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PRESS RELEASE

Government of Bihar Honors 32 Impactful Social Innovators and Entrepreneurs at the 2nd Bihar Innovation Forum

February 3, 2014

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar felicitates winners

PATNA, January 31, 2014: The government of Bihar today honored the winners of the 2nd Bihar Innovation Forum for developing innovative, high impact, rural solutions. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar felicitated the winners who were chosen from nine key livelihood areas: agriculture, livestock, financial services, rural energy, ICT based solutions, skill development and non-farm sector, access to entitlements and access to services.

The 2nd Bihar Innovation Forum saw 27 winners from about 500 high impact innovation applicants from across India while five winners were chosen from about 1700 grassroots innovation applicants from within the state of Bihar.

The winners in the high impact category were given cash prizes of Rs 7 lakhs for the first position, Rs 5 lakhs for the second position and Rs 3 lakhs for the third position, in their respective sectors. The five winners from the grassroots category were given an award of Rs 1 lakh each.

Speaking on the occasion Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said: “I would like to congratulate the winners of the 2nd Bihar Innovation Forum and look forward to seeing the rural landscape of Bihar change through their innovations. We are witnessing a social revolution in Bihar and the Bihar Innovation Forum is a step towards growth and progress.”

What is significant is that the winners will get an opportunity to partner with the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project Society (BRLPS) to replicate and scale up their innovations and leverage its social, financial and economic capital base developed over the last six years. BRLPS will offer a holistic canvas to the innovators and social entrepreneurs to create maximum impact by providing access to a pool of over 1 million households trained and organized as Self Help Groups (SHGs) – expected to grow to 15 million households over the next several years. The winners will have the opportunity to leverage an investment of US$ 120 million dollars already made through community savings and commercial, government and project investments with the potential to reach US$ 1 billion. They will also receive mentorship and incubation support from the BRLPS and its partners to ensure last mile delivery, field level logistics and implementation.

“The first Bihar Innovation Forum was a radical approach that helped us unearth pioneering innovations such as the System of Rice Intensification. The tremendous success of the 2nd edition of the Forum is a testament of the country’s entrepreneurial spirit and resolve to effect social change. I, on behalf of Jeevika, congratulate the winners and look forward to collaborating with them for solving the problems of the poor,” said Arvind Kumar Chaudhary, Chief Executive Officer, Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (BRLPS) said,

The 2nd Bihar Innovation Forum launched its call for applications in April, 2013 and received nearly 500 applications from 16 states across India in the 9 rural sectors in the high impact category through an online application process. Based on a rigorous due diligence process that involved on-site field validation of 125 applicant organizations based on assessment criteria such as applicability, outreach, impact, sustainability, scalability and replicability - 65 organizations were invited to pitch to an imminent independent jury. The top 3 candidates in each of the 9 sectors were felicitated and given cash awards by the Chief Minister, Government of Bihar in an awards ceremony on January 31, 2014. The grassroots category attracted about 1700 applications from within Bihar and 16 were invited to pitch to a jury. The top 5 were felicitated and given cash awards by the Chief Minister, Government of Bihar.

“The Bihar Innovation Forum will create an enabling environment for investment in the growth and development of Bihar. Government of Bihar deserves to be congratulated for supporting and providing a partnership opportunity for innovators and social entrepreneurs to thrive in a wide range of sectors,” said Onno Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank India.

Mr. Parmesh Shah, Lead Rural Development Specialist, World Bank said, “The Bihar Innovation Forum has created an institutional eco system for investment by innovators and social entrepreneurs. It has enabled the investment made by the government of Bihar in creating, high quality social capital to be matched with creative and entrepreneurial energy of innovators and social entrepreneurs from all parts of India. Breakthrough innovations, spotted and surfaced will lead to significant improvement in livelihoods and ensure higher and affordable access to services”.

The 2nd Bihar Innovation Forum organized under the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project is a one of a kind initiative to find innovative, rural livelihood solutions through an open, transparent and competitive process. It is an acknowledgement of the fact that innovation, entrepreneurship and partnerships are increasingly important for addressing major development challenges related to poverty, inclusion and sustainability and brings together different stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors to form partnerships for customized support to inclusive innovations and social entrepreneurs that enable the development of viable, scalable business models for maximum impact on livelihoods in challenging socio-economic and agro-climatic conditions. 

Partners of the Bihar Innovation Forum include - Acumen Fund; Ashoka; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Center for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; Dasra; Dalberg; Ennovent; German Cooperation; GIZ; International Finance Corporation; Innovative Change Collaborative; Intellecap; Intellecap Impact Investment Network; National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development; Shell Foundation; Small Industries Development Bank of India Venture Capital Limited; UKaid; Villgro; World Bank Institute.  

Check here for list of Winners: http://www.biharinnovationforum.in/

Media Contacts
PRESS RELEASE NO:
SAR/317/2014