Avanti Fellows, a not-for-profit organisation founded by six IIT Bombay students and alumni, won first place at the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students (BASES) Social Entrepreneurship Challenge last month.
The competition, held on May 28, had 142 entries from across the globe and Avanti was the only Indian team in the final five.
They won prize money worth $25,000.
Having tied up with IIT-B, Akanksha Foundation and a IIT-JEE coaching institute, Avanti Fellows helps underprivileged students by providing free coaching for the IIT-JEE entrance test.
This includes coaching a student-mentor programme throughout their high school and undergraduate engineering education and providing them access to IIT alumni for career advice and counseling.
“Our first batch of 12 fellows from Mumbai, who have met a basic academic and economic criterion, started attending class in May and we hope that this number will touch 50 by July. Currently, we have more than 100 alumni advisors and about 50 student mentors,” said Akshay Saxena, an IIT alumnus and Harvard Business School student.
“Avanti and Akanksha have provided me with a mentor and very experienced teachers who are helping me with my studies. Previously, I didn’t have any one but now I call them up and they are ready to help me,” said Rajesh (15), an Avanti fellow.
Apart from Saxena, the team includes Rahul Srinivasan (21) and Rohit Singh (20), who are pursuing their undergraduate studies at IIT-B, Vaibhav Devanathan (22) and Aishwarya Ramakrishnan (21) who will be passing out of IIT-B this year and Krishna Ramkumar (24) an alumnus.
Avanti’s operating model hinges on creating student run Avanti Core Teams (ACTs) on college campuses across India.
During the first phase of operations, they plan to have ACTs on each of the seven IIT campuses.
(Avanti Fellows can be contacted at www.avantifellows.org)