In the period between April and September 2019, the three government-affiliated INVENT incubators SIIC-IIT Kanpur, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, and CIIE.CO Initiatives-Start Up Oasis have invested INR 8.5 crore in 31 new social enterprises. Overall, the INVENT program has facilitated INR 34 crore in 139 Indian ventures through its implementing INVENT incubators and 58 of them have also received follow-on investments totalling INR 133 crore from leading venture capital organizations. Some key follow-on investments have been received by promising social enterprises including Dehaat (50 cr from Omnivore, Trifecta Capital and Angels), Nocca Robotics (12.5 cr from IAN Fund & Angels), Medcords (7.5cr from Infoedge, Waterbridge and Angels) and 5C Network (4.5cr from Villgro, Unitus, Axilor & CIIE.CO).
Since inception, the Innovative Ventures and Technologies for Development (INVENT) program has offered funding plus incubation support to 139 social Indian ventures and only incubation support to 21 Indian ventures through INVENT incubators. The program is spearheaded by Villgro as a lead incubator. The INVENT program has been empowering start-ups across sectors such as agriculture & allied, healthcare, livelihood & skill development, education and energy in the 8 low income states of India i.e. Rajasthan, MP, UP, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.
The start-ups empowered by the INVENT incubators, have achieved stellar growth and have created numerous jobs in the low income states of India. Each of the start-up’s supported by the INVENT incubators has created on an average, 12 new jobs. In all, the start-ups have created 1930 direct and 27195 indirect jobs; of which almost 40% jobs were taken up by women employees and around 84 were offered to physically challenged individuals. Collectively, the 160 startups have created an impact in the lives of 1.5 million people across the country. While 124 of the incubatees are first-time entrepreneurs, 68 of these are led by women founders. These numbers are indicative of the multi-faceted impact of the relentless efforts of the INVENT incubators led by Villgro Innovations Foundation.
Mohammad Azhar, Program Leader, INVENT at Villgro said, “Around 5 years ago, small-scale social enterprises operating in industries such as livelihood & skill development or agriculture & allied did not have active investors. After the implementation of INVENT, we have seen a stark growth in the number of investors taking an interest in these sectors. Programs such as INVENT excel at raising venture capital funds, creating jobs in low-income sectors and designing remarkable go-to-market strategies for start-ups in the social sector. The tangible results of INVENT’s outreach further cement this belief.”
Speaking on the impact created, Prof. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, IIT Kanpur, said, “It is heartening to see the ground-breaking impact that INVENT has had on India’s social sector start-ups. IIT Kanpur, as the technological enabler of numerous of these start-ups is proud to witness their exponential growth and success. We will continue to support social start-ups with best-in-class technology to help them augment their offerings and create a truly best-in-class, tech-enabled value proposition.”
Gaurav Kapoor, Head – Social Entrepreneurship at IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, said, “INVENT’s impact on the entrepreneurship landscape within low-income states is truly remarkable. By enabling emerging start-ups across multiple geographies and non-conventional sectors, INVENT is significantly contributing to the growth of India’s vibrant economy. The INVENT program is in-line with the focus areas for IIM Calcutta Innovation Park’s focus areas namely Social Entrepreneurship & Ecosystem Development. The program has contributed significantly towards identifying and handholding early stage startups in their journey to scale”
Chintan Bakshi, Chief Executive Officer, Startup Oasis said, “We at Start Up Oasis, CIIE.CO believe that social sector start-ups will form the next phase of disruptive start-up growth in the country. Programs such as INVENT would lead to massive paradigm shift, and shall confer not only innovative solutions to socio-economic-environmental problems but also give enough impetus to the economy’s growth in general.”
Launched in July 2016, INVENT initiated its ground operations in December 2016 by incubating 4 start-ups. Since then, its reach and impact have both grown immensely. It has played a major role in incubating and empowering 160 start-ups across India’s low-income states. Supported by the Technology Development Board (TDB) and the Department for International Development (DFID), the program focuses on building capacity of incubators to drive social enterprises towards sustainability & scale, especially in low-income regions. Currently, 80 industry experts and corporates leaders are providing mentoring and hand holding support to these 160 startups which subsequently provide market connects, follow-on investments and national/international networks for their sustainability.