New Delhi– In the run-up to next year’s edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), the foremost conclave of the Indian diaspora, the government is organising a national contest to identify the top 25 social innovations that can be showcased to expatriate Indians, a senior official said on Thursday.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said at his weekly media briefing here that the contest was being organised by the Economic Diplomacy Division of the ministry with the support of Atal Innovation Mission, Niti Aayog.

The PBD 2017 will be held in Bengaluru from January 7 to 9.

“The objective of the National Contest on Social Innovation is to identify a pool of social impact innovators that have developed or are developing commercially feasible solutions to the socio-economic problems of India,” Swarup said.

“This would facilitate the creation of a community of innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, grant bodies, and mentors to support the selected start-ups for commercialisation and scale-up.”

The key focus sectors for the contest include clean technology, education, health, housing, public transport, skill development and livelihood, waste management, water and sanitation, and women empowerment

“The 25 best innovative start-ups with a social impact will be showcased to Pravasis participating in the PBD through an exhibition,” Swarup said.

“The exhibition will offer an excellent opportunity for the Indian diaspora (those who represent angel investors and private equity interests) to connect and interact with these social innovators and associate themselves with the social entrepreneurship movement in the country,” he added. (IANS)