Archives for category: Acara Corps

Acara is glad to announce the details of the Acara Summer Institute 2011 and Acara Corps Fellowship 2011 programs. We encourage all interested students to apply for these programs. Here are the details as Q&A. If you have additional questions, please leave a message here or reach out to Arun/Sri/anyone of us at Acara.

Acara Summer Institute 2011
The Acara Summer Institute (SI), a program of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, will be held June 27-July 15 in Bangalore, India. The SI will be hosted by Honeywell, with participating organizations including Quicksand, India Institute of Management – Bangalore, Covenant Centre of Development (CCD), Samuha, InKlude Labs plus others.

The SI is an intensive program to help budding social entrepreneurs refine their plans and prepare to turn them into reality. It consists of classroom and field experience, including time with successful social ventures in South India.
Who should attend?
Social entrepreneurs and leaders of socially-oriented organizations. Acara does not make a distinction about what constitutes a social entrepreneur. Acara develops leaders interested in social change by helping them to view their challenges through the eyes of an entrepreneur. These leaders may be in NGOs, businesses, or any other kind of organization, but all have the opportunity to be a change leader.
Cost:
Participants from India: INR 25,000 per person. Includes mid day meal, local group transportation. Does not include lodging but  Acara can provide help with local arrangements.
Participants from outside India: $1500 USD per person. Includes mid day meal, local group transportation. Does not include lodging but  Acara can provide help with local arrangements.
Acara-sponsored teams receive a substantial scholarship, please contact us for further details.
Acara does not recommend individual attendees but at least two attendees per team. If you want to bring more than two, please contact us. Teams must also have spent at least a week in the field in the community where they are planning their venture.
Agenda
  • Three to four days onsite with CCD or Samuha to observe in depth a successful social venture
  • Two day design thinking workshop taught by Quicksand.
  • Half day workshop on community relationships taught by Sridhar Pabbisetty.
  • Half day workshop on rural innovation in India by Narayan Ramachandran, InKlude labs. Narayan is former managing director of Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets team.
  • Several lectures from IIM-Bangalore faculty.
  • Regular interactions with technical and marketing experts from Honeywell
  • Interactions with venture experts from the University of Minnesota, including post the SI.
  • A final presentation to a panel of potential investors.
To Apply:
Contact Arun Patre, at arun.patre@acarainstitute.org for more information and to apply. Attendance is limited.

