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Development Mantra for Sustainability
Audrey Selian, Development Mantra for Sustainability 19 Mar 2018
Farming as a Service (Bain & Company)
Claudius Gutemann, Farming as a Service (Bain & Company) 15 Mar 2018

Impact Investments in India

Impact investments, which aim to generate financial returns while creating measurable social and environmental benefits to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, have attained significant traction in India. J P Morgan estimates that global assets under management through impact investment strategies were ~ $50 billion in 2010, with projections of between $400 billion and $1 trillion and profit opportunity of between $183 billion and $667 billion over the next decade.1 The Rockefeller Foundation reports that impact investing is set to grow at an annual pace of 30 percent. India is the second-largest market for impact investing after the US, with USD 500 million worth of investments made in 2012 alone.2 However according to the Planning Commission of India, though many global and local funds have presence in the country, investments to the tune of only Rs 1,200 crore (around $260 million) have been made in India in the last five years.3 Despite the discrepancy in terms of the total investment numbers reported, India is definitely one of the key markets in the impact investing landscape - given the enormous requirement, potential and opportunities across sectors, which requires market-based solutions to address many social situations. The literature on this topic and research on the Indian industry has, however, been quite limited so far. Read more »


India Social Enterprise Landscape Report

Social enterprises (SEs) have the potential to make India’s spectacular growth story work better for its poor citizens. Currently, India’s rapidly growing economy has not managed to alleviate the extreme poverty of nearly half the country’s population that lives below the $1.25 per day poverty line. There are several reasons for this, including non-uniform infrastructure, low quality public good provision by the government (especially in health and education), and resource limitations. By employing innovative business models, SEs are addressing India’s vast development needs, while maintaining sustainability through viable revenue models. Simultaneously, this space is witnessing an increasing number of impact investors who are interested in supporting businesses with triple bottom line returns – that is, profits (or financial sustainability at the least), social impact, and environmental impact. Read more »


Evolution of an impact portfolio: Implementation to Results

In 2004, in order to meaningfully address the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues, the KL Felicitas Foundation (“KLF” or the “Foundation”) made the decision to begin a process that would eventually allocate 100% of the Foundation’s capital to “impact investments” – that is, investing with the intent to generate both financial returnsand purposeful, measurable, positive social or environmental impact. The Foundation determined that its needs would be met best by adhering to a return-based impact investment strategy, while taking select opportunities to introduce new concepts with impact first investments. Read more »


MSME Umbrella Programme

Innovation matters for the growth of the Indian MSME sector! With the opening of the Indian economy and increasing globalization, a growing number of MSMEs face tough competition on international markets. Increasing resource prices or higher costs of imports additionally drive the development of new solutions. However, to remain competitive, Indian MSMEs need more than innovative products alone: The pressure for innovation in processes, business models and management to improve productivity and significantly lower costs, has increased in recent years. New initiatives by the Government of India support enterprises to gain competitive edge and to strengthen their innovation competencies. With the announcement of 2010 – 2020 as the “Decade of Innovation” and the establishment of the National Innovation Council (NInC) the Indian Prime Minister has put innovation promotion in the centre of private sector development in India. Read more »


Artha Newsletter Nr. 18

Artha News 01/ Oct 13 Read more »


From the Margin to the Mainstream: Assessment of the Impact Investment Sector and Opportunities to Engage Mainstream Investors

A report by the World Economic Forum Investors Industries Prepared in collaboration with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu New Report: Bringing Impact Investing From the Margins to the Mainstream - World Economic Forum report highlights the potential of impact investing to generate market returns while addressing key social and environmental challenges - 79% of impact investors are already targeting market rates of return; to reach a 2020 market projection of more than US$ 500 billion, the impact investment sector needs to grow significantly - The report engaged 150 mainstream investors, business executives and policy-makers, advancing the Forum's impact investment agenda Read more »


Interface between government officials and social innovators: Challenges and Recommendations

India, today, is witnessing a number of social innovations across sectors and at various levels. The incredible solutions that social innovations offer, and the energy that they bring to the ‘traditional’ market are being felt. However, we as a country still have a long way to go in embracing social innovation and providing it the impetus that it needs. There exist substantial challenges that need to be addressed, in order to take cognizance of innovation. This document has been drafted drawing from responses elicited through conversations with social innovators. A total of 9 social innovators, from the education, energy and agriculture sectors were spoken to, in a semi-structured interview to retain the focus of the conversation while allowing them to bring in their own additional perspectives, all the same. This exercise has resulted in the detailed discussion that follows, on challenges and roadblocks that social innovators face in dealing with the government, in a pointed manner. The aim is to emphasise the on-ground practicalities with the aim to provoke thought-processes to address these issues. The respondents have also made recommendations drawing from their own experiences, in their respective sectors of operation. The idea is to identify areas inherent with the scope to implement these recommendations in order to establish an ecosystem that is conducive to and appreciative of social innovation and entrepreneurship. Read more »


Solar Mini-Grids for Rural Electrification

Off-grid solutions based on renewable energy sources, particularly Solar Photo-Voltaic (PV), hold great promise to bring electricity to the 80 million or so households that are currently without it (Census 2011). India is very well endowed with solar energy. Solar PV systems scale well with increasing demands and need minimal day-to-day operation. We argue that villages and remote hamlets that are off the main grid can leapfrog into sustainable power access via Solar PV mini-grids as a long term solution rather than as a stop-gap ‘till the time the grid comes’. Rural areas that are power starved despite having a grid line can also benefit from grid-interactive versions of these community level power plants. These mini-grids will provide ‘Electricity beyond Lighting’, which is critical for achieving livelihood enhancement. Read more »


Exploring the venture philanthropy ecosystem in India

In India, venture philanthropy (VP) and allied organisations are making long-term strategic investments to build for-profit and non-profit innovative social purpose organisations (SPOs) that can make a mass social impact. VPs place emphasis on social returns, although some such organisations also demand muted financial returns in addition to social returns. The former acknowledge that investment for social purposes and professional effectiveness are not in conflict with one another, but can exist and work in synergy. Read more »


Innovation in Asian Philanthropy

The Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy (ACSEP) is an academic research centre at the National University of Singapore Business School, comprising an international multi-disciplinary research team. ACSEP came into formal existence in April 2011, with a geographic focus embracing 34 nations and special administrative regions across Asia. The Centre aims to advance the understanding and impactful practice of social entrepreneurship and philanthropy in Asia, through research and education. Its working papers are authored by in-house researchers and aim to provide insights into key questions of interest to researchers and practitioners. Read more »