This week on our roundup, we feature news of a new investment fund, an interview with the CEO of a microfinance institution, a skills development enterprise for illiterate people and news on the Indian education sector.
The National Innovation Council was set up by the Indian government in 2010 to support small and medium sized business who use technology to create social change. They are starting an investment fund.
This fund will provide money to those entrepreneurs whose enterprises focus on the problems of the poor without compromising on economic success. They hope their fund will reach 5000 crores but it will start off with 500 crores. The Indian government will commit to 20% of the funding. The remaining will come from private investors, corporate and investment firms.
Sam Pitroda, the chairman of the council, says there are already 85 ideas in the pipeline and they expect to receive another 200. According to the Economic Times, each enterprise will receive funding between 20 lakh and 5 crores.
Sourabh Sharma is the co-founder and CEO of Milaap, a microfinance institution. Sharma is from the city of Lucknow. Milaap was founded in 2010 by Sharma and two of his partners.
At the start of their venture, they largely raised funds from high net individuals. However, more and more people are donating through Milaap’s online platform. Close to $1 million has been loaned to 5000 people through the online platform.
Sharma says almost 98% of the people who made their first loan on Milaap’s platform choose to re-lend to another borrower instead of taking their money back. Milaap have a 100% repayment rate. They use networks such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with their audience.
Justrojgar is a social enterprise which focuses on skill development for illiterate people. It was founded in 2009 by Ajaya Mohapatra. His previous venture “livelihood through microfinance” ran into difficulties due to the financial crisis. However, this allowed for the creation of Justrojgar.
Their customers are usually those who have migrated from the rural areas into the big cities. Their aim is to develop employability skills, teach professional behaviour in work, punctuality and how to interact with clients.
There is 100 hours of classroom training combined with 200 hours of training on the job. They have been able to train 25,000 people and their placement rate stands at 95%. Their aim is to train 100,000 people over the next 10 years.
Some of the figures regarding India’s education state make for depressing reading. 58% don’t complete primary school and 90% don’t finish their studies. Thankfully, there are many social enterprises who are working to overcome the deficiencies in the system.
These enterprises offer many services to people which include pre-schools and after school classes, computer academies and vocational & skill development institutes.
These enterprises face a variety of challenges and poor infrastructure is one of the major concerns. However, there are large opportunities for these ventures. The size of the Indian education market is growing at 20% and is expected to pass $100 billion in the next two years. Visit the link to read about 8 enterprises who are working hard in India to provide opportunities to those who wouldn’t have them.
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