The Ek Soch Sandbox in Varanasi drew inspiration from the Hubli Sandbox to set up a similar ecosystem for social entrepreneurship.While Ek Soch founder Dilip Modi decided to set up a Sandbox for UP, he chose Varanasi as a hub for Sandbox activities owing to the dense population in eastern UP and the complexities of life in the region.
Speaking on the launch of the Ek Soch Sandbox, founder Dilip Modi said, “When I planned to set up a Sandbox, I was advised that it should be built in a place that I am emotionally connected to- the Hubli Sandbox and the Kakatiya Sandbox were built by the founders (Dr Desh Deshpande and Raju Reddy respectively)in places where they came from. My mother comes from Varanasi: and we felt that it was apt for the Sandbox, as the region had more population. Also, there were opportunities to tie up with the educational institutions that were present here.”
According to him, Varanasi presented multiple opportunities to work with social entrepreneurs taking up new initiatives. “One thing that we are seeing here is that there are challenges in areas like waste management, where there are opportunities for partnership,” he points out.
The sandboxes in Hubballi, Kakatiya and Varanasi work to incubate innovations that are socially relevant and help them scale to achieve impact. “The real solution to our challenge is entrepreneurship. I was drawn by the idea of incubating social entrepreneurship; mentoring and scaling such ideas.”
He said that he was drawn to the Sandbox for its committed focus on tier-2 locations. “The Sandbox focus drives its programs in tier-2 locations. Working in small towns help to work in lower costs, and to sustain the innovations. What sets the Sandbox apart is that there are no defined milestones. Other incubators push you (against milestones). Here, there is more patience, more opportunities to keep at it and not give up,” he said.