A report from the Skoll Social Innovation Case Competition

 A report from Deepti Pulavarthi and Samantha Bastian, current MBA students at Saïd Business  School and this year’s Case Competition Co-Chairs.

“The students of the current MBA class organized the second Skoll Social Innovation Case Competition on May 2, 2015. With participants from across Oxford we saw some exciting and innovative solutions to problems faced by social entrepreneurs. We had ten teams compete; each team consisted of three participants from various University departments ranging from business, finance, engineering, sociology, interdisciplinary bioscience and public policy.

Agratam India case winners

Agratam India case winners with Agratam Founder, Akshay Verma

This year we had two organizations, Agratam India and Gram Vikas, as cases for student teams to provide solutions to business problems. Both cases were written by student organizers and focused on real challenges being faced by the organizations with questions revolving around scaling impact delivery, financing scale-up plans and measuring social impact.

Gram Vikas is an established not-for-profit in India tackling various tribal and rural development issues for the past 35 years such as education, land-use, housing and more recently water and sanitation. Agratam India, on the other hand, is a relatively new organization attempting to increase rural incomes through for-profit fish farming.

The teams were sent the cases 36 hours before their presentation and were given an opportunity to meet for a Q & A session with Yashveer Singh, Head of Strategy and Collaborations at Gram Vikas and Akshay Verma, Founder and Director of Agratam India.

An esteemed panel of experts from the social enterprise, impact investing and consulting field judged the final presentations of the solutions. The panel included Pamela Hartigan, David Hill, Fred Hersch, Natalia Pshenichnaya, Daniela Papi-Thorton, and Candice Motran.

The winners for the Gram Vikas case was a team of MBA students – Owen Scott, Chris Rex and Jessica Lau for their recommendation on bringing focus to water and sanitation work to attract CSR funding while managing a portfolio of other funders for supplementary rural and tribal development work. For the Agratam India case the winning team was Dan Copleston, Charlotte Lau and Bhavna Mittal from business and public policy. They recommended a phased approach for scale-up with innovative financing and incentives solutions.”