One major gap in India’s healthcare sector, in spite of its rapid growth, is the lack of a centralised emergency response system: there is no national emergency number, nor a national dispatch system. High traffic, poor-quality roads, stressed public hospitals and a lack of community awareness all contribute to slow response rates and delayed stabilisation and treatment. Emergency response can be poor even in places with relatively developed and high-quality healthcare sectors, such as the Indian state of Kerala.

GIFT’s 45th Global Leaders Programme included a field project in the city of Cochin. More than twenty business executives took part in GIFT’s two-week programme to apply their leadership skills towards helping to resolve a pressing social issue: improving health coverage, especially emergency coverage, in both Kerala and India.

GIFT partnered with MUrgency Global Services, Inc., a mobile platform that connects patients in emergency situations with nearby medical professionals. The goal of this programme was to help MUrgency launch its operations in Kerala and eventually nationwide. MUrgency’s founders include Shaffi Mather and Sweta Mangal, the co-founders of Ziqitza Health Care Limited, the developing world’s largest for-profit emergency ambulance company whose fleet of 1300+ ambulances has facilitated over four million emergency transportations.

For a visual overview of the programme and a comprehensive review of the field-trip, please refer to the round-up.


Agriculture is the mainstay of the Indian economy and 80% of all Indian farmers are considered smallholder or marginal farmers. Many are dependent on the monsoon for rain-fed irrigation and have limited access to resources such as credit, technology and market information, which perpetuate a cycle of poverty and deprivation. Water is often present just a few feet below ground but accessing it cheaply for year-round irrigation constitutes one of the biggest challenges to rural communities. Award-winning NGO,  International Development Enterprises India (IDEI), is dedicated to providing long-term solutions to poverty, hunger and deprivation by promoting the marketing and distribution of low cost, appropriate irrigation technology solutions to farming communities throughout India.

For its 31st YLP, GIFT has partnered with IDEI and engaged 23 executives from 13 countries representing 15 companies and organisations to visit local stakeholders and produce a business plan to attract investment and further promote the sales growth of affordable irrigation solutions across India. The group also made strategic recommendations to IDEI on ways to leverage its existing resources and review its organisational structure to provide greater efficiencies through the organisation. This proposal would give IDEI the opportunity to significantly impact the socio-economic livelihoods of rural communities.

The diverse group came from countries including India, Bhutan, Qatar, UK, Germany, Japan and Indonesia and were nominated by global companies such as BASF, ORIX, NEC, Standard Chartered Bank, Mastercard and CLP.

For a visual overview of the programme and a comprehensive review of the field-trip, please refer to the round-up and photostory.


In the agricultural sectors of emerging economies such as India, capital is king. It dictates power and ownership and therefore providers of capital capture the lion’s share of surpluses created in agribusiness value chains. Now a new investment model which employs Participative Capital is challenging the status quo. The concept was developed by community-led initiative Just Change, and is the first plan of its kind which links producers, consumers and investors to ensure more equitable and sustainable economic systems. This participatory model allows for investments to be made in a manner where ownership, benefit and risk are shared by all participants.

In November 2011, 25 executives from 12 countries representing 15 organisations spent a week in India to produce a viable plan for Just Change to operationalise Participative Capital. This diverse group was comprised of emerging leaders from countries including Japan, India, Nigeria, and Malaysia nominated by global companies such as FedEx, BASF, NEC, Orix and Infosys.

The business plan presented to JCI focussed on creating a new independent operating company with the governance structure that would allow the participation of producers, consumers and investors in the production and sales of tea and paddy - a model that was created with the means to be used for other commodity products. Click here for a showcase of the business plan. For a visual overview of the programme and a comprehensive review of the field-trip, please refer to the round-up.


India model village project

New Delhi, India 5 – 16 January 2009

During the India YLP, an international group of participants worked closely with Drishtee, an Indian ICT company, which has been widely recognised for its achievements in training thousands of rural entrepreneurs in setting up internet kiosks which have delivered basic goods and services to villages across India. During the programme, participants developed a business plan which outlined exciting opportunities for Drishtee to develop its BPO services; an industry which has generated more than 30 per cent revenue growth in 2008. In particular, the plan taps into the potential of the rural economy by promoting local entrepreneurship and building the capacity of rural villagers, particularly women, to be self-sufficient.

For a visual overview of the programme please see the photo story and please refer to the round-up for a comprehensive review of how the participants uncover the untapped business opportunities in India’s rural economy.


The Gir National Park and Sanctuary in Gujarat, India, was selected for the second YLP project. The project took into account the existing challenges to the conservation of the Gir forests, the threat to the endangered Asiatic lions, and realised that the tourist draw is central to hopes of a sustainable future for Chitrod and its inhabitants. Various areas were considered including the establishment of a village cooperative to develop new and sustainable avenues of revenue, sales of the traditional exquisitely spun handicrafts – usually made for dowries, and the development of stall-feeding systems for cattle herds to reduce over grazing and damaging the ecological balance within the park. 

The business plan recommends a series of short, medium, and long term goals to improve the livelihood of the villagers through tourism. For a visual overview of the programme please see the photo story of the site visit.