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So far we have incubated more than 120 social enterprises:Ullas Marar, Villgro

In an exclusive conversation with Ullas Marar, Head - Communications, Villgro shed light on Villgro's initiative to helping start-up ventures

Tags: Villgro, social, enterprise, incubators, seed funding

BY Shipra Srivastava  |  April 17, 2017  |  comments ( 0 )  | 

Ullas Marar

Kindly highlight the modus operandi of villgro? How the organization helps start-up business in finding their feet?

Villgro is one of the oldest social enterprise incubators in India. Set up in 2001, we have supported more than 120 enterprises, who have secured Rs. 1124 million in follow-on funding and touched over 15 million lives. We incubate innovative for-profit enterprises that are creating impact for low-income communities, primarily in the areas of healthcare, education and agriculture. We provide seed capital to our incubatees and pair them with experienced senior advisors who work very closely with the entrepreneurs and help them succeed. Additionally, we also open up our networks to our incubatees, helping them get access to a wide variety of service providers, talent and investment avenues.   

What is your criteria to select business for seed fund? About how many businesses you have supported so far?

Villgro looks for for-profit, scalable and innovative business models that focus on improving lives for low-income communities. We apply filters, such as the entrepreneur’s understanding of the problem, the business model, scalability, team, etc. before we arrive at an incubation decision. So far we have incubated more than 120 social enterprises.

Kindly highlight one of your best success stories so far?

It is hard to pick one. We have been fortunate enough to be involved in several success stories. Skymet – India’s first private weather forecasting company, Biosense – a company that developed a non-invasive anemia testing device, Uniphore – a speech recognition solutions company, are some of our many success stories.

According to you, what are the major challenge for any start-up business in India? What is your piece of advice to start-ups?

Social enterprises need more avenues for incubation, need more mentoring and perhaps more importantly, need more investors willing to deploy patient capital.

At last, kindly mention your growth plans?

We aim to continue building deep sectoral strengths and provide more value to our portfolio companies. Additionally, we lead a program to incubate 150 social enterprises from low-income states, through four incubators trained by us.

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