Four high-impact social entrepreneurs nominated as finalists of the ‘Social Entrepreneur of The Year’ Award – India 2021 By Schwab Foundation & Jubilant Bhartia Foundation

Four high-impact social entrepreneurs nominated as finalists of the ‘Social Entrepreneur of The Year’ Award - India 2021

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the sister organisation of the World Economic Forum and the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation, a not for profit organisation of Jubilant Bhartia Group today announced the finalists of the 12th Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) Award – India 2021.

The following accomplished high-impact social entrepreneurs have been selected as finalists for the SEOY Award – India 2021:

1. Aparna Hegde, ARMMAN;

2. Seema Prem, FIA GLOBAL;

3. Pranshu Singhal, KARO SAMBHAV;

4. Shuchin Bajaj, UJALA CYGNUS;

An eminent jury panel comprising industry stalwarts and distinguished personalities from different fields and backgrounds will select the final winner of the award.

The winner of the ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award – India 2021 will be announced in a virtual ceremony on Thursday, October 7th, 2021. The virtual award ceremony will be attended by various dignitaries from across the globe to celebrate and appreciate the exemplary contribution of these high spirited individuals.

The SEOY Award aims to recognise promising and successful social entrepreneurs, who are key-enablers of inclusive growth addressing challenges in numerous areas with excellence in large-scale, system change models. The winner of the SEOY Award – India will join the world’s largest network of high-impact social enterprises affiliated with The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The finalists of the SEOY Award – India 2021 are high-spirited transformational individuals selected through the stringent criterion of evaluation, based on several parameters, including COVID-19 response & efforts, background research, personal & on-ground team interactions, impact assessment, expert reviews and reference checks.

The chosen finalists are tech-enabled experts working in fields of maternal and child health care, financial services inclusion of the underserved, circular economy (recycling of e-waste, plastic packaging waste), battery waste and glass and high-quality tertiary healthcare services to the under-privileged.

Using ground-breaking innovation in their respective initiatives, these social entrepreneurs are bringing impact through the inventive use of technology, working on frameworks of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), development of AI powered Fintech platform, availability of low-cost super-specialty hospitals in tier-2 & tier- 3 cities of India.

The SEOY Award – India 2021 opened for applications in March 2021 and received over 100 diverse submissions from 28 cities of India including 28 from women social entrepreneurs. The categories of the intervention included healthcare, clean technology, media communication, disability, energy, enterprise development, labour conditions, microfinance, nutrition, sustainable farming and water & sanitation.

The SEOY Award – India has established itself as one of the most reputable awards for social entrepreneurs in India. This year the award celebrates its 12th year. In 2010, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and Jubilant Bhartia Foundation came together to promote social innovation in India through the Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) Award – India and has since recognised and supported the growing field of social innovation in India.


Dr Aparna Hegde from ARMMAN

Founder and Managing Trustee

Sector: Healthcare

Established: 2008

ARMMAN is a non-profit organisation that leverages technology to create cost-effective, scalable, non-linear, systemic solutions with proven impact to improve maternal and child health in the first five years. ARMMAN’s programs provide pregnant women/mothers with critical preventive information to improve health seeking behaviour. It also supports health workers and systems with technology-enabled comprehensive training.

It adopts a ‘tech plus touch’ approach and leverages the health worker network of the Government and its partner NGOs along with the deep mobile penetration. It is currently implementing its ‘Kilkari’ (largest mobile-based maternal messaging program across the world) & ‘Mobile Academy’ program (largest health-worker training program globally), in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. ARMMAN has also partnered with Google AI for Social Good for predictive analytics/AI and with Turn.IO to pilot WhatsApp as a health platform to improve maternal and child health.

It has reached over 25 million women and children and 197,000 frontline health workers in 19 states of India with aims to reach 123 million women and children and 1 million health workers by 2030.

Seema Prem from FIA GLOBAL

CEO, Co-Founder

Sector: Financial Services & Social Inclusion

Established: 2012

FIA is an impact ‘fintech’ organisation that redefines the way financial services are distributed to low income individuals in South Asia, particularly women. FIA’s AI powered Fintech platform – FINVESTA aggregates, designs and delivers sachet financial products to rural customers through its wide network of banking agents. With its distribution expertise it makes financial services more accessible, intuitive and indispensable to the underserved communities. Started to tap the ‘un-banked’ market in India.

FIA today offers an umbrella of services at its inclusion centres which comprises of accounts, cash in/cash out, fund transfers global remittances, investment and protection products, credit and distribution of Government subsidies among others. These services are specially designed for women and women-owned businesses and other financially-excluded populations who live or work in un(der) served geographies. FIA’s local banking agents receive start-up and ongoing training and professional development services from FIA.

FIA has one of the largest rural digital banking infrastructures serving 40 million customers through 30,000 inclusion centers. It aims to provide banking services to over 100 crore people across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Pranshu Singhal from KARO SAMBHAV


Sector: Waste Management

Established: 2016

Karo Sambhav is a social enterprise, with an aim to make recycling a way of life for people. It covers e-waste, plastic packaging waste, battery waste and glass and continues its exploration towards less scrutinised sectors like mattresses, textiles and tyres. Karo Sambhav collaborates with leading enterprises, strategic alliances and governments on ‘Circular Economy’ and ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ (EPR) frameworks. Karo Sambhav utilises its core strengths of deep technical expertise, grassroots action, technology and systems thinking approach to create impact at scale.

A critical aspect has been the successful integration of the informal sector with the EPR programmes as collection partners. This has resulted in the growth of over 200 formal businesses and a channelisation of USD 8.2 million in collective revenue, while creating new pathways of formal job growth. Karo Sambhav has collected and enabled recycling of over 23,000 MT of e-waste and plastics waste in the past four years and has prevented 21,100 MT of CO2 emissions. It has directly engaged 3 million people in 60 cities in 29 states of India through its on-ground awareness programmes with over 3,000 schools and 500 organisations.

Dr. Shuchin Bajaj from Ujala Cygnus Healthcare Services

Founder Director

Sector: Healthcare

Established: 2011

Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals was established with an aim to address the tertiary healthcare needs of the poorest of the poor individuals. It aims to provide global standards of healthcare to the masses at affordable prices. It aims to do so by bringing the revolution of super-specialty tertiary health care facilities to tier-2 & tier- 3 cities of India. In addition, it also ensures free medicines and offers discounts on pharmacy, consultancies and surgeries to the economically weaker sections of the society. Ujala Cygnus also mobilises the community on various facets of health awareness hence contributing to healthcare equity. It conducts CMEs (Continuous Medical Education) programmes (over 4000 conducted) through its expert doctors to other medical practitioners (over 50,000 reached) in the community to create sustainable healthcare solutions.

It is currently present in 14 districts and four states of India. Each day Ujala hospitals perform over 70 surgeries, provide consultation to over 650 patients and admit over 200 patients on an average. It plans to expand its presence to five new states in near future.