Published on July 4, 2014 um 12:16
Name of Enterprise
Lajpat Nagar II H-19
110024 New Delhi
Type of Enterprise
Enterprise has a positive impact on
Year the enterprise was founded
Summary of your enterprise
Born in the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, India, four years ago, BloodConnect is a youth-run initiative, and now a full-fledged NGO, bent at solving the blood shortage problem in the country. India faces a shortage of more than 3 million units of blood each year. BloodConnect was founded on the simplistic premise that even if a mere 2% more youth donate blood twice a year; this shortage will be completely overcome. It envisions one thing and one thing alone: an India where a person in need of blood is able to acquire it and treat himself or his loved ones irrespective of his social status, income, contacts, caste and gender. Our organization has come a long way since its inception, focussing on ensuring a continuous and sufficient supply of blood to government blood banks, helping people in dire need of blood through our 24/7 emergency helpline, spreading awareness about the cause throughout the nation and establishing a youth network that will potentially eliminate the problem from the roots of the country. The fact that our real-life heroes started off just as a helpline four years back and are now a household name is a testimony to the fact that people are gaining consciousness with respect to the urgency of this issue of blood shortage, and that their endeavours are doing well in creating a tangible framework to tackle the same. BloodConnect has a strong 150+student volunteer team, working day in and day out in realizing its vision of achieving an India devoid of blood shortage within our lifetimes. We have:- Conducted more than 140 blood donation camps and 70 awareness drives Managed a consistent weekly outreach of anything between 50,000 and 3 lakh people Collected over 10,000 units of blood, saving over 25,000 lives
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
Sustainable development is a term that, though often associated with complicated ideas and concepts, essentially boils down to a simplistic definition: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising those of the future. In the context of the development of the Indian health sector, the blood shortage being faced by the country annually (over 3 million units) poses to be a massive hurdle. This issue pertains to everything from thalassemic kids to cancer patients to road accidents. No matter which department of what hospital you decide to visit, if one is short of units of blood, there are bound to be problems that result in anything between delayed treatment to loss of lives. BloodConnects model functions on precisely two prongs: directly tackling blood shortage (through the revolutionary Helpline model, Blood Donation Camps (BDCs) and awareness campaigns) and developing a network of youth leadership to carry forward the torch. Thus, marking the organisations achievements and performance indicators becomes straightforward. In terms of explicit units of blood collected, we have crossed 10,000 already, which translates to more than 25,000 lives being saved. We also reach out to between 50,000 and 3 lakh people weekly through our online front as well as grass-root campaigns. Furthermore, we are a youth-driven organization that seeks to ensure sustainable growth through the network that our activities build up daily. This idea of every person entering our umbrella, potentially being capable of donating a hundred times, is what drives our hunt for sustainability in this sector. All this is gradually contributing to the country heading into a more stable direction concerning the availability of blood. The Indian health sector cannot, just cannot, sustain itself if a shortage as crucial as that of blood isnt actively fought. And that is the entire philosophy behind our very existence.
Sustainability and future plans
The major problem in making such a model sustainable is its low cost base. We are completely youth-led, with a team of 150 running all operations. We organize camps only with Government blood banks, targeting the most backward sections of the Indian society, none of whom can pay for blood. Unlike private blood banks, we do not charge ANY fees or administrative costs for our services. So yes, sustainability is most certainly an issue. But weve worked tirelessly to bend around it, and are happy with the results. Our main sources of funding remain restricted to NGOs, the government and corporations. We have thus managed to receive an over-arching sum of over US $20,000 (cash and kind) till yet. This has managed to keep us afloat, but considering the expansion and mass scale awareness that we have on the cards, we estimate a need of about US$ 35,000 in the coming year, and in excess of US$ 400,000 in the following five years, taking into account complete growth and inflation. In addition to the aforementioned financing sources, which we seek to continue, diversify and build upon, we are looking at three additional aspects in this regard. With the Blood Donation Camps reaching out to more and more people, branding opportunities in such camps are being established with organizations and firms finding it increasingly beneficial to have their presence marked there. Then, were looking at creating corporate chapters similar to our college chapters, but with the one difference that they shall be self-funded. Corporations see a direct benefit in building upon their social profile through such chapters, and such a step marks a form of expansion with theoretically zero investment. Finally, BloodConnect shall soon have an online store in place too, selling out official merchandise to add to the revenues.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I am a 2013 graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, India, all of 23 years old and a co-founder and mentor at BloodConnect. The motivations that pushed me, and the other co-founder (Mr. Nitin Garg) towards conceptualizing BloodConnect revolved around a simple need-solution basis. Back in the time, a friend was in serious need of blood and I still vividly remember having to literally knock on doors and track entire addresses down in order to look for the right blood type and a voluntary donor. The experience left me a different man, and this is what led to the conception of BloodConnect. After handling a few blood requests in our institute, Nitin and I officially started the organization as a platform for a 24/7 helpline, wherein donors could register themselves and people in need of blood could raise requests when needed. This was the innovation that, we believe, made the breakthrough in this regard. Another aspect that perhaps highlights my entrepreneurial capabilities is how I managed to make BloodConnect fully independent in 2012 (as opposed to a college wing earlier). It was important to understand that being a college-limited project was limiting our expansion, tie-ups and finances. Stabilizing ourselves as an independent body, and attaining new heights from there, has been my biggest challenge as an entrepreneur till yet. Owing to the kind of work and cause that we have been involved in, it is thus no surprise that we have won several accolades for our work at BloodConnect, including the likes of Facilitation by NACO and the Minister of Health and Family Welfare on World Blood Donor Day, Government of India (DSACS and UPSACS) for excellence in promoting voluntary blood donation, and Seeds of Hope, Bain Social Entrepreneurship Challenge 2012.
World-record of largest Human Blood Drop (August, 2013) - Inset: The 3400 volunteers seen brimming with passion
The team during an awareness drive
A massive Selfless Selfies picture mosaic created to give our supporters a face, at a donation camp-cum-awareness drive