Of the 116 ambitious early-stage social enterprises that applied for the Artha Venture Challenge (AVC) – a national competition designed to identify, select and provide the best socially focused ventures access to mentoring, connections and funding – the final cohort of 15 enterprises has now been announced.
The finalists for the AVC are Aakar Innovations Pvt. Ltd, Arogya Finance, Avani Bio Energy, Banka BioLoo, Boond Engineering & Development Pvt. Ltd, Edubridge Learning Pvt. Ltd, Jackonblock Facility Services Pvt. Ltd, KNIDS GREEN Pvt. Ltd, NextDrop, MicroGraam Marketplace Pvt. Ltd, Sakhi Unique Rural Enterprise, Sanchayan Suraksha Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Sevamob, Tamul Plates Marketing Pvt. Ltd and Villgro Innovation Marketing Pvt. Ltd.
These finalists will not only receive extensive capacity building support but also the opportunity to access INR 25 lakh of equity funding, if matched by the same in co-investment within the next eight months. That co-investment may take the form of grant, equity or debt, though the AVC matched piece must necessarily be in equity form.
To ensure that the final cohort are able to secure the external round of funding necessary to access the matched round of INR 25 lakh, innovation accelerators Ennovent and Villgro will be working closely with each of the finalists to provide them customised support.
These organisations will enable the final cohort to build a compelling growth story by providing access to expert mentors, facilitating exposure to a closed network of impact investors, offering investment readiness support and profiling them as one of the most high-potential social entrepreneurs in India.
Audrey Selian, Director, Artha Platform and the newly formed Artha Networks Inc., comments, “The Artha Venture Challenge is a pioneering initiative for early-stage social ventures in India. We are excited to be announcing this final cohort and providing them the capacity building support they require to secure their lead investors, which will in turn trigger our matched round of Rs 25 lakh. Our goal is to shift the center of gravity in this space, to empower the entrepreneurs through our process, and then to encourage our peer impact investors to take action. This is indeed an opportunity for us all to replace talk with action.”
Pradeep Kashyap, Founder of MART who was on the jury panel for the AVC adds, “It was an interesting learning experience. Some of the plans from the ventures were of the highest order.”
The Artha Venture Challenge is funded by the Artha Platform, whose core funder/founder is the team at Rianta Capital Zurich. Inspired by the UK Big Venture Challenge where 10 early-stage co-investment deals were closed within 10 months, the Artha Venture Challenge aims to similarly stimulate the early growth stage social investment market, except with an exclusive Indian focus.
By strengthening seed investment in social ventures in India and helping investors de-risk through co-investment, the AVC will strategically deploy capital and resources where they matters the most.