Besides her original name, Josephine Selvaraj is known by quite a few nicknames, and of the lot ‘Queen Bee’ is the one even she is proud to flaunt. Josephine Selvaraj is both an entrepreneur and a social entrepreneur. Unlike the many high profile women entrepreneurs we have written about in the past, Josephine turned entrepreneur to fulfill the most basic need that many Indian families still struggle for – three square meals a day. “We were a family of five me, my husband and three children. My husband earned Rs 2000 per month and things were difficult when you have children going to school and a family to support,” explains Josephine. She has a degree in history and at some point she also toyed with the thought of being a teacher. But a three-day course in bee-keeping at Krishi Vigyan Kendra(KVK) at Madurai changed her life forever.
Based in Varanasi, SMV is a social enterprise that serves cycle rickshaw drivers in India. The company sells cycle rickshaws to poor rickshaw drivers on a deferred payment basis so that they can make manageable weekly payments over approximately a one year period. By the end of this period, the drivers have full ownership of their own licensed rickshaw. In addition, by making the weekly payments, the drivers are able to establish a credit history which can prove beneficial if they seek any loan in the future and would be relevant to help improve their financial inclusion.
We recently wrote about Bangalore based Varthana raising a funding round from Accion. The finance lending organization, founded by Steve Hardgrave and Brajesh Mishra, provides access to loans for entrepreneurs working towards improving the quality of education for low-income groups.
Devesh Kumar is what you’d call a young achiever. Hardly a year out of college, Devesh has founded the Entrepreneurship Cell (Patna), ViDel, WhiteShark and D-Labs. And for D-Labs, Devesh has won the National Social Innovation Honours 2013.
Agriculture is a huge sector of opportunity for a country like India (and so believe investors). Startups can bring about a much needed revolution in this sector which is grappling with inefficiencies. Founded by Amit Sinha, Ashok Prasad and Chetan Singh, Akshamaala is one such startup that works with farmers in rural India to help them make farming a commercially sustainable and profitable model
Aspada Investment is a VC that has been started by Thomas Hyland and Kartik Srivatsa to invest in sectors that create a social impact. Aspada recently received a $10 million commitment from the Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF) to work to promote economic opportunity and sustainable impact in India. In an announcement, Aspada has made it’s first investment in Lawrencedale Agri Processing (LEAF).
MECIntelligence is a venture that provides intelligence on maritime, energy and cleantech sectors. Co-founded by Sidharth Jain in July 2011, MEC Intelligence is a global strategic- and market growth process support company that provides knowledge and insights in the core sectors.
Villgro, an organization that seeks to catalyze development by fostering social entrepreneurship in rural India, today launches the sixth round of its Fellowship program. The Villgro Fellowship began in 2008 with a mission to attract talented human resources to the social sector. Since the launch they have helped match 29 fellows with social enterprises across India, giving them a new outlet to exercise their skill set and simultaneously create a social impact.
Bangalore is a thriving startup hub in India with hordes of technology products startups coming up. Amidst this tech space, there are initiatives from various NGO’s that are trying to solve a few on the ground problems. One such initiative is Pollinate Energy that focuses on the urban poor in Bangalore.
Satin Creditcare Network Limited (“SCNL”), a microfinance institution headquartered in Delhi has announced the successful completion of its round of funding to the tune of USD 7.6 million. The funding has been raised from MicroVest II, LP, ShoreCap II Limited (managed by Equator Capital Partners LLC) and Danish Microfinance Partners K/S (“DMP”). MicroVest has simultaneously purchased all equity shares from Lok Capital LLC, marking Lok’s complete exit from SCNL where it has been an early stage investor since 2008. Unitus Capital was the sole financial advisor to the transaction.