A project to encourage eco-friendly public transport — bicycles — in the city is competing with 45 international social ventures to win a place at the Colorado-based Unreasonable Institute, which provides incubation support to entrepreneurs.
Cycle Chalao, a project committed to creating a bicycle-renting network at high traffic zones in Mumbai, is among the final contenders for a seat at the Institute.
The Unreasonable Institute will select 25 social entrepreneurs by March 12 to go through an exhaustive program in Boulder, Colorado (US), alongside mentors and venture capitalists to help scale their respective projects to serve at least a million people.
Rajkumar Janagam, 22, founder of Cycle Chalao, hopes to integrate cycling into mainstream public transport by creating infrastructure such as dedicated lanes, special parking stands and docking stations by working with partners and the civic body.
“We have received support from various entities in the city,” said Janagam adding that the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies and Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, have expressed interest in setting up bicycle rental stations.
“We want to have rental stations at each railway station,” said the Worli resident.
One of the conditions for securing a seat at the Unreasonable Institute is that the applicant has to raise the programme fee of
$8,000 (Rs 3.6 lakh) through donations. Janagam has raised Rs 1.6 lakh from more than 50 sponsors and has 17 days to raise the remaining Rs 2 lakh.
Suman Srivastava, an advertising firm manager, who has donated money to Janagam’s cause, said, “The initiative provides India with a social entrepreneurial idea that helps reduce pollution. It can even sustain itself through advertising space on bicycles and stands.”
(Rajkumar Janagam can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 9867987031.)