Thursday, December 18, 2008

Press conference on 21st December

L-RAMP is inviting press for the Press conference of “L-RAMP Award of Excellence” at 11:30 AM at Taramani Guest House, IIT Madras on 21st December, Sunday, followed by lunch. Press persons can attend “L-RAMP Award of Excellence” at CLT Hall, IIT Madras at 2 PM on the same day after the press conference. Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO of Infosys is the Chief Guest for the programme.

Press Note-


Lemelson Recognition and Mentoring Program (L-RAMP) is a joint initiative of Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and Rural Innovations Network, supported by The Lemelson Foundation USA. The programme was launched in September of 2004. L-RAMP supports ‘Innovations’ that can eventually create an impact in the lives of the larger section of the society, especially of the underserved population. L-RAMP provides Funding, Mentoring, Network support and recognition to the innovators to take their innovations to market. L-RAMP focuses on sectors like- Agriculture, Dairy, Water, Energy. Till now, L-RAMP has provided incubation support to 23 innovators and some of them are ready for commercialization. For more information, Please visit-

The core objective of the programme is to provide incubation support to innovations that show strong promise for positive social benefits, while also leading to self-sustaining enterprises. In the pilot phase of the programme, efforts were focused on innovators based in the state of Tamil Nadu.

As an initiative to encourage the innovator community and to recognize their efforts, L-RAMP has institutionalized “L-RAMP Award of Excellence”, an annual awards program. Through this award, we try to recognize various stakeholders’ viz. grass-root innovators, Young innovator, women innovator, social enterprises, social investors, media and a lifetime achievement award etc., who work towards making contribution to ‘Bottom of Pyramid’ innovation and grass root entrepreneurship.

All awards, excluding Lifetime Achievement Award, will carry a trophy, certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 25,000. Lifetime Achievement Award will carry a trophy and Rs. 50,000.
There are eleven awards in seven categories. Applications were made directly by the participants. The selection process consisted of three stages viz., a) Desk screening by team members based on applications received and expert reviews as and when required, and b) Selection Level 1- Presentations by short listed applicants to the panel of eminent Jury ,who selected the two to three potential candidates/ nominees c) Final selection- eminent panel of Jury selected the Winners.

The awards ceremony will take place at CLT Hall, IIT Madras on Sunday 21st December 2008 and will be presided over by Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO of Infosys.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

L-RAMP incubatee is a finalist for the Tata NEN Hottest Startup Award

Former L-RAMP incubatee, Perfint Engineering Services, has just been selected as a finalist in the India-wide Tata NEN Hottest Startup Awards. Out of nearly 600 nominees, Perfint has been selected as one of the 30 finalists for this prestigious competition.

We salute their achievements and look forward to many great health care related innovations from them.

Announcing the RIN fellowship!

A message from Rural Innovations Network, one of L-RAMP's parent organizations. The RIN fellowship is a great chance to learn about and contribute to social entrepreneurship while 'on the ground'. Contact for more information.

* * *
Dear Friend,

Rural India needs ideas that can deliver inclusive, eco-friendly and sustainable prosperity. A handful of individuals – better known as social entrepreneurs, are making a difference by blurring the boundaries between business and social good. These individuals stand out for their vision, purposefulness, passion, leadership, innovativeness, risk taking ability, and persistence.

Do you, as an individual aspiring to be one such pathfinder, need a space that's a live laboratory to hone your instincts and sharpen your abilities? Do you need an opportunity that prepares you before you launch your dream venture? Do you simply want to break away from the routine and engage with the fascinating rural India?

Rural Innovations Network (RIN), supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, presents the first RIN Fellowship, an 10-month program designed to equip individuals who dare to follow their dreams and can help build a prosperous rural India. The RIN Fellowship offers the space you need to put your intent and talent into action. Through the Fellowships, you learn social entrepreneurship hands on.
Through the RIN Fellowship program, you will:
  • Know through experience the innovation and social enterprise sectors
  • Be skilled in successfully mentoring an innovator
  • Know how to enable innovations effectively
  • Understand rural markets
  • Develop your social entrepreneurship capabilities
Interested in becoming a RIN Fellow? See the PDF file here to apply! Or tell someone who wants to make a difference to rural lives in India!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Announcing the Innovation to Market Programme

Over the years, we have realised that linking Innovations to the Markets is imperative to address the unmet needs of the rural customers and create the accompanying social impact.

