Vijay Aditya uses information technology (IT) to empower underserved customers at the bottom-of-the-pyramid market. His company Ekgaon provides information based services via cell phone to farmers and small entrepreneurs about their business environment, such as current market prices, weather forecasts, as well as soil and crop management. This allows them to make informed choices on farming and identify when to sell their products. Ekgaon also provides businesses such as microfinance institutions, banks, and social service organizations with open source technology, allowing them to reach their bottom-of-the-pyramid clients more effectively. For instance, by supplying data management service (with data entry via cellphones) that dramatically increase the efficiency of their operations. Ekgaon thus constitutes an enabling IT-platform, making it possible to overcome infrastructural constraints and to start and scale services in the fields of finance, health and agriculture to underserved communities. As an increasing number of companies vie for the attention of this customer base, Vijay’s technological solutions set new standards and force businesses to compete fairly and provide better services to their rural customers, while enhancing the competitiveness of rural producers in an increasingly globalized market. In return, Ekgaon offers companies consumer information they need in order to improve their products and services in remote areas. Vijay’s social enterprise has proven successful in South Asian countries, particularly in India and Sri Lanka where its financial service delivery systems have been adopted by banks and microfinance organizations.
Vijay now aims to scale his project global by partnering with local businesses that can provide Ekgaon with language and content services. Within the next five years he plans to reach 25 million clients in developing countries across South Asia, Africa and South America, where he believes the greatest impact can be made. Once it builds local customer support and development teams, Ekgaon will collaborate with mobile network operators and producers’ associations to reach a broader base of customers. Currently, it is working with MicroMentor International for expanding financial services outreach throughout eight West African countries. Vijay’s enterprise and vision are empowering underserved producers to make informed business decisions and improve their prospects for sustainable growth.