Blog once and educate 40,000 underprivileged children of India

Here is a unique opportunity to reach out and impact thousands of lives through your blog. Yes, sitting at your desk and writing a blog post can help educate 40,000 young Indians all over our country!

One of India’s most trusted and credible NGOs, GiveIndia is taking part in a competition on Facebook to win a US$1 million grant. The winner will be the NGO that gets the highest number of votes from Facebook users. The prize of $1 million will help put or keep 40,000 children across India in school for one year!

Imagine the IndiBlogger community coming together to spread the word and help the underprivileged children of India. The impact would be tremendous and together, IndiBloggers and GiveIndia would be able to gather the votes we need to win.

Voting in the competition is for one week only, from Friday, January 15 – Friday, January 22, 2010. Can we make a difference in the next 5 days? We sure hope so!

The link for voting, where you can also see more details of the competition is

http://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/charities/338730

There’s been lots of talk about how social media can bring change and make an impact on the world we live in. Well, here is one tangible way for us to take a small action that could have a HUGE outcome.

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ISRO Launches Bhuvan. Competition to Google Earth?

ISRO , Indian space & research organization has launched Bhuvan, a satellite mapping tool similar to Google Earth and Wikimapia on 12th August 2009. Bhuvan gives you an easy way to experience, explore and visualize IRS images over Indian region.

Bhuvan is a geoportal that providisrobhuvan_thumbes medium to high resolution satellite imagery of  virtually the entire India over the internet. You can “fly” around using mouse and keyboard on a simple desktop computer with virtual globe in front draped with IRS images over Indian region. Many other features are built in, including 3D terrain and information on many thematic data.

Bhuvan is a free web based image portal. Most Image visualization programs are very expensive and complex. Bhuvan provides a fast and friendly way to look at IRS satellite data and thematic information in geographic context, which is invaluable for management, planning and visualization.

“With Bhuvan we will be able to produce very local information which will be specific to only to our own country. This information available from this mapping system will be useful in addressing very local problems like floods, famines, infrastructure development, education and much more,” said ISRO chairman Dr G Madhavan Nair.

Multi-resolution imagMulti Resolution Terraines from multi-sensor IRS satellites of India is seamlessly depicted through the Bhuvan web portal by enabling a common man to zoom into specific area of interest at high resolution. Bhuvan brings a whole lot  of uniqueness in understanding our own natural resources whilst presenting beautiful images and thematic vectors generated from varieties of geospatial information. Bhuvan will also attempt to bring out the importance of multi-temporal data and to highlight the changes taking place to our natural resources, which will serve as a general awareness on our changing planet.  There are lot more special value added services which will be enabled onto the web portal in due course of time and each one of those services are going to be unique to preserving and conserving our precious natural resources through public participation.  We are sure the common man will get rich benefits from these Indian geospatial data services in days to come.

Bhuvan can take closer pictures of the Indian Subcontinent as compared to the Google Earth. Bhuvan is capable of taking a zoom level of up to 10 meters, while Google Earth features a zoom level of up to 200 meters.

Unlike Google Earth, however the Bhuvan application will not be downloadable and will not allow users to host content in the near future. It is not yet ready for Mac OS and Linux. But, at the moment Bhuvan can run only on windows system and is optimised for IE 6. or higher with 1280×1024 resolution.

One will be able to see the following data using Bhuvan:

  • Satellite imagery (LISS III , LISS IV along with metadata and  Multi- temporal Data from OCM & AWiFS)
  • Value added information (NADAMS – National Agricultural Drought Monitoring System), Output of flood studies for certain areas
  • Thematic information  (Wastelands, Soils, watershed,water resources related maps)
  • Base layers ( administrative boundaries, transport layers, water bodies, etc)
  • Census information
  • Metadata

Advanced functionalities to be provided in future versions

  • Urban Design Tools (to build roads, junctions and traffic lights in an urban setting)
  • Contour map ( Displays a colorized terrain map and contour lines)
  • Terrain profile ( Displays the terrain elevation profile along a path)
  • Draw tools (Creates simples markers, free hand lines, urban designs)
  • Navigation map (to jump to and view locations in the 3D India)

It is mandatory to register to use Bhuvan. The basic version of Bhuvan is free. Once you register and you login, you will be asked to download the Bhuvan plug-in. Accept the installation of the plug-in and you are ready to use the full features of Bhuvan.

Entrepreneurs in India

 

Who is an Entrepreneur?

Wikipedia introduces Entrepreneur as a loanword from the French language that refers to a person who undertakes and operates a new venture, and assumes some accountability for the inherent risks. Being in business or being an entrepreneur is about taking risks and confronting challenges.

Entrepreneurs build companies that are specifically crafted to exploit a particular opportunity. This gives them an advantage over older companies that were designed in response to challenges of the past and must change to adapt to today’s requirements. Entrepreneurs can build new companies. They can also rejuvenate existing companies via buyouts and turnarounds. They can also build new companies inside existing companies, which can be called corporate entrepreneurship.

The will to spot opportunities and take risks in order to realize them is part of a person’s overall makeup, which is partly innate and partly a product of his upbringing. The best way to learn how to be an entrepreneur is to work at the side of a successful one. The problem is that entrepreneurs are understandably reluctant to hire those who cannot help them immediately. It appears that the best way to learn this is to work for a startup which offers more opportunities to learn Entrepreneural skills.