To address this particular challenge as also to make Rural Innovation Network (RIN) financially more sustainable, we are proud to announce the launch of 2 new initiatives as part of the 'Innovation to Market Programme' which is funded by HIVOS, headquartered in Netherlands.

The programs are as follows: -

  1. Innovator to Entrepreneur program - Link Innovators to Entrepreneurs to take Innovations to the Market
  2. Rural Innovation Fund – Market research, Fund positioning & Legal entity creation

The 1st program will be the responsibility of Rajeev Surana whereas RIN will be appointing a new Chief Investment Officer (CIO) to undertake the 2nd program.

We take this opportunity to thank our Team members, Board Members, Advisors, Funding agencies and all those involved with RIN for their continued support and are confident that the above programs funded by HIVOS will help us move closer to realise our vision of empowering Innovators to serve rural markets and create significant social impact.

Special thanks are due to Mr. Muralidharan from HIVOS – Bangalore office for encouraging us to undertake these programs to address specific gaps in the Innovation Ecosystem.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

KAVI: Making every voice heard

Cerebral Palsy also known as CP is often described as "An intelligent mind captured in a disobedient body". This is a non-progressive condition caused due to damage in some parts of brain especially during child delivery. This leads to loss of proper functioning of motor nerves which are responsible for neuro-muscular coordination leading to various problems including speech impairment. The muscles become stiff (spasticity) and reflex movements are absolutely uncontrolled making it impossible for a person to carryout normal days work and making him dependent on someone else. Though the learning abilities and intelligence level remains normal. According to a study conducted by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that cerebral palsy has the second highest economic cost amongst all birth defects. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, as the damage to the brain cannot be reversed, but it can be managed by different interventions.

In order to maximize one's potential; education in some form is a must. Many initiatives have been taken in last few years in terms of providing education and training to a person with CP. Technology has played a major role worldwide to overcome few of these challenges, but most often these technologies are restricted to urban areas. Unfortunately for the rural dwellers with CP, technologies have failed to address the problems of rural areas in terms of affordability and accessibility. The conventional ACC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) systems like flip-charts having alphabets, eye-pointing, graphical tablets etc are typically used in India. All these methods are slow, cumbersome and are not very interactive. Attempts have been made to create computer softwares for this purpose. But since computers are expensive and consume more electricity, these kinds of technologies could never address the rural needs.

KAVI, designed by Invention Labs, is an AAC device focusing on children with Cerebral Palsy with speech impairment. The main goal of this innovation is to empower these children in rural India to join mainstream schools without any inhibitions or loss of self-respect. This will in turn lead to greater economic productivity and improved social perception. KAVI is a handheld assistive device with an LCD screen which has been designed, keeping in mind the special requirement of children with CP in rural areas. It has two main components: AVAZ is interacting software which generates sentences based on the click signals sent to the system which is then read out to an interlocutor. It allows children to compose sentences rapidly and hence effective communication. This also allow teachers to structure their instruction with the students with more creativity and to come up with innovative ways of conveying concepts to disabled children. ADITI is a contactless switch with a large surface area making it easy to use for a person with poor motor control skills. KAVI runs on a nickel metal-hydride battery which makes it environment friendly and safe to use. The device itself is portable which can also be mounted on a wheelchair. The design gives a very playful feel to make it easier for children to accept the device.

L-RAMP is very pleased to welcome Invention Labs and their KAVI product into our incubation programme. In the coming months, Invention Labs will be carefully studying the wants and needs of people with Cerebral Palsy with the goal of using the study results to move KAVI towards commercialization.

For further details contact:
Mobile no: 9600152349

Thursday, October 9, 2008

L-RAMP organising seventh PIP

L-RAMP is organising seventh Pre-Incubation Programme for innovators on Friday the 10th October 2008 at IIT-Madras. The purpose of the PIP is to enable the innovators to innovate better and to create an impact in the society through their innovations. About 30 innovators are expected to be attending the programme. Identified experts will take sessions on Problem identification & solution, Low cost prototyping, Finding investment, Protection of intellectual properties, Licensing & Technology transfer and the twelve common mistakes committed by the innovators. We hope that the participants shall implement these learnings in the idea to market journey of their innovations.