Samridhi & Upaya team up to launch dairy enterprise, create new job opportunities in Uttar Pradesh


LUCKNOW, INDIA & SEATTLE, USA — Upaya Social Ventures is proud to announce its collaboration with Samridhi Agri-Products to establish community dairies that will create jobs and stabilize income for families living in extreme poverty. Launching in one of the poorest states in India, Uttar Pradesh-based Samridhi connects poor milk producers directly to the emerging formal dairy supply chain.

“Upaya is thrilled to be working with Lokesh Singh and his team as we believe their innovative model, experience with the local dairy industry, and passion for creating sustainable change will ensure Samridhi’s success,” said Upaya Executive Director Sachi Shenoy. “With the majority of Uttar Pradesh’s ultra poor dependent on farming as their main occupation, these dairies have the potential to bring stability and prosperity to the communities where they are needed most,” Shenoy said.

Samridhi is the first partner to join Upaya’s Life-changing Interventions for the Ultra Poor (LiftUP) Project, a 24-36 month social business accelerator program that provides seed funding and strategic guidance for the development and growth of early-stage, ultra poor-focused social enterprises.

“The dairy industry in Uttar Pradesh is largely driven by small-holder farmers who account for a significant portion of the region’s total milk production but have no control over pricing,” said Samridhi Co-Founder and Promotor Lokesh Singh. “As our first investor, Upaya is giving us the opportunity to create dairy industry jobs for hundreds of women in poor communities and improve the market for local farmers,” said Singh.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, Shenoy confirmed that the equity investment is within the parameters Upaya has established for its LiftUP Project partnerships.

Each of Samridhi’s initial dairy units will create 93 jobs, and every job will provide a woman with a guaranteed paycheck. Employees will also receive training and participate in all stages of the production process including collection, quality testing, cooling, and distribution. Singh estimates that, even without additional funding, Samridhi can open up five dairy units in the next three years.

“Samridhi is a perfect example of a great business idea with a reasonable capital need and the potential to create real change in the lives of the ultra poor,” said Shenoy. “This is why Upaya created the LiftUP Project, to support social entrepreneurs with new ideas that could improve the quality of life for the 1.4 billion worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day.”

About Upaya – Upaya Social Ventures is a not-for-profit organization that is building the businesses that will create jobs and improve the quality of life for the ultra poor. The organization achieves its goals in two ways: by supporting the growth of start-up social enterprises through the LiftUP Project business accelerator, and consulting with established organizations on innovative projects targeting deeply impoverished communities. Through this approach, Upaya is building a foundation comprised of commercially-viable entities – not aid-based programs – to ensure long-term progress out of extreme poverty.

About Samridhi – Established in 2009, Samridhi is registered as a Private Limited company in India. The company works to increase the productive capacity of the rural producers in its operational area by providing sustainable small scale business solutions, in a socially responsible manner. Through its new dairy initiative, Samridhi is promoting sustainable employment opportunities for the rural and semi-urban poor, primarily by filling the gaps in the dairy value chain. Samridhi is an associate company of Sanchetna Financial Services, a microfinance institution working in the rural areas surrounding the city of Lucknow.


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