Business Ideas

Innovative and New Business Ideas from India and the Globe – Volume 1 – October 2009

PhokatCopy – Get Photocopies of notes and books for free – http://www.phokatcopy.com/

phokatcopy

Phokat copy is a pro student initiative that provides free photocopies subsidized by advertising on the back page.


Shoe Dazzle – http://www.shoedazzle.com/

shoe-dazzle-business-ideasUsers of Los Angeles-based ShoeDazzle begin by taking a fashion survey, the results of which are used to guide the company’s personalized shoe selections. Each month, ShoeDazzle’s personal stylists then send the user an email with five new shoe choices, handpicked to suit her personality and fashion preferences.

The user simply logs into the site to select the pair she wants, and it gets shipped out for free. Monthly membership costs USD 39, which covers the shoes and shipping. Members can skip a month’s selections, in which case they won’t be charged; they can also return or exchange shoes they don’t like.

ShoeDazzle currently ships only within the United States and Canada, but it’s a safe bet that fashion-minded consumers in other parts of the world would also appreciate some monthly shopping guidance, for shoes, clothes or accessories


Thin Flexible Solar Paneling – http://www.powerfilmsolar.com/

solar-tentIowa-based Power Film  makes low-cost foldable and rollable solar panels in which the solar technology is monolithically integrated in a polyimide substrate that’s flexible and durable, yet as thin as 0.025mm. With an absorber layer made of amorphous silicon, PowerFilm solar panels use as little as 1 percent of the amount of silicon used in traditional solar panels; they’re also cadmium-free.

Since 2005 the company has been using its technology to manufacture solar field shelter tarps for military applications, and now it’s developed the ability to combine it with standard building materials as well.


Gym Technik – http://www.gymtechnik.com/

Users can set up a Gym Technik account online at home, and then use their smartphone to access routines and data while at the gym, where they can also input data on weights, sets and reps, and track their performance with progress charts and graphs. Collected data can be submitted to Gym Technik’s personal trainers for advice about achieving fitness goals, and users can access an extensive library of trainer-approved workouts.

Gym Technik guarantees that its basic edition will remain free, but is working on a premium (paid) service.

While similar apps are available for the iPhone, there’s still room for entrepreneurs to create mobile offerings for other devices, helping consumers track and improve progress towards fitness or other goals, from weight loss and healthy eating to academic development and finance.


Website helps office workers to get to know their neighbours – http://www.stackd.biz/

Now in beta, Stackd was created by New York-based Supermetric to enable its own neighbouring office workers to get in touch, whether “for business or beers,” as the site puts it. Currently focused on Manhattan and Brooklyn, the site is free to use for both individuals and businesses, which are encouraged to list their offices on the site.

After signing up with Stackd, users can browse by address through the listings of other businesses in their area, hook up and expand their social network locally. The site explains: “We would like to think that it’s the people around you that should be part of your social network: people you meet in the elevator rather than on Facebook, people you follow to the 14th floor instead of on Twitter.

Online social networks are great for what they are. We built STACKD to tap the potential of the place you stick around most: the office.”


Operator Assisted Web Search in India and Uganda – http://www.questionbox.org/

question-box-indiaProving that the internet’s information doesn’t always have to appear on-screen, Question Box brings the web’s intelligence to offline communities. At the heart of the venture is a solar-powered intercom box that features a large green button. By pressing the button, a user is connected to an operator sitting in front of a computer. The caller asks a question and the operator does a web search to find the answer.

Two Question Boxes are currently operational in the Indian state of Maharastra, where the first box was installed by California-based non-profit Open Mind in September 2007. In March 2009, the Applab Question Box service was launched in Uganda—tweaking the model by enabling callers to contact call centre operators from their own mobile phones. Both services log previously answered questions in local databases, speeding up responses to future enquiries and providing information offline in case of lack of connectivity. Queried topics range from crop prices and cricket scores to exam results.

The free service brings almost limitless information to poor and rural areas, in a format that transcends literacy. As the scheme expands, it will be interesting to see whether the boxes begin to focus on specific niches: health advice or political updates, for instance, or be adopted by corporate sponsors offering a similar service in exchange for airing commercial messages.


Stretchable jeans for pregnant waistlines –

Maternity Jeans – http://denimtherapy.com/maternity-jeans/

maternity-jeansPregnant mothers simply send New York-based Denim Therapy their favourite jeans. Denim Therapy then inserts expandable side inseams in the pants that will move and grow as the woman’s belly expands. Perhaps even better, however, is that once the baby is born and the mother has brought herself back to her pre-baby figure, Denim Therapy will restore those jeans back to their original form.

As the company puts it, “Why spend money on a new pair of maternity jeans when you can feel sexy and comfortable in your own favourite jeans. And voila, you’re also doing your part of being environmentally conscious.” Pricing on the service is USD 60 per pair.


Online Peer to Peer Currency Exchange – http://www.peepex.com/

PeepEx the peer to peer currency exchange will be launching soon!


Helps parents in UK find new schools for their children- http://www.whatschoolnext.co.uk/

From their Website –

What School Next gives you, the parent, access to all the information you will need in deciding which secondary school to send your child to.

• We have done all the research for you! We can provide you with the answers to all those questions you are thinking but don’t know where to get them.

• What School Next’s dedicated research team have spoken to thousands of schools through out the UK to enable you to access all the information you will need on one easy to use site.

• This site will save you time searching through endless school sites, having to make lots of calls, leaving messages and waiting for call backs.

• What School Next is “run by parents for parents” we understand how you feel.


Vending Machines for Healthy Foods – http://www.lofresco.es/bienvenidos.php

Finding a convenient, healthy snack can be difficult in workplaces and schools where fruit trees are long gone and the best on offer now comes from a vending machine stuffed with junk food.

Now a Barcelona company- Lof short for ‘Lo Fresco’)—has brought a similar service to market in Spain. Sidestepping the debate over whether organic food is all it’s cracked up to be, Lof’s emphasis is on solid nutritional value. Their machines, which are supplied, installed and maintained for free, sell nuts, prepared fruit, ready meals.


Crowd Source Capital – http://crowdsourcecapital.blogspot.com/

Crowd Source Capital – Sources ideas, capital and skills with the support of online crowdsCrowd Source Capital showcases projects, ideas and skills using a propriety peer to peer online financing platform, which enables project owners in need of capital to raise funds in five ways: Investment, loan, patronage, charity and sponsorship. Crowd Source Capital Group also researches payment systems, legal & political issues.


Get Shares in New Zealand Bee Hives – http://www.yourpurehoney.com/

New Zealand start-up Your Pure Honey is offering customers the chance to own a share of a beehive in and enjoy the Manuka honey it produces. A basic share costs USD 285 per season (September–May) and yields 2kg of raw honey (delivery costs are included). Those who their own personal colony can adopt an entire hive as a ‘Premium Partner’ for USD 2,500 and receive 20kg of honey at the close of the season.

Your Pure Honey is keen to establish a personal connection between partners and their hives. Each partner receives a personal link to a website that’s updated throughout the season with photographs and videos of their hive, and the material is collated in a photo book and DVD at the end of the season.

Abhay N

Author : 

Abhay is the founder and managing editor of India Microfinance. He is passionate about microfinance, financial inclusion and social entrepreneurship in India.

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