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.“We are looking for people with 6-8 years of experience,” said Sucharita Kamanth, Head of Innovation Ecosystem at Villgro. “We are trying to attract the right talent - people who have demonstrated leadership skills, but who are looking for something more. We want to find those people that are in the corporate sector now, but are looking to get into the social sector, to have more of a social impact in their work.”
Human resources tends to be a challenge for all startups and small enterprises. However, due to misconceptions and a lack of awareness of social enterprise, the social sector tends to suffer far greater from a dearth of human resources. A recent Intellecap study based on surveys of about 100 social enterprises throughout India identified “hiring and retaining good talent [as] arguably the greatest and most persistent challenge faced by India’s social enterprises.”
One of the main reasons for this human resource gap is the common perception that social enterprise is along the lines of charity work, and therefore not a profession. Many young professionals may have never heard the term social enterprise, and many of those who have are wary about the sector’s potential to provide career opportunities.
The aim of the fellowship is two-fold. First, to change this misconception about social enterprise and to prove its viability as a career option for young professionals. Second, to provide young social enterprises with the valuable human resources that they need to take their organizations to the next level.
Villgro Fellows have the opportunity to work closely with a social entrepreneur to both develop a deeper understanding of the enterprise and social entrepreneurship in general, and to exercise their own skills and explore their interests with a level of autonomy unavailable to them in the corporate setting. Past fellows like Ashish Sinha, placed with Villgro Innovations Marketing Private Limited, noted the exposure to developing skills and managing projects at a level that they never previously thought possible. Aparna Ram, placed with Villgro SEED, came to Villgro after almost a decade working in finance in London as an Analyst/Portfolio Management. She came to Villgro looking to take on new opportunities and new challenges, and was thrilled with the opportunity to do this while exploring the realm of social entrepreneurship.
Applications for this round of Villgro fellows are due May 15th. Applicants are expected to submit an essay along with their resume explaining their interest in the program, and will have the opportunity to apply for specific positions that suit their interests and skillset. The main prerequisite for consideration is an applicants work experience; a minimum of three years is strongly preferred.
In the coming weeks YourStory will be featuring two past fellows on the SocialStory platform to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences and the opportunities that the Villgro Fellowship offered.
Visit the Villgro website for more information.