In a bid to unearth and nurture the myriad social entrepreneurs nestled in obscurity in India, Villgro established Unconvention|L in 2009. Unconvention|L hopes to be a leading force in developing the social enterprise landscape in various cities across the country.
This year, Unconvention|L will take place in 15 cities: Indore, Kochi, Kolkata, Jamshedpur, Noida, Lucknow, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Shillong, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangaluru,Chennai and Patna.
Social entrepreneurs will be allowed to competitively pitch their business plans that centre around creating a social impact, in front of a panel of experts and investors. The more promising pitches will receive cash rewards worth Rs 1 lakh with the opportunity of being supported by Villgro to realise their idea.
Villgro hopes to mentor and guide these entrepreneurs, and provide funding of up to Rs 65 lakh.
Important social entrepreneurs like Anoj Vishwanathan, co-founder of Milaap; Sabarinath, co-founder of Skillveri and Devendra Pandey, co-founder of Ecozen Solutions are amongst the many invited to offer their expertise to budding social entrepreneurs.
PR Ganapath, the COO of Villgro says, “The social enterprise landscape in India is developing well with impact investors and incubators like us all looking for innovative businesses to support. However, most of this action is centred in major cities, while the biggest challenges and, consequently, opportunities for change are in smaller cities and towns. This is where Unconvention|L comes in.”
One of the reasons Villgro has taken up this initiative is to counter the lack of awareness of social enterprising. In these regions, Unconvention|L would be one of the firsts to try their hand at discovering and supporting social entrepreneurs.
“In many of the cities we go to, the concept of social enterprise is not well known and Unconvention|L is the first event of its kind. It is great to see the appetite of the entrepreneurs who pitch their ideas and forge connections locally and with the wider ecosystem,” says Michelle Abraham, the co-founder of Villgro’s Unconvention Initiative.
The first Unconvention|L was held in Indore on August 24. Coming months will see a host of new cities that will experience the benefit of this pitching event.
With a history of acting incubator for social enterprises, Villgro hopes to support social entrepreneurs in India in their initial stages of growth with the aim of grooming their ideas and plans into refined enterprises. With the next events set to hit Kolkata on September 11th and Jamshedpur on September 29, Unconventional|L is geared to be a catalyst for social change yet again.