Acara Corps Fellowship 2011

What is the Acara Corps Fellowship?
Acara Corps Fellowship is an opportunity for all Acara Challenge participants, current and previous editions, to continue to engage deeply in social entrepreneurship. Acara Corps Fellows are selected students that we think have a large potential to make impact, now and in the future. The Fellows will be involved in an intense form of leadership and skills training. This year’s edition will includes an intrapreneurship opportunity also, as social enterprises begin to attract the attention of larger conglomerates.
Who is eligible?
Any participant from a current and/or previous Acara program (Acara Challenge and Sales for Social Impact) can apply. In 2010, only India students were eligible for the Fellowships, but this year we’ve expanded to include US and Mexico students too. All Fellowships are based in India.
What will the Fellows do?
In Acara’s effort to create youth leadership to meet developmental challenges the 2011 Acara Corps Fellowship has outlined a variety of areas where this can be fulfilled. A short summary of the project areas are:
  • Review and assessment of a CDM project (Clean Development Mechanism, ie global carbon credits): Study a CDM-funded changeover to more-efficient stoves in rural Indian households. The fellow will get to be part of a research team that is studying the health impacts of indoor air pollution due to use of traditional versus improved stoves. A social enterprise is carrying out a massive CDM-funded stove changeout program will be part of the exercise. The Acara fellowship would entail a study to see how both objectives of changing to efficient cookstoves can be financed by CDM’s in order to subsidize the cost to customer. We are also interested in how the existing venture could be broadened to include other ongoing social venture ideas.
  • Media  engagement of the social enterprise movement: At Acara we want to strategise our engagement with the various forms of media and disseminate our philosophy and approach. The assignment would involve research work on the best forms of social media campaign along & working out partnerships with the mainstream media on Acara programs.
  • myRain: One of Acara’s incubatee’s who are piloting their drip irrigation sales distribution system in Uttara Khand have been working on their idea since last year. This assignment would evolve an on the ground perspective of rural marketing management in India, assessment of viability of drip irrigation in different terrains / vegetation and other variables.
  • University – NGO relationship management: A leading university in India, and Acara participant, extends relationships with at least 100 civil society organisations in India. Acara’s crucial inputs comes from their understanding on the ground. This assignment would focus on strengthening our ties with NGO’s and creating a harmonic relationship between Acara students and them to build on each other’s strengths. An enriching experience awaits the fellows to work on creating a platform for exchange for students with civil society.
  • Acara Challenge management: This fellowship helps you gain an understanding of what happens behind the scenes of the Acara Challenge. Get to be part of the team which prepares the ground for the upcoming fall semester challenge. The range of activities you would get to so are working with universities on the course curriculum preparation / designing program manager’s response matrix / scouting for mentors and subject matter experts etc.
  • Intrapreneur: Here is an opportunity to be part of a conglomerate which is experimenting with a new idea within their R&D initiative. Learn the nuances of being part of a nascent idea (off grid energy) which is being prototyped into a large business unit/service to serve the BoP market.
What if I’m selected as an Acara Fellow and my team is one of the selected teams?
You have to choose between working with your team and the Fellowship; the decision is yours. If a team is carrying forward an idea, we anticipate that usually the student would elect to stay with their team rather than work on the Fellowship.
What are the benefits of the Fellowship?
You get an opportunity to work with a startup social business idea. An opportunity to be mentored and trained by the best in the fields of entrepreneurship and business, network with other entrepreneurs and get a stipend during the tenure.
What is the duration of the Fellowship?
The fellowship would be during your summer break, typically for ~6-8 weeks.
How will the Fellows be selected?
Selection is based on an application and interview. To the extent that your passion for social entrepreneurship and your leadership skills are reflected in your work in the Acara Challenge, that experience may also play a role in our decision.
Is this paid?
We pay a (modest) stipend, to help cover living expenses in India. The Fellow is responsible for travel and living costs, as appropriate. Acara can help with logistics such as finding an apartment.
How to apply?
Please send in an application by April 11, to arun.patre@acarainstitute.org.  Based on your application, we’ll invite people for interviews. Please use the following format for an application (in PDF or Word format).
Name
Contact information
Year in college, Major field of study.
Acara Challenge Participation Discussion
Previous Work or other relevant experience
Why are you interested in this Fellowship and social ventures in general?
What is your career objective?
Do you have a preference for one of the topics described above for the Fellowship?
Please limit to 1-2 pages.
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Spending almost 3 weeks working with the BioServe team, it was a great learning experience for me. After understanding the plan thoroughly, my next step was to coordinate with the team to convert their business plan into reality. I divided my work into two areas: a. Talks with the govt. officials and; b. Understanding the village demand through a survey along with my american teammates.

Post Tony and Chuck’s arrival, without wasting even a single day, we just plunged into work and went to Charba. This was my second trip after the first one when I collected all relevant information about energy needs in the village. This time, we stayed at someone’s house in the village to get a glimpse of their way of living. Then we made more trips to Charba while exploring some new villages too like Paunda, Emlikhera, Laksar etc. to test the validity of our plan. We also met with the Sintex people, some MFIs and several government officials.

It was a great experience. I learnt how to deal with the people and got knowledge about how govt. procedures work in India and how in a structured manner, one can turn a business plan into a real venture. My american team-mates told me about their culture and I discussed with them about our culture and that was really interesting for all of us. I must say that they were very punctual, hard working, good at listening and quite open minded. Our time ran so fast, traveling in the scorching heat between villages, cities, working, making conclusions, discussions and reporting during the last few weeks.

However, we did go for  for some sightseeing to Amritsar and Agra where we visited the Golden Temple and the Taj Mahal. Overall, it was fun working with them and I learnt a lot in my first year and enhanced, shaped my business oriented mind. There is more ahead in my coming days of internship during July.

Maninder Singh | Acara Corps Fellow | IIT Roorkee