The results are in! Isha’s Empower Generation Next project has been awarded one of two runner-up grants of twenty lakh rupees in Mahindra’s Spark the Rise contest. The results were announced on the night of April 5th, following a two-day workshop at the Mahindra Tower in Mumbai.The workshop was led by a team from Dasra (India’s leading strategic philanthropy foundation) who coached the 19 finalists in a number of areas including: developing scalable business models, creating successful organizations, and fine-tuning our presentations for the final Jury pitches.

What We’ve Learnt

Though Isha did not receive the Top Project grant, Spark the Rise has been a tremendous opportunity for the project, not only in terms of receiving the runners-up grant, but also in terms of gaining invaluable information to help us build the program’s capacity. Each step of the contest provided a new opportunity for us to re-evaluate and refine the project, which is a key part of Spark the Rise – to equip participants with all the resources they need to succeed – not just the funds. A main component that Mahindra used to rate participants on was the use of a Social Enterprise model – using revenue-based strategies (selling products or services) to fund their social purpose, as opposed to donation-based approaches. This is something our project fell short on, however it is an area we have been able to learn a lot more about through this contest.

Further Steps in Sustainability

A portion of the Mahindra grant funds will go towards exploring better scalability and sustainability measures for our Government School Adoption Program[vs1]  (GSAP) – to ensure we create a working model that grows and carries on even after our work ends. This is an imperative part of the program as we want to ensure we provide ongoing quality education to all government school-children, not just the ones we currently work with. It is wonderful to work in a community to improve lives, but those improvements need to continue well beyond our presence and interventions to truly make the program a success. The funds will help us implement key deliverables in our project model to ensure that our efforts have lasting benefits.

Thanks for Everything!

Our project has been successful only because of the support of our well-wishers. Thank you to all of our past and current donors, to our numerous Spark the Rise voters, and to our ongoing supporters and partners. Your contributions continue to play a crucial role in sustaining this program. Visit the GSAP website to find out more about our work, and to contribute towards empowering the next generation.