programs, cultural and sports events, environmental preservation initiative, vocational training, women empowerment, educational activities and promotion of Social Entrepreneurship.

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