Early on at the Sankalp Forum 2011 one of the 600-odd attendees told me that the event’s buzzword would likely be “ecosystem”. It turned out to be a  pretty apt observation. From the crowded hallways to the beanbags in the networking lounge, ecosystem creation was certainly on people’s minds.

The event kicked off with Sam Pitroda, Chairman, National Innovation Council, video-conferencing in from Chicago and continued to include panels about scale, impact investing, government and each of the five Sankalp sectors: education; technology for development; health, water and sanitation; clean energy and agriculture, food and rural business.

On day one, the #sankalpforum hashtag was a trending topic on Twitter – showing the growing interest in social entrepreneurship.

A few highlights:

  • The education sector panel where impact investors and education practitioners debated the good intentions and shortcoming of India’s Right to Education (RTE) act as well as well as per-student spending in education today.
  • The Impact Investing in India session where representatives from Acumen Fund, Omidyar Network and Gray Ghost Ventures talked about what makes an enterprise successful as well as what constitutes success in impact investing.
  • The Guru Mantras session where Nick Hughes, Co-Founder, M-PESA and Managing Director, Signal Point Partners; Anand Kumar, Founder, Super 30 (Ramanajum School of Mathematics) and Vijay Mahajan, Chairman, BASIX Group shared their experiences with entrepreneurship. Kumar’s passionate speech had the audience laughing and clapping along with every story, concluding in a standing ovation. (And let me assure you, my not understanding Hindi barely detracted from his speech.)
  • The Dasra Social-Impact Graduation ceremony where this year’s participants formed peer groups and voted to see which social businesses and non-profits would receive funding or grants. The atmosphere was contagious, and by the end of the ceremony, everyone was on his or her feet.
  • The healthcare, water and sanitation sector panel where Anil Swarup, Director General Labour Welfare and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, stole the show by explaining the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) scheme that uses smart card payments to provide health vouchers.
  • The awards ceremony where emerging and growth stage enterprises in five sectors were recognized. In the agriculture, food and rural health sector, winners received funding. See all of the winners here.

Sankalp Forum is an initiative of Intellecap, the publisher of Beyond Profit.

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