The event aimed to empower social entrepreneurs by giving them an opportunity to pitch for and raise funds/grants to conduct projects, and move from these to formal operations.
The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) India, an initiative supported by PwC , which helps social entrepreneurs to start a social impact project, today invited investors to raise funds for 16 entrepreneurs at the Social Impact Funding Forum i2i - 'Invest to Impact' in Gurgaon. The event aimed to empower social entrepreneurs by giving them an opportunity to pitch for and raise funds/grants to conduct projects, and move from these to formal operations.
The investment panel constituted of institutional impact investors, individual impact investors, HNIs, CSR organizations, philanthropists, donor agencies and venture capitalist. The event was also well attended by representatives from UNDP, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Asha Impact, IIT Kanpur, and Ambedkar University Delhi, among others.
SSE India had launched a nine-month fellowship program in April 2016 aiming to address inequalities and social exclusion by supporting social entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to transform their talent into real social outcomes, through sustainable solutions to poverty and disadvantaged communities.
Shalabh Mittal, CEO of School for Social Entrepreneurs says, “The nine months fellowship programme has given each of the 16 entrepreneurs the confidence and skills to create successful social ventures. i2i is a step forward in their entrepreneurial journey. SSE India creates platform for early idea stage social entrepreneurs to pivot and solve the social problems with entrepreneurial approach.
Their projects are oriented around health, education, livelihood, agriculture and sanitation. Young, dynamic and enthusiastic people advocate and work for issues such as skill development, access to healthcare, mobile healthcare and better security measures for the agricultural population. These projects directly impact the farmers, labourers, migrants, Dalits, slum dwellers and other marginalised groups.
Alpana, a potential investor from Asha Impact, said, "It was extremely gratifying experience to learn about the passionate entrepreneurs trained by SSE India. Most of these trained social entrepreneurs are matching our needs to involve technological advancement to address the core issues".
Investors from Tata Trusts and Ambedkar University, Delhi complimented the process of selection of the SSE India fellowship participants. The variety of innovative interventions presented today will require to develop sophisticated business models to achieve social value. Incubation and Mentoring support for a longer period would be necessary.
These entrepreneurs are not only outstanding in the regional context, but on a national level. Many of them work at an impressive scale—serving low-income households and transforming their quality of life. Navya Tarang Foundation in Chandigarh focuses on primary healthcare for urban poor. Gramshree Development Services is a Pan-India project which focuses on Innovative Marketing Solution for marketing of organic produce of tribal farmers. Smile Express, an initiative by Dr. Mukesh Panwar works on oral health and tobacco cessation in Rajasthan through a mobile 'dental hospital'.
Expressing her views as a part of first batch of this programme, Raisa Dawood said, “Before I joined SSE I experienced inability to take my idea forward. SSE India gave wings to my dreams and I have a hybrid model social enterprise bringing the impact in the lives of underprivileged children.
She further added, “My interaction with bureaucrats and legal advisors while I was exploring to set up my enterprise, did not give me solutions. I found SSE to my rescue which guided me with information that I didn’t know I ever needed. The programme helped us in sharpening and structure the ideas while reducing the confusion on way forward. SSE India offers an inclusive programme to bring people across age-groups to pivot their ideas. What best can happen to you after such impactful training is when the Government officials and bureaucrats are looking forward from me to orient them.”
SSE India’s fellowship program showcases the right balance of the purpose & the process for the development of the social entrepreneur. It enables them to pitch their idea or share impact with individuals & institutions. This way they are able to demonstrate and raise much needed grant or a seed fund to conduct their pilot or proof concept to move ahead. A small amount of money is what they need to develop a new idea further to create impact.