Inspiring young change-makers – Anchoring an interaction with youth @ Optimum 2015, Shivaji College –

I was invited by one of the old colleges of Delhi University, Shivaji College, to moderate a discussion with a group of young change-makers. It was a pleasure engaging and addressing the youthful audience, while anchoring the session. Here, I profile the inspiring panel and what they shared, in brief.


Optimum 2015, Shivaji College – An interaction with inspiring young change-makers

Saloni is the founder of DesiCrew, a for-profit organization employing over 300 people that’s focused on creating knowledge-based livelihood opportunities in small towns and rural areas. Saloni stepped down as  the CEO in March 2012 to hand over to a professional management team and continues to participate on the Board.

In 2012, along with her friends, Saloni co-founded Safecity, a citizen’s initiative to make Indian Cities safer again. The platform encourages people to share their personal stories of harassment and the location where the incident occurred. As more people pin, hotspots are created. The team then works with the relevant authorities to improve the situation on the ground.

Saloni Shared –

  • An Engineer, started the company at 23,
  • Parents are doctors and professors
  • Started at a startup event at IIT Chennai
  • The aim was to enable technology can reach the hinterland to harness the potential
  • Generate employment for rural youth and uplift the
  • Nasscom acknowledged DesiCrew to be first such initiative
  • In 2011 reached a strength of 300 people
  • Transferred the management to a professional team in 2012
  • 2012 launched SafeCITY… based Voluntary support, cloud sourcing for safer cities and towns
  • Currently heading business alliances, an intrapreneurial role, with Paytm focusing on financial infra from education sector


  • Founder and Chief Executive Officer HarVa (Harnessing Value of Rural India…);
  • Engineer, BITS Pilani;
  • Graduate, Management Technology, SEAS and The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Recipient, awards and honours, including:

CNN IBN Youth Icon/Young Indian Leader (2011); Amazing Global Indian, Times Now (2012-13); Yahoo unsung Heroes (2012-13); Manthan’s Chairman Excellence Award (2011); SKOCH Financial Inclusion (2011); TiE Entrepreneurial Excellence (2011); Rotary International Iconic Youth 2014; 50 most inspiring stories of 50 years, BITS Alumni; 50 most Creative Leaders at THNK.

Ajay shared –

  • Hailing from conventional family, with usual expectations of excelling academically did Engineering from BITS Pilani.
  • Then headed to the US for MS
  • Worked with CITI
  • Then one fine day asked myself, what am I doing?
  • Realized, I have not been doing what I really want to do…left everything and came back
  • HARVA – the challenge …49% of people generate less than 10 percent
  • Focussed on Community farming


Optimum 2015, Shivaji College – An interaction with inspiring young change-makers


Passionate about impact-driven companies addressing social problems through market based solutions & sustainable business models

  • Areas of interest: Decentralized energy and water solutions for developing countries, poverty alleviation, global health
  • Brown University MSc., Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship; University of British Columbia BSc., Electrical Engineering
  • Specialties: Business Planning & Strategy: Technology assessment & ideation, Primary market research, Concept definition & refinement, Market segmentation, Business model development, Financial forecasting

ISAYOrganic – Why?

  • Trying to establish a change, for sustainable life – 2010
  • Food, agriculture… Basic need
  • Helping farmers to overcome challenges
  • Did Farming for one year to understand the ground realities…
  • Realized the problems of scale in the organic agri
  • Web and phone based ordering platform…
  • Network of organic farmers…
  • Connecting the consumer


Anirban Gupta is the Founder and Director, ‘Dhriiti-the courage within’, a Non-Governmental Organization in the field of entrepreneurship and micro enterprises. Mr. Gupta did his Bachelors in Economics from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University and went on to do his Rural Management from Xavier’s Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar. He worked with FODRA, an NGO working in north east Delhi.  A few months later, he moved on to start “Dhriiti” along with two other friends.

Mr. Gupta is an individual with a very pragmatic viewpoint towards the solutions of economic problems, solutions that do not just concentrate on stacking the ever-growing pile of ex gratia in the hands of the rich, but solutions that ponder more upon the needs and requirements of the society as a whole. He believes in the modest application of social work in the field of economic development.  Mr. Gupta nurtures strong belief in the fact that development of the society does not just call for “social service” that defines the establishment of social institutions.

Anirban shared..

  • Born and brought up in the steel city of Jamshedpur
  • Every one was an engineer in the town due to TATA STEEL
  • My pursuing commerce upset parents
  • Then took rural management to their utter shock
  • What tension did I create when I did not want to get into placements

Dritii, started with my frustration..
– Inspiring….youngsters to get into entrepreneurship

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