Fred here again. Today is Sunday in Mumbai. Everyone is pretty beat and just trying to decompress. Erin left last night, I am just hanging around, and the Reachout team is doing the same I suspect. We are leaving in a few days.

The last month has been pretty hectic, starting with the Acara Challenge finals, the hustle to get the trip arranged, my work symposium and then the travel to Mumbai. We haven’t really had a chance to catch our breath to assess the Acara pilot challenge. Overall, I think we would have to say it’s been a success. We really rushed the schools into it, and I know that caused some issues with structure and communications. But the teams generally overcame that, and the result was seven pretty good business plans. Our objective for Acara is to generate businesses that have social impact. But we do that via educational institutions. This means we also need to provide that education and structure. The end result though should be high quality plans, as Erin and I know that you can teach innovation and do product development plans in six months. Corporations do it all the time.

During our trip here to India, we have had a chance to talk to many people about social venture startups. I think the Acara plans from our teams compare very favorably to most of these. That was an observation by us, but also by others here, so I feel fairly safe in saying that publicly. And then of course, there is the great success Reachout is having here. All of this really validates Acara’s basic premise, and helps us to think about how to structure the challenge for next year. We have to focus pretty hard on the India side, both in terms of structure and getting the university classes going earlier and structured around the challenge process.

Like most startups, Acara’s biggest challenge now is resources, namely people and funding. That’s high on the list to address when we get back from India.

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