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The University of Southampton
The India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development

Bright Sparks

The University of Southampton has deep links with India in the field of social entrepreneurship, dating back to 2014 when the first Spark India programme launched in Ahmedabad. Since then, our collaborative links across the country have expanded and diversified, reflecting both the growing popularity of social entrepreneurship to our students, and its exponential growth in India itself – particularly in higher education.

Spark India

The Spark India fellowship ran from 2014–2017, attracting huge interest across the University, with an average of ten applicants per place.

The programme took students to different cities across India to work with social purpose organisations on real business challenges, such as crowdfunding campaigns, technology roll-outs, and programme evaluations.

Over the four years of the programme, students worked with a range of organisations including Aakar Innovations on improving access to sanitary healthcare, SafeCity on using data to fight sexual violence, and Sampurn(e)arth to decentralise waste management.

Our Spark India fellows commonly describe the experience as transformational, and many have attributed their future career successes as PhD researchers, engineers, civil servants and social entrepreneurs to the skills and experience gained on the programme.

Lightbulb for Innovation challenge

UK-India Social Innovation Challenge

In 2017 and 2018, in partnership with the Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at IIT Madras, the British Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry, we have run the annual UK-India Social Innovation Challenge (UKISIC).

The competition crowdsources solutions to social or environmental challenges from all higher education institutions in the UK and India. In 2017 the theme was clean water and sanitation, and in 2018 it was waste management.

Social Entrepreneurship Capacity Building

The Social Impact Lab has also won a UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) grant to build capacity in the delivery of social entrepreneurship in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and we hope to  have enabled 20 colleges to build their social enterprise programmes by 2021.

Through a British Council education grant, we also founded the UK-India Social Entrepreneurship Education Network which launched with an inaugural conference in Chennai in 2016, with over 250 delegates in attendance.

For futher information on Social Innovation Challenge
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