he Indian social enterprise Villgro, engaged in the incubation and funding of rural social innovations, is about to launch a new project. The company is planning to offer a unique one-year program for social entrepreneurs, who were not successful in their first attempt to launch a social enterprise. Villgro aims at encouraging them not to give up but to give it another shot.
Villgro’s CEO, Paul Basin, explains that “this is not just for people who have ideas. It is for people who have tested their ideas and failed, and who have sufficient learning so that they won’t fail again the second time.”
The new program is called SEED and about launch in September. Until now, Villgro’s business model was to incubate rural-oriented ideas and its financial supporters include the Rockefeller Foundation, le Lemenson Foundation, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Technology Development Board.
Villgro is currently in the process of selecting 10 promising social entrepreneurs to support. They will go through three models under the one-year program, which will include training in the fields of offering, pitching to investors and customer insights. To support the entrepreneurs further, they will have three mentors from the business world. These three mentors are PR Ganapathy, Mukesh Sharma and Thomas Pullenkav. PR Ganapathy used to work with India’s leading IT company Infosys Technologies, Mukesh Sharma founded an early stage investment banking firm called Vija Capital and Thomas Pullenkav is a successful sustainable energy consultant.
The goal of SEED is to get the social entrepreneurs ready to raise angel funding by the end of the training. By the end of the one-year program, Villgro also hopes to receive a total funding of $10 million from foundations and investors in the US.