What is Social Innovation?

Social Innovation is a term that is not easy to define. Very simply put, it is an innovative idea, process or product that provides benefit to a segment of society or to society as a whole – especially to downtrodden, deprived and victimized individuals such as those suffering from poverty, physical disability, lack of empowerment, lack of access to health, communication, employment and business opportunities, literacy, citizen services, etc.

Anything that can be done to alleviate this deprivation and do public good can be termed as social innovation.

So for example microfinance was  a form of social innovation that provided access to capital and to financial services for those who did not benefit from the conventional banking and financial system.  This new form of financial access allowed them to start micro-enterprises hence providing them an escape from the depths of poverty.

Similarly access to market information would allow people in small towns and villages to reduce or eliminate the role of the middle man who does not get them a fair price for the products they grow or create. Access to health and education services is another area that is a constant battle that can be tackled using simple technological innovation. Add to this access to citizen services which would make people”s lives easier and would add an element of efficiency resulting in increased productivity.

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Technology can  be the enabler for a lot of these every day problems. It can also assist in cases of disasters and emergencies. What is needed are simple and creative ideas that can facilitate the use of technology to provide the solutions that are needed.

And that is what this Fund is meant to do. Spot a problem in your city, town or village. Think of how the use of technology can alleviate the problem for the community. Submit the idea, show how it will work and show how you will keep it sustainable once the initial seed money has run out. The best ideas will receive a grant, and will be provided guidance on how to take the idea forward.

Do you have such an idea? Is it unique? Is it innovative? Are you capable of taking the idea forward? All you need is money and advice? Then fill in the Application Form now and we will get back to you first week of September to let you know if yours is one of the ideas that has been selected.

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