Upaya Social Ventures today announced the successful completion of the first workshop of its inaugural acceleration program with the theme: “Formalizing the Informal Sector.” The eight participating companies were selected from a competitive pool of 60 applications by a committee of impact investing and social sector experts. They represent six cities across India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Rishikesh, Varanasi and Chennai.
“These companies all impressed us with a remarkable potential for scale and commitment to social impact,” said Upaya CEO Kate Cochran.“We believe these entrepreneurs are building companies that can successfully create opportunities and livelihoods for the poor who are too often shut out of formal and reliable work.”
The companies are taking part in a six-month Upaya program that includes three four-day workshops, mentoring from a successful professional, and culminates in an investor showcase where the companies can connect with early stage impact investors. At the end of the program, Upaya expects to select between one and three ventures for its own investment.
A complete list of the participating companies includes:
Enterprise Entrepreneur / CEO / MD Location
Helper4U Services LLP Meenakshi Gupta Jain Mumbai
JobNukkad Services Pvt Ltd Ankur Mehta Mumbai
Kabadiwalla Connect Pvt Ltd. SiddartheHande Chennai
KhanaGaDi Amit Deep Kumar Jaipur
SMV Green Solutions Pvt. Ltd Naveen Krishna Varanasi
The Shoe Men SaralBudhijara Delhi
UpSkill Management Services Pvt. Ltd Mansi Agarwal Mumbai
Zero Waste Incorporation Amit Lingwal Rishikesh
More detailed descriptions of each company can be found here.
The first workshop, held at the UChicago Center in Delhi, featured successful entrepreneurs such as R. Narayan, founder of Power2SME and SubinderKhurana, founder of EZ Power Systems, Inc. and BankSmart Solutions, among many advisory roles. The cohort also engaged with industry experts such as Balaji Chakravarthi, a nationally known sales strategy consultant. Investors from Unitus Seed Fund, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Asha Impact, PVC Partners and Bharath Innovation Fund also spoke with the cohort. Finally, government and social sector leaders from the National Skill Development Corporation and Tata Trust participated. A complete listing of speakers and workshop schedule can be found here.
The second workshop of the program will be held in Mumbai from 26 – 29 July. The final workshop will be 19-23 September with the investor showcase on the 23rd. The location for the final workshop has not been determined.
The Upaya Accelerator Program, Cohort 1, is being sponsored by Allen Blue, co-founder of LinkedIn and has received outreach support from Impactpreneurs, the world’s largest listing of social enterprises.
About Upaya Social Ventures:Upaya creates dignified jobs for the poorest of the poor by building scalable businesses with investment and consulting support. Since 2011, Upaya has supported 12 small and growing businesses in India with investments and expertise. As of December 2016, Upaya partners had created over4,000 jobs. With offices in Seattle, Washington and New Delhi, India, Upaya has committed to a goal of helping partners create 15,000 jobs by the end of 2019. For more information on Upaya, please visit http://www.upayasv.org
For more information about Upaya Social Ventures, please contact:
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