Jeroninio “Jerry” Almeida who is now a serial social entrepreneur and social scientist working on institution building, has been a volunteer from his very early days having worked for creating awareness about causes related to the blind, aged, animals and children while schooling in St. Xavier’s high school. He continued volunteering and contributing with his cutting edge ideas for social awareness by creating big ticket projects and initiatives through his days in St. Xavier’s college in Mumbai and now in his thirties continues as the CHIEF VOLUNTEER with the organisation he founded in 2004 called iCONGO- Indian Confederation of NGOs. Jerry from his teenage days believed there is a greater purpose to life, which is not just about creating wealth for oneself and our near & dear ones, but that life is to be lived well to leave behind a legacy of a better world for future generations where there is social equity for one and all.
In early 2008 year he received a nomination for the young global leader’s award by the world economic forum. Last year, Jerry was a finalist for the Eisenhower fellowship and was one of the expert discussion leaders on climate change and citizen action for addressing global warming at the “World economic forum’s India Economic summit”. Jerry is also a prolific writer on various topics for leading newspapers and magazines, speaks at various forums on CSR, fundraising, media responsibility, sustainable business strategy, retail, etc organised by UN bodies, EU, WAC, WEF in India and overseas and also does guest lectures at various institutes in India and overseas.
Professionally Jerry has amassed huge wealth of experience and relationships over the years with his work in the corporate, media, government and NGO sector with over 20 years of cumulative experience having started his career at the age of 16 with Indian Express. A maverick strategist & analyst with ground breaking, innovative, feasible & workable ideas Jerry has been as “serial entrepreneur” and began the first BTL agency in India for Advertising, Movie Marketing, Events & promotions, Direct marketing & BTL marketing at the age of 17 and in the first year achieved a billing of over 50 million INR in 1988. Involved as Non Executive Director with his co-founders (purely as the chief strategist for Target Direct & Integrated holdings that worked on strategic business and marketing planning with companies like ITC, L’Oreal, Indian Express, Discovery Channel, Benckiser, Coca Cola, Foster’s, Seagram’s, Microsoft, Sun Microsys, Taj Group of Hotels and various media and entertainment companies like MTV, STAR, SONY, ESPN, TEN SPORTS, Universal, Virgin and other Indian entertainment start-ups like ABCL, Plus Channel.) while continuing to work and gain experience with companies like ITC Ltd and L’Oreal in senior management.
TDI pioneered movie marketing, contests, in movie product placements and below the Line marketing activities in India. Jerry helped build the agency over years and took over as MD in 1995 to consolidate the holdings. Finally they divested in end 1997 when a top international communications firm bought the agency holdings. With his money he then invested in dotcoms (including the first email service offering 100 MB at that time) from 1997 till 1999. In 1999 Jerry moved to Delhi founded start up in media & entertainment with 1500 mn working capital from top venture funds for producing & distributing movies, music albums, TV serials and satellite cinema halls with funding from International venture funds and Indian angel investors. Jerry was also the first to start a 500 million entertainment venture fund to invest in Bollywood movies and projects
Jerry gave up a successful corporate career after 14 long years and transitioned to the not for profit sector (as his heart was now keen to work towards social causes that were dear to his heart and focus on institution building) In 2002, where at the age of 30 he became the youngest International Director and Chief Executive of ActionAid India/Society and led the way for creating supporter involvement and solidarity for the Gujarat riot victims, the homeless, tribals, dalits, positive people, the disabled, sex workers, and underserved children of India, Tsunami victims and various other neglected and invisible communities. At ActionAid Jerry also focussed on building the India strategy and also formed subsidiary companies for fundraising activities, a publishing house, movie production unit, a shop to sell deprived NGO products and a CSR consulting outfit working purely on business models.
In 2003 at the behest of the ActionAid chairman, he founded iCONGO- Indian Confederation of NGO. He has planned and successfully implemented not for profit social ventures in media, retail, education and livelihood training and is now promoting grassroots innovation and entrepreneurship for empowering communities at the bottom of the pyramid. iCONGO in association with a global UK based CSR advisory has also started iCONGO iNTEL & Associates a CSR advisory and consulting firm.
In his past life Jerry has been the pioneer in India to use entertainment formats like movies, music albums & videos, TV serials, big ticket events like classical and international acts and music concerts, Bollywood movie premieres in India, UK and USA, international art auctions with Christies and Sotheby’s and other out of the box ideas through cause related marketing to mainstream various causes.
Jerry has consistently used the media effectively to sensitise people about social issues including the popular Page 3 campaign with The Times Foundation that caught people attention and made them aware of various issues and invisible communities, the popular FTV campaign, the magic box on Jet Airways, the first online auction of 200 things that money cannot buy and charity starts on the home page with eBay and Chivas. Jerry produced the first Bollywood movie “Ek Alag Mausam” on HIV Aids in India on the lines of “Philadelphia” highlighting the issue of lack of dignity for people living with HIV and the first big music video on children and community rights. Jerry was also the pioneer for creating agencies for face to face fundraising in India and today this network is used by various charities.
Jerry has also served with the UK government bodies where he was the architect of the UK – CREATING TOMORROW initiative (which is now being replicated around the world) including the scholar hunt on NDTV and UKTI, business leadership awards on CNBC that were launched by Tony Blair in 2005 and the Climate Change film competitions in association with Golden Panda to promote the cutting edge advantage of environmental work, education and business in the UK. Today at 38 years of age, he has completed a full circle working in the corporate, media, development and the government sector.
In 2006 Jerry was head hunted by McKinsey & Co to come on board in a strategic & advisory role as a founding team member & chief development officer for their Public Health Foundation of India venture- a public private partnership with the Government of India with funding from the Ministry of Health & family Welfare, Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and various philanthropists including Global Indians like Uday Khemka, Vinod Khosla, Mukesh Ambani, Rohini Nilekani, Arjun Malhotra, Shiv Nadar, Ranbaxy, Satyam, Dr. Reddy’s labs, Zydus, DFID, USAID, Dorabji Tata trust, Pfizer, Merck and various others.. Jerry was responsible for building a public health eco system and helping with government partnerships and land resource mobilisation, building partnerships with corporates, foundations, and academia/bilateral-multilateral agencies and helped put PHFI together for 2 years.
Jerry is now with the US India Business Alliance as Director- India mission and continues as a honorary champion with the NGOs and PPP he was associated with like iCONGO and PHFI both not for profit start up, and also an honorary advisor & champion personally to some organisations like War Wounded Foundation, PHFI, Dalit Voluntary Association Foundation, Catholic Bishop Convention of India, WOTR, Aman Biradiri and Population First. He is now also on the advisory board of “Education world- making education the number 1 item on the national agenda for India ” with some very eminent people like N.R. Narayana Murthy (promoter-Chairman & CEO of Infosys Technologies); Jaitirth Rao (former CEO of Citibank India and Chairman of Mphasis-BFL Software); Adi Godrej (Chairman of the Godrej Group of Companies); Dr. Ramdas Pai (Chairman of the Manipal Foundation); Dr. Rajashekharan Pillai (Vice-Chairman UGC); S. Ramadorai (Managing Director of Tata Consulting Services (TCS), Dr. F. C. Kohli and various others from academia, India Inc, media and civil society.
Jerry is from India’s holiday haven Goa and has been a Bombay Boy & Xavierite throughout his learning years and lived in Bombay for most of his life and now lives in Gurgaon- Delhi National Capitol Region with his wife Jugnu Grewal Almeida and 4 year old son Zorawar Wilfred Singh Almeida.