Josh Talks launches City Champions 2024 to accelerate grassroots urban development

Building on the success of its inaugural launch in 2023, City Champions aims to identify, support, and accelerate funding for organizations working at the forefront of urban development. With the support of IIM Calcutta Innovation Park as its accelerator partner, City Champions 2024 is set to empower 16 impact-driven organizations.

*Registrations for the 2024 program are open till 20th May 2024.*

Kolkata, 16, April 2024: Josh Talks, a regional content and up-skilling platform announced the launch for City Champions 2024. Since its inaugural launch in 2023, City Champions has been dedicated to identifying, championing, and supporting organizations working towards sustainable urban development.

According to a report by the World Bank released in 2022, 600 million people will be living in urban cities in India by 2036, representing 40 percent of the population. This is likely to put additional pressure on the already stretched urban infrastructure and services of Indian cities – with more demand for clean drinking water, reliable power supply, efficient and safe road transport amongst others.

Building the necessary infrastructure is key for creating livable, climate-resilient and inclusive cities that drive the economy forward. There are organizations working towards achieving this and thus, making it crucial to acknowledge, fund and support their work.

With support from Omidyar Network India, the program aims to identify selected organizations across eight thematic areas of Public Safety, Climate Action, Water and Sanitation, City Planning, City Welfare, Youth and Children Welfare, Urban Public Transport, and Sustainable Infrastructure. City Champions 2024 is set to empower 16 impact-driven organisations with enhanced capabilities, market readiness, investment readiness and accelerated growth and expansion over a 12-week capacity building program with IIM Calcutta Innovation Park as the accelerator partner.

Expressing her enthusiasm for this year’s program, Supriya Paul, CEO & Co-founder of Josh Talks said, “City Champions reached more than 3 million people in 121 cities last year and we are hopeful to reach more people this year. This initiative is a testament to our commitment to building livable, sustainable, and safe cities for all citizens. Through this, we aim to provide social organizations with the necessary tools and resources to scale their
efforts effectively and create lasting impact.”

Shilpa Kumar, Partner at Omidyar Network India said, “We are proud to support City Champions 2024 in fostering a vibrant ecosystem of change makers dedicated to addressing the pressing challenges faced by urban communities. By providing strategic mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to funding, we are confident
that this program will drive meaningful change”.

Dr. Subhrangshu Sanyal, CEO at IIM Calcutta Innovation Park added, “At IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, we believe in actively fostering innovation and entrepreneurship that addresses big social challenges and catalyses livelihood opportunities. This collaboration aligns perfectly with our mission to support and nurture businesses that leverage technology and impact the sustainable development goals. Through this partnership, we look forward to providing valuable resources, mentorship and opportunities for growth to the selected organizations, ultimately empowering them to drive positive change in the country at large”.

Josh Talks has also partnered with Prasiddhi Forest Foundation to plant a tree for each application that is received for City Champions 2024. Organizations interested in applying can check the details and access the application form here: Applications are open till 20th May 2024.

About Josh Talks:
Josh Talks, a regional content and upskilling platform based in Gurugram, Haryana, was founded in 2015 by Shobhit Banga and Supriya Paul to give the youth of India access to stories of relatable role models. It is now one of India’s largest regional content distribution networks available in 10 regional languages and 8 content categories, states and districts. In 2020, they launched the Josh Talks English Speaking App to help Bharat speak in English without hesitation. The course has generated strong user feedback with industry-leading retention rates, unlocking new employment opportunities for users. As of December 2023, their content has garnered over 2.5 Billion lifetime views with an average of 270+ Million monthly views across platforms. The Josh Talks English Speaking app has more than 8 Million downloads with 400,000+ paid users.

Josh Talks also works closely with partners such as Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Meta, Amazon, Diageo, and more, to scale new solutions and mobilise the next half billion to create a SDG-realised future.

About Omidyar Network India (ONI):
Omidyar Network India (ONI) is an investment firm focused on impact partnering. ONI was part of the Omidyar Group, a diverse collection of companies, organizations and initiatives supported by philanthropists Pam and Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay. In 2019, ONI was conceptualized as an autonomous investment advisory firm with a new mandate. Emerging as one of India's leading impact investors, ONI is working towards fostering an
ecosystem— comprising researchers and entrepreneurs—that seeks to solve socio-economic challenges unique to India and Indians. To drive empowerment and impact at scale, ONI works with private, nonprofit and public entrepreneurs who are tackling India's most challenging and chronic problems. Omidyar Network India made its
first investment in India in 2008 and has, thus far, invested close to $300 million across equity investments and grants. About IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP): IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP) was set up under the aegis of IIM Calcutta to promote entrepreneurship, foster innovation, and develop an entrepreneurship ecosystem with a focus on East and North-East India. IIMCIP has a strong focus on social entrepreneurship and supports technology enabled innovation with social impact. In the last 8+ years, IIMC-IP has reached out to 1 million youth pan India, catalyzed 35,000+ innovative ideas,
mentored 5,500+ entrepreneurs, and supported 900+ startups, thereby positioning itself as one of the fastest- growing incubators in the country and the leading incubator in social entrepreneurship.