Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Budding entrepreneurs! Clean drinking water for all - Business

Shobha Warrier in Chennai

It was an event for budding entrepreneurs to showcase their Innovative Socio-Business Projects at IIT Madras organised by Genesis, a joint initiative of the Siva group (a $3-billion global conglomerate) and C-Tides (Cell for Technology Innovation, Development and Entrepreneurship Support), IIT Madras.

With a total prize money of Rs 4 lakh (Rs 400,000) and a potential seed funding from angel investors, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs who will be judging the commercial feasibility of projects, it was an event that was widely participated in by young budding entrepreneurs.

The winners of Genesis last year was Team Amrita Healthcare, comprising students from Stanley Medical College Chennai and NITK Surathkal.

They have established a company NewDigm Healthcare Technologies Pvt. Ltd. with the motto of 'Health for all'.

The winner of Genesis 2011 (Rs 240,000) is Aquaregia developed by the students of IIT Madras that can not only provide clean purified water at 25 paise per litre but also create entrepreneurs in every street in villages.

The winning Team from IIT Madras has five members -- Vinay Sridhar, Lohit Vankina, Vishruth Srinath, Arun Chandran and Ananth Jain.


After attending a course on entrepreneurship at IIT Madras, Vinay -- one of the three founders and who represented the team -- said he was inspired to be an entrepreneur and not work for any company after his studies.

Vinay continued, "We met a lot of entrepreneurs while doing the course. The kind of impact their ventures had on people and society made me realise that I also wanted to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is about creating a change. Whether it is in rural India or urban India, it doesn't matter. I want India to be a better place. Aquaregia is one way by which a change can be made, I feel."

What is Aquaregia?

Aqua regia in Latin means royal water; so called because it is used to describe a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids that can dissolve gold and platinum.

Vinay adds, "We feel water is as precious as gold and platinum. When we realised that 60 per cent of rural India does not have good drinking water, we thought we had to tackle the problem."

Three of them led by Vinay started their research on the project eight months ago. They also spoke to a range of people and found that the problem did not lie in the kind of purification devices that were there in the market.

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