Calling All Social Entrepreneurs - Your Chance To Win

Incubators, accelerators launch hunt for a winning social enterprises and change leaders

May 06, 2013 / 02:32 PM IST

Khyati Dharamsi

It doesn’t matter what domain you’re engaged with as long as your start-up has social impact. Yes, it’s that time of the year when social entrepreneurs sit up and take notice as the Sankalp Forum announced some winning propositions the Sankalp Unconvention Summit 2013 held in Mumbai from April 16 to 18.
“In India, there is a bubble of incubators that is going to come up, and a lot of incubators will be entering the social impact space. They will learn about the sector and invest in social impact. In the end, we will see fewer incubators but a serious effort from them,” said Dave Richards, co-founder and managing partner, Unitus Seed Fund, on the sidelines of the Sankalp summit.
But if you missed your ticket to fame at the summit, don’t lose heart. There are other reputed organisations offering handholding support, funding and capacity building in the form of fellowship programmes. Entries are currently open for the following programmes announced by accelerators and incubators aiming to identify innovative social enterprises.

Artha Venture Challenge
Through the Artha Venture Challenge, Artha will work with a cohort to build a compelling growth story, find investors, make strategic connections and provide expert mentoring designed to keep pace with fast-growing social ventures.

Audrey Selian, Director at the Artha Platform, said, “The Artha Venture Challenge is now open for entries for the next 12 months for ambitious, early-stage social enterprises. A cohort of up to 15 social entrepreneurs will get the opportunity to pitch for up to Rs 25 lakh of funding if matched by equivalent or more in co-investment.”

‘Matching funding’ refers to funds raised by the entrepreneur on their own to meet the hybrid needs of debt or equity funding. The Artha Venture pools money from ultra-high networth investors, who are looking at a 6-7 year timeline. The challenge is being managed in India by Ennovent.

Villgro Fellowships and Fresh Graduates Programme
Villgrow is looking at fresh graduates who have identified or started their ventures. “We shall provide them office space, a stipend and mentoring, provided they operate in the social space and deal with the problems of the poor,” said P R Ganapathy, COO, Villgro Innovations Foundations. Applications will remain open till the end of 2013.

Application are open till May 14, 2013 for the Villlgro Fellowship, where professionals with at least three years' work experience in strategic planning, marketing, sales, HR, finance and accounts or operations will battle for 20 fellowships. This programme is aimed at cultivating a pipeline of social entrepreneurs who will receive a stipend, health insurance and access to conferences as well as a 12-month grooming programme.

CIIE Accelerator Programme
This year, a cohort of 15 for-profit companies that use technology in the social space was built. “Village Capital and Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entreprenuership (CIIE) will identify two enterprises of these 15 and provide them help with capacity building and scaling up. The year ahead will see more challenges and a hunt for another cohort of technologically innovative companies,” said CIIE’s Akash Bansal. This year’s programme will end mid-May, after which the deadline for applications will be announced for next year’s programme.
Other Programmes
There many other organisations and groups providing mentoring support and fund-raising help early-stage ventures. Deautsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has an MSME Promotion Programme that aims at helping innovative small and growing businesses with social impact in India.

GIZ provides support and capacity building through match-making events for raising funds, regional events to promote business, training programmes and global networking with MSMEs in India.

Intellecap, which organises the Sankalp Social Enterprise Awards every year, handed over a grand prize of US$ 40,000 to this year’s winner along with Artha Venture Partners. The hunt is on for next year’s innovative social enterprises.

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