2012 has been an eventful year for social enterprise.
We saw the expansion of benefit corporation legislation in the US and the third-party B Corporation in Latin America, the introduction of Social Impact Bonds in North America, and commitment by several organizations to hone the impact investing industry, among other activities.
2013 isn’t looking too shabby either. A couple of early opportunities have come up in the space which expire later in January.
Tata’s Social Enterprise Challenge
A joint initiative by the TATA Group and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta, the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge seeks to find the most promising social enterprises for India.
Social entrepreneurs with an early stage venture (younger than 3 years) or idea with a proof of concept are invited to apply. While the competition is open to everyone, the ventures should be focused on creating social impact in India.
Ventures can be for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid models, but need to have sustainable business models.
Business plans are invited in areas including agriculture, healthcare, technology, education, housing, handicrafts, energy, and microfinance. They will be evaluated based on the business model, social impact, and sustainability.
Teams of a maximum of two members must submit an Impact Proposal by January 20, 2013. The top 20 applicants will be chosen to enter a mentorship phase. The top 10 will be chosen at the semi-finals round and the winners will be recognized at the Summit on Social Entrepreneurship at IIM Calcutta on February 24, 2013.
LGT Venture Philanthropy’s SWAP
LGT Venture Philanthropy’s Smiling World Accelerator Program (SWAP) began in 2012 when the global impact investor observed a need for more early-stage financial and business acceleration support for social enterprises.
The SWAP is an intensive 9-24 month program which offers social enterprises small amounts of risk capital (equity, loan, and grant), business consulting services, access to mentors and co-investors, and tailored resources.
So far, they have distributed a total of $400,000 USD in financial and non-financial support to help six organizations in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
One of their beneficiaries is Sustainable Growth for Rural Venture, Inc (SUGRUVI) – a farmer cooperative in the southern Philippines region of Mindanao who has been connecting subsistence farmers to commercial buyers and passing 80% of the price directly to farmers. They also run a training program on sustainable farming techniques.
The SWAP allowed SUGRUVI to purchase a truck and post-harvest equipment to yield more efficient and higher outputs, and strengthen organizational processes. They are expecting to benefit over 3,000 farmers and become financially independent in two to three years.
Now, the program is back again for a second year and is calling for applications. In addition to Southeast Asia, the SWAP 2013 will be open to Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and China.
Candidates for the program are either for-profit or nonprofit organizations striving to become more financially sustainable, that have existed for at least one year, and that can demonstrate the impact of their work on less-advantaged people.
Up to $50,000 USD in hands-on business consulting and customized financial support will be disbursed per organization.
The deadline for applications is January 27, 2013.
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