Rickshaw Rising Challenge

Expanding finance for low-carbon transport

Business solutions with the potential to improve the quality of service, livelihood and safety and environmental performance of the auto rickshaw sector. Photo by Francisco Martins/Flickr

Business solutions with the potential to improve the quality of service, livelihood and safety and environmental performance of the auto rickshaw sector. Photo by Francisco Martins/Flickr

The Rickshaw Rising Challenge was a first of its kind platform to support entrepreneurs that are changing the face of urban mobility in India. Launched in November 2013 with the support of Shell Foundation, it called for applications from businesses revolutionizing the ubiquitous but unorganized auto-rickshaw sector.

The Challenge gave entrepreneurs the chance to receive awards of $100,000 and 6-months business support. EMBARQ India received applications from ~50 businesses that were:

  • addressing last-mile connectivity, emissions, driver welfare, consumer experience
  • creating new networks, organizing drivers, providing financial services
  • developing technology, analyzing data, designing cheaper and better products, and
  • improving existing informal systems and monetizing under-utilized assets

In February 2014, EMBARQ India held a 2-day boot-camp for 8 finalists and gave awards of $50,000 to Autowale in Pune and $25,000 each to AutoRaja in Chennai and Three Wheels United in Bangalore. Shell Foundation and EMBARQ India provided business and technical support through most of 2014 to these growing businesses.

Post the Challenge, there has been significant activity to bring previously unorganized auto-rickshaws onto ride hail and booking platforms in large Indian cities.

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