Risk-taking and opportunism go along with frugality. Really good entrepreneurs squeeze as much as possible out of limited amounts of cash. They leverage the money of others, and never invent the wheel when a good, cheap one is available in the marketplace. By keeping the rate at which they burn cash low, entrepreneurs can try a lot of ideas, most of which do not work, without losing because they ran out of money before they hit upon a workable value proposition.

Many “high-profile” entrepreneurial ventures seek venture capital or angel funding in order to raise capital to build the business. Many kinds of organizations now exist to support would-be entrepreneurs, including specialized government agencies, business incubators, science parks, and some NGOs.

Venture capital investments generally are high risk investments but offer the potential for above average returns. An angel investor (business angel in the UK, or simply angel) is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for ownership equity. Unlike venture capitalists, angels typically do not manage the pooled money of others in a professionally-managed fund. However, angel investors often organize themselves into angel networks or angel groups to share research and pool their own investment capital.

In India…

According to Global Enterpreneurship Monitor(GEM) project India Report 2001, Due to social rigidities, Indian women are half as likely as men to be entrepreneurs. Younger, moderately educated, and reasonably well-off people are more likely to be entrepreneurs. The types of startups encountered (established within the last 42 months) were mostly consumer-oriented, comprising of trading activities; most have just about a handful of employees. Main sources of funds in decreasing order were personal, financial institutions, close family members, and government programs.

The wheels of India’s bureaucracy still turn too slow for entrepreneurs, the educational system is not good at promoting entrepreneurial skills and attitudes, Indian institutes have not been as good as multinationals in R&D transfer, and India’s physical infrastructure ranks lowest among the countries surveyed in the report – all prime areas for study and improvement by policymakers, academics and business leaders.

According to Vivek paul, former CEO Wipro “The stuff that’s been done in India is staggering in terms of range and depth. I don’t think that anyone can say that the work we’re doing is trivial. But the work we’re doing is under somebody else’s direction.

Let me put it this way: For an engineer, there’s a big difference between discovering something, versus discovering something that you know somebody else says can be done. That difference is the difference between the service business and the products business. In the service business, what you’re doing is great stuff, but it is in some sense something that someone else told you to do. “

He further argues “If you look at that service business as leading to innovation and product outcomes, the answer is absolutely not. Frankly, I feel that when people work in a service business like ours, it’s almost like we give them a lobotomy. I don’t think – and I hope I’m wrong – you will see a single successful product startup coming out of people who were working at Wipro or any other similar companies. You’ll find that innovation comes from people who worked for Intel India; they’ll go off and come up with a new chip. Or someone at Cisco India will come up with a new router. Why that is, God knows. But I truly believe that there is some sort of inadvertent lobotomy that we give people. “

Is India a right place to start a startup?

Following are few interesting observations:

1. People: India is a land of technologists. It is the best place for techies with similar interests to combine their skills and innovate than in any other countries.

2. Funding: Indian startups can survive for much longer time than in any other countries looking at the limited amount of cash requirement for running business here.

Does India lack Entrepreneurship skills?

India Venture Challenge organized by The Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) met with a stupendous response and saw participation of 125 budding and aspiring entrepreneurial teams from across India, representing both new ventures and existing early stage businesses.

According to Tim Draper, Founder and Managing Director of DFJ,“Entrepreneurial talent abounds in India and needs the right atmosphere and encouragement for the skills to be honed and met with success.”

I believe it is required to create right environment to create successful business builders in India. To do this India should be focusing on following areas:

1. Create the right environment for success: Entrepreneurs should find it easy to start a business. To do so, most Indians would start slow with capital borrowed from family and friends, the CEO playing the role of salesman, a professional team assembled months or perhaps years after the business was created, and few, if any, external partners. Compare this with a start-up in the Silicon Valley: a Venture Capitalist (VC) or angel investor would be brought in early on; a professional management team would drive the business; a multi functional team would be assembled quickly; and partnerships would be explored early on to scale up the business.

To a large measure, culture shapes this style. Silicon Valley is abuzz with ideas to build global businesses; deals are continually being negotiated, teams are pulled together and partners are identified. There is almost unlimited access to multiple VCs and angel investors. Critical support services abound, including professional managers, legal firms, venture capitalists, angel investors, and placement agencies. Combine this with excellent infrastructure – connectivity, communication, and office space – and getting started is easy.

2. Ensure that entrepreneurs have access to the right skills: A survey McKinsey & Company conducted in 2000 revealed that most Indian start-up businesses face two skill gaps: entrepreneurial (how to manage business risks, build a team, identify and get funding) and functional (product development know-how, marketing skills, etc.). In other countries, entrepreneurs either gain these skills by hiring managers or have access to “support systems” such as universities or other institutions that may nurture many regional businesses. In addition, business schools give young graduates the skills and knowledge required for business today.

3. Ensure that entrepreneurs have access to “smart” capital: For a long time, Indian entrepreneurs have had little access to capital. It is true that in the last few years, several Venture Funds have entered the Indian market. And, while the sector is still in its infancy in India, VCs are providing capital as well as critical knowledge and access to potential partners, suppliers, and clients across the globe. However India has only a few angel investors who support an idea in the early stages before VCs become involved.

4. Enable networking and exchange: Entrepreneurs learn from experience – theirs and that of others. Much of the success of Indians in Silicon Valley is attributed to the experience, sharing and support TIE embers have extended to young entrepreneurs.