Acara Summer Institute 2013

7 days. 13 teams. 26 students from the US and India. Once again, Acara ran the Summer Institute in June 2013 in Bangalore, India. This year, the environmental entrepreneurship boot camp  was managed in partnership with the Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS). After the course, Acara and IIHS are continuing to work with the best teams to turn their venture ideas relating to waste management, bicycle sharing, floor seating, and others into operational financially viable businesses and non-profits. It will be exciting to see where these teams go next! Below are some photos from the course.


The Acara-IIHS Summer Institute brought together 26 student entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into an operational venture.


Over the course of the week, the participants practiced business development tools, developed an elevator pitch and short presentation and interacted with a variety of entrepreneurs and service providers.


The team is a critical part of making a venture succeed. In the marshmallow challenge, the teams were put to the test to build the tallest structure with 20 spaghetti sticks, 1 marshmallow, 1 m of string and 1 m of tape.


Teams utilized the business model canvas to organize their venture solutions and understand the relation of venture to value proposition to customer.


Sridhar Pabbisetty, who specializes in helping social enterprises work with Government, provided a workshop on the topic.


Pankaj Jain, Co-Founder of Impact Law Ventures, ran a workshop to advise start ups on legal aspects of launching and attracting investments.


The students in the course came from three streams: Acara Challenge, IIHS National Student Challenge, and IIHS social venture design program.


A panel of impact investors shared what they look for in potential investees. Participants included Wishberry, Unitus Capital, Aavishkar and Metafore Ventures.


The Summer Institute culminated with the venture pitch day on Saturday June 22, 2013. With an audience 80 strong and 7 expert reviewers, the teams made their best venture pitch. All the teams performed exceptionally well!


Nutricycle, a University of Minnesota Acara venture team, pitched their plan to work with apartment blocks in Bangalore to collect food waste and turn it into biogas for cooking fuel and compost for soil conditioning. They’ll be working with Green Power Systems, a biogas start up in Bangalore, to develop expertise in the sector, contribute to GPS’s work and develop out their Nutricycle venture plan.


Steele Lorenz, MyRain CEO and Acara alumni, introduces himself to the audience. MyRain is a wholesale distributor of agricultural technologies based in Madurai, India. MyRain’s primary product is drip irrigation, and they have another 40 products in their catalogue. They’ve been operational for a year and their sales are growing at 20-30% month by month!


The Acara-IIHS team (Julian, Brian, Fred, Deepti, Aruna) with some of the participants from the National Student Challenge.