Desphande Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Written by Mitra Ardron
Thursday, 08 July 2010 00:00
I spent a very interesting day at the Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in Hubli, India, including a guest lecture on Scaling and Breaking Rules.
After being met off an overnight train, I was whisked straight to one of the social enterprises they support; the Akshaya Patra kitchen. Its run by Hare Krishna monks and feeds around 190,000 school children each day as part of a government lunch program. They feed up to 1m kids across India, mostly through centralised kitchens like this one, but also from decentralised ones.
This kitchen had an interesting gravity feed system where ingredients - principally rice & veg are taken up to the roof - I think through an archimedies screw type arrangment - and then fed down through gravity through steam rice cookers etc to the lower floor where its batched up for the vans. The decentralised kitchens might be good for a distributed solar setup, but reliability of course would be key.
The rest of the Deshpande foundation was equally interesting, especially the Fellows program that takes 23-28 year olds, and for 6 months (or is it a year?) teaches them the business skills to become Social Entrepreneurs, in their own organisations or elsewhere. There is also an international exchange program with students from the US doing social entrepreneurship programs.
I met a couple of their Fellows program graduates and was impressed how far they had come given where they had started.
At very short notice I gave a guest lecture to the students, the first part on Natural Innovation adn the second part on Social Entrepreneurship with a focus on "Getting to Scale" and "Breaking the Rules"
Part 1: Natural Innovation (handouts) Part 2: Social Entrepreneurship (slides)
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