Villgro invests in three social enterprises

8th Sep 2014
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One of the India’s oldest and foremost social enterprise incubators, Villgro, today announced three new additions to their investment and incubation portfolio. Ujjeewan, Aindra Systems and Scholowiz are these new additions which will receive funding, intense mentoring, access to relevant networks and talent from Villgro. This in turn will help these companies execute and grow.


Villgro-funding

Villgro has been supporting innovators and social entrepreneurs during their early stages of growth since 2001. It has incubated 98 such enterprises, generated around 4000 jobs, secured Rs 873 million in follow-on funding, and touched over 6 million rural lives.

Villgro will provide the three companies much-needed idea-stage funding, design and execute intense study on the field to get better customer insights and incorporate those insights in the product or service of the company, validate major assumptions and help launch the product/service.

PR Ganapathy, President (India), Villgro says,

In these companies, we have found the exciting combination of technology innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and the scope for long-term social impact. Since they are at early stages of their journey, we will be working to build business models around their innovations and take them to product launch.

In India, less than 58% teachers receive any form of in-service support during the course of their career. There is an immediate need for upskilling of more than 3 million existing teachers in low- and middle-income schools. Scholowiz, founded by Saurav Ghosh Roy, will solve this problem by making teacher professional development programs accessible to schools in an affordable manner by using a technology-enabled platform.

“Villgro’s support will help Scholowiz to conduct a structured customer insight gathering process to identify the different customer segments and understand their requirements, gather insights from expert networks, and develop an effective and sustainable business model,” says Roy.

Aindra Systems, founded by Adarsh Natarajan, works in the domain of computer vision and is focused on using technology to make access to quality healthcare universal. The company is developing an affordable device that can be used for screening and detection of cervical cancer, which is the leading cause of death from cancer in the developing world. Its portable screening tool will enable early stage detection at point of care and significantly impact the lives of women.

“We also look forward to leveraging Villgro’s experts and getting access to the support system and the wide network of partners that ensure social innovations like us can become sustainable businesses,” says Natarajan.

While 70% of the country lives in semi-urban and rural areas, approximately 80% of the healthcare infrastructure is only available in urban areas. Ujjeewan Healthcare, founded by Manish Kumar Saraf, has created Healthypariwar, an innovative hub-and-spoke model to connect patients in rural India to trained doctors, by creating physical health centers along with medical mobile units which addresses primary healthcare issues.

“Villgro is wonderful for companies like ours because it possesses specific skills and understanding of the nature and requirements of social enterprises,” says Saraf.

Website: http://www.villgro.org/companies

 

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