On January 11, 2021, the World Bank Group and CES announced the winners of the Global Tech Challenge: Solutions for Women, launched at CES 2020. In the list of winners is the ‘Soochnapreneur’ (Information Entrepreneur) model from India, solution driven by the New Delhi based Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF). The other two winners of the Global Tech Challenge are Bridge for Billions and MicroMentor.
The winning solutions are recognized for their innovative efforts in addressing the widening digital divide and internet access gaps for women and generating opportunities for them created by digital technologies, particularly during crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, when connectivity is the key.
“ From increasing access to connectivity and information for women in rural areas to mentoring isolated female entrepreneurs, the winners of this challenge are tackling the digital gender divide on multiple fronts. The World Bank Group is pleased to work with the selected innovators so that women and girls worldwide can fully embrace the opportunities offered by digital transformation,” said Boutheina Guermazi, the World Bank’s Director of Digital Development during the announcement.
The SoochnaPreneur solution is recognized for its digital based rural / community entrepreneurship drive that connects India’s rural citizens to information, rights, government entitlements and other necessary digital services. Since its creation, it has trained 25,000 rural women to further empower more than 5 million rural women in India.
The ‘SoochnaPreneur’ initiative was launched by Digital Empowerment Foundation in 2016 with the initial grant support of the Qualcomm under its ‘Wireless Reach’ program. Since then the solution traversing diverse scope, challenges and opportunities have been able to reach out to underserved areas and communities with access to information, public entitlements and digital resources through community led ‘SoochnaPreneurs’ (more at https://soochnapreneur.in/
). The solution has by now received support from diverse partners and stakeholders towards replication and scale up in creating ‘SoochnaPreneurs’ in every village/Panchayat in India as information and digital change agents.
Read more at: https://www.soochnapreneur.in/awards/
The Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award
India Award is a joint initiative that has been introduced through a collaboration between Jubilant Bhartia Foundation and Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship(a sister organisation of the World Economic Forum)
The award is given with the objective of recognizing promising and successful social entrepreneurs, with excellence in large-scale, system change models. The social entrepreneurs are one of the key enablers of inclusive growth who implement practical and sustainable solutions to address challenges in numerous areas including health, education, and environment, access to technology and job creation.
Digital Empowerment Foundation was selected as a finalist for the year 2022 along with Frontier Markets, Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions, Saahas Zero Waste and Youth4Jobs.