Mahindra’s second Spark the Rise challenge opens for entry till December 2012

Second edition of Mahindra’s Spark the Rise 2012 returns with a heightened sense of commitment, more partnerships, resources and support to help innovators, entrepreneurs and volunteers to drive positive change across 5 categories- technology, infrastructure, energy, agricultural & rural development and social entrepreneurship in the country.

The opportunity to participate in the Spark the Rise grant program continues till December 31, 2012. During the Grant Period Program there will be periodic application cycles through which applications can be submitted. Each Application cycle will last between 10-15 days and followed by a voting period of similar duration.

Spark the Rise is a digital platform for change-makers across India to connect with one another, collaborate and exchange ideas, procure volunteers and donors, and to compete for monthly grants from Mahindra.The campaign will run in 4 rounds (around three weeks each) from October 2012 to mid- March 2013, including a Grand Finale round. The campaign will enable change makers to drive positive change in India through funding, training and mentorship.

Spark the Rise will give 12 grants each month, plus 5 grants during the Grand Finale. In total, it will award 53 grants. Each month, 8 winning Projects will receive a grant of 4 lakh each, while 4 winning Ideas will receive a grant of 2 lakh each. In the Grand Finale, the top winner in the Project category will receive a grant of 40 lakh, while the two runner-ups will receive grants of 20 lakh each. In the Idea category, the top winner will receive a grant of 20 lakh; the runner-up will receive a grant of 10 lakh.

As of now, 406 volunteers, 37 donors, 38 funders and 1441 sparks (project and ideas) have come-up to the Spark the Rise’s platform. 11 projects have been enrolled under project in technology, 3 under infrastructure and transportation, 4 in energy, 16 related to agriculture and rural development and 47 under social entrepreneurship.

For each of the four monthly rounds and the Grand Finale, projects and ideas will be evaluated both by the public and  expert Jury. Anyone who signs up on Spark the Rise is eligible to vote and can support their favorite sparks (projects and ideas). The Jury will evaluate each submission by looking at the Spark’s impact, feasibility, and potential. However, thorough public voting, voters are free to evaluate Sparks as they choose. In addition to that, even if any spark entry is not chosen to receive a grant, it can always use it as a platform to attract volunteers and donations.

In 2011, Spark the Rise empowered 48 innovators with grants, and enabled thousands more to join the movement to help India rise. PNLIT’s Puttenahalli Lake nurturing project was one of the 48 projects that received a grant during first season. Spark the Rise has helped PNLIT in building awareness of the importance of water bodies and public open spaces, and the instrumental role of local citizens in safeguarding their environments. Improved visibility has resulted in more volunteers, sponsorship of specific items for PNLIT including an active “lake saving movement” in Bangalore.