Funded by the Artha Platform, a private community created to connect Indian impact investors and sustainable social ventures, the Artha Venture Challenge (AVC) is a national competition to find and support ambitious Indian social entrepreneurs.
Today, 15 social enterprises chosen from 116 applicants have been announced as finalists. They are:
Aakar Innovations Pvt. Ltd
Avani Bio Energy
Boond Engineering & Development Pvt. Ltd
Edubridge Learning Pvt. Ltd
Jackonblock Facility Services Pvt. Ltd
KNIDS GREEN Pvt. Ltd
MicroGraam Marketplace Pvt. Ltd
Sanchayan Suraksha Solutions Pvt. Ltd
Sakhi Unique Rural Enterprise
Tamul Plates Marketing Pvt. Ltd
Villgro Innovation Marketing Pvt. Ltd
“It was an interesting learning experience,” said Pradeep Kashyap, who is the founder of MART and was on the jury panel. “Some of the plans from the ventures were of the highest order.”
As a finalist, the businesses will receive capacity building support from innovation accelerators Ennovent and Villgro to take their ventures to the next level. If the ventures are able to secure an investment in the form of grant, equity, or debt within the next eight months, they will also get the opportunity to access Rs 25 lakh (approximately US $37,000) of matched equity funding as part of the Challenge award.
Seeing as many ventures fail because of the inability to access funding and resources required to grow, the AVC was created to invite entrepreneurs who have completed a proof of concept and are looking for growth investment. The Challenge aims to address the missing middle in impact investing by providing high-risk patient capital and customized business support.
“The Artha Venture Challenge is a pioneering initiative for early-stage social ventures in India. We are excited to be announcing this final cohort and providing them the capacity building support they require to secure their lead investors, which will in turn trigger our matched round of Rs 25 lakh,” said Audrey Selian, Director of the Artha Platform.
“Our goal is to shift the center of gravity in this space, to empower the entrepreneurs through our process, and then to encourage our peer impact investors to take action. This is indeed an opportunity for us all to replace talk with action.”
The AVC was inspired by the UnLtd Big Venture Challenge where 10 early-stage co-investment deals were closed within 10 months.
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