Select Page


The Multidisciplinary Approach to Innovative Social Enterprises Program identifies and steers innovative social enterprises based on rigorous academic research. These enterprises seek to address issues that keep India’s vulnerable populations in a cycle of poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy. This project is a collaborative effort with The Tata Trusts.


According to the 2014 Planning Commission report, nearly 29.5% of the Indian population was living below the poverty line in 2011-12. This situation continues to create a vicious circle of extreme poverty, morbidity and mortality, illiteracy, and a skills deficit for livelihood creation. The program will address problem areas that include, but are not limited to, health and healthcare delivery, education, women’s safety, creation and enhancement of livelihood for those at the base of the pyramid.


Initiatives supported through this program address significant issues for populations most in need across India. The populations that are impacted by this program’s initiatives will range from individual families to communities in the urban, semi-urban, and rural areas across India. Through the Multidisciplinary Approach to Innovative Social Enterprises Program, the Mittal Institute provides a platform approach that connects Problem Identifiers, Experts, and Entrepreneurs to collaborate on innovative social enterprises across sectors and address India’s most pressing challenges. 

  • Problem Identifiers are individuals who have deep knowledge of the problems on the ground and serve as a resource group that collects, organizes, and identifies existing problems across India. 
  • Experts are thought leaders and academics who conduct research and analyze persistent problems in India and other emerging economies. 
  • Entrepreneurs are those who address the problems equipped with the information acquired from Experts and Problem Identifiers

There may be instances where an individual will belong to multiple categories. The idea behind the Institute’s platform is to create a mechanism by which the three groups can connect with each other through an online and/or a physical platform, and develop ideas that consistently address problems in India. 

Through its key projects that translate research into practice and policy, the Institute has worked toward creating and improving rural livelihoods, advancing education, bettering health outcomes and disseminating scientific research nationwide.

Core Objectives

  • Catalyze current efforts initiated by the government, civil society organizations, academia, and select corporations for the economic empowerment of Indian masses. 
  • Augment current social enterprises or identify opportunities for new enterprises through its research, data analysis, needs assessment, prototypes, use of technology, and training.
  • Provide mentorships, trainings, and opportunities for collaborative hands-on designing of prototypes to build capacity of potential entrepreneurs across India in multiple sectors.
  • Build on the existing knowledge and generate new research using scholarly materials, scientific data on best practices, and solutions for addressing systemic problems of India relating to health education and income generation.
  • Provide policy guidelines to governing bodies to initiate appropriate changes in the identified areas.
  • Create a broad network of experts from India and the US, whose knowledge will complement each other and will serve as a resource for emerging social entrepreneurs supported by the Tata Trusts Incubators and Accelerators across India.


PrincipAL Investigators 

Tarun Khanna; Director, Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard University; Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; and Chairman, NITI Aayog Expert Committee on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Government of India

Rahul MehrotraProfessor, Urban Design and Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Ashok Gadgil; Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley; Faculty Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Fuel Efficient Cookstoves, Defluoridation of Water)

Pawan SinhaProfessor of Vision and Computational Neuroscience, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT

Satchit BalsariAssistant Professor in Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant Professor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Conor WalshGordon McKay Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Vikram Patel, MD, PhD; Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School

Christopher DugganProfessor in the Departments of Nutrition and Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Jacqueline BhabhaFXB Director of Research; Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health