I have been in India the last week. I’ve had weird Internet connectivity so I have not been able to keep the blog, or much else, up to date.

I spent last week in New Delhi, this week in Mumbai, working with Rahul Arora, Acara’s India country director. Rahul has been doing a great job of setting up this trip. In Delhi, we had a meeting of the Acara India Advisory board. This was our first face to face meeting so it was great to make that important step. (At one of the first conferences I ever went to as an engineer, the guest speaker was Robert Lucky from Bell Labs, who was talking about the future of telecom. This was way back in the early 80s, the Internet was in its infancy. He was walking about remote video conferencing and its ability to replace face to face meetings. He said he was in London and this proper Englishman embraced him and said, “I need to smell the other person before I trust them”.)

The strategy board had a lot of discussion about the right next steps for Acara. The Challenge is well understood at this point, we know how to adjust it based on the pilot experience and how to proceed. But the mission of Acara is to launch sustainable social businesses. That means the second stage of Acara, post challenge for the winning teams, has to support the transition from a student team to a business. How are the team nurtured, incubated, etc. This is a longer topic for a future blog.

We’ve met with a variety of companies: Pentair Water, Reliance, Siemens, Honeywell. We met the managing director of the energy office at USAID at the US Embassy who was very insightful about the whole entrepreneurship process in India. We also met with IIT-Delhi, it looks like they will get involved.