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Edition 5 - February 2012

Artha Newsletter

Edition 5 - February 2012
A tremendous opportunity exists today to transform the face of investor/donor engagement with the vast, untapped markets at the base of the pyramid (BOP). The Artha Platform mission is to help unlock this opportunity.
Table of Contents:

Case studies
Stats of interest
Recent investments
investment opportunities
Platforms of interest
Tweet Corner
@G_B_Fund: BSE Greenex Index to promote impact investing in #sustainable businesses via

@bsindia: #impinv #socent #bopbiz Link

@acumenfund: Reflections on launching a #socent in #India using the toolkits of design via @dowserDOTorg Link

@KeyNoteCapitals: Investing in Online Share Trading: Investing in Stock Market India Link

@DALITnetwork: More than 800 million people living on $2 per day or less in India alone. Link

@rollermt: Design Impact Reflects on its First Year Launching a Social Enterprise in India Link

@Catalystinc: Investing in #women is good for business, even if we do say so ourselves.

@bryancallahan: India: Investing in Water, Sanitation as Important as Investing in Defense: Link

@Solectriaren: More on the ongoing #solar news out of India & China Link

@MicroGraam: Please RT. Help students in rural India finisher their higher #education, by investing a minimum of Rs 1,000. Link

@linusblomqvist: Social Innovation: India's Clean Energy Revolution | Social Enterprise

@ashwinnaik: Excellent Kickoff meeting this morning for social enterprise national association of india "for profit" growth stage companies #socent

@travelimpact: India Sets Up “Virtual Labs” to Spread Knowledge, Cut Costs, Alleviate Poverty Link

@pulistbook: Building from the Bottom: Infrastructure and Poverty Alleviation Link

@anonymoussaint: India is home to a yearly 50 million tons of surplus grain yet it is also home to half the world's hungry. #news #poverty #india #raw

@apwld: India Nat'l Consultation Agrarian Single Women: rural sgl women poorest, more vulnerable, adversely affected by poverty Link

@MorganCeramics: Is it worth investing in India & China for renewable #energy? interesting article here.


AP-TEC 2012

Date: 3 - 4 March 2012
Location: Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC), Hyderabad.
The Conference provides a platform to discuss the Emerging Agricultural Trends & Technologies, Commercialization of Agriculture products, Quality Regulations etc., to analyze the constraints in delivering quality food to the nation. It helps in gaining an insight into opportunities in different markets and how to access them. Click here to read more.

Dasra Social-Impact Investor Panels and Graduation

The final week of Dasra’s executive education program for social entrepreneurs takes place from 16th March. 40 social entrepreneurs seeking to scale up their programs, both non profit and social business, have spent the last 7 months honing their business plans, receiving mentorship and working towards investor readiness.  If anyone is interested in being part of our investor panels in Mumbai during that week please contact our investor relations team on This year’s cohort includes companies and non profits focused on access to energy and clean water, ethical tourism, fair trade, education, girls’ empowerment, sport for development, consumer rights, agriculture, recycling, etc. Read more here.

Funders and Investors Gather in Mumbai for the third Indian Philanthropy Forum

Speakers from across India and around the world will gather in Mumbai on the 21st March for the third annual Indian Philanthropy Forum. Over 200 philanthropists will meet together to discuss some of India’s most pressing social issues including access to sanitation, human rights, child trafficking– all issues that are contributing to widening gaps in equality across the country and, if ignored, will have a long term negative impact on India’s economy. Dasra’s latest two reports Owning her Future: Empowering Adolescent Girl and Leveraging the Dividend: Enhancing Youth Employability India will also be launched to an audience of India’s business leaders and key influencers in public policy and social development. For more information about the forum and to apply for an invitation please contact Read more here.

Sankalp Forum 2012
Date: April 11-13th, 2012
Location: Mumbai
The Sankalp Forum (one of Intellecap's flagship initiatives is a unique and collaborative platform designed to catalyze impact investments into sustainable and scalable social enterprises globally.  Founded with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Ashoka India, New Ventures and over 25 other sector stakeholders, Sankalp today is one of the largest gathering of social entrepreneurs, impact investors, policy makers and others. For more information please click here.

6th Indian Marketing Summit 2012
Date: April 27-28, 2012
Location: India International Centre, New Delhi
The theme of the forthcoming Summit is “Marketing for Not for Profit Organizations in Emerging Markets” and is expected to attract a wide array of non – profit organizations, Corporates, Social Entrepreneurs, Researchers, Public Sector Organizations, Foundations, development agencies and venture capitalists among others. For more information click here.

The Skoll Award

The Skoll Award provides a three-year core operating support grant for recipients to extend their already impressive reach. This year’s Skoll Awardees join the growing global network of 91 Skoll social entrepreneurs from 74 organizations who are tackling the world’s most pressing problems. The Skoll Awards will be formally presented by Skoll Foundation Chairman Jeff Skoll and CEO Sally Osberg at a ceremony to be held on March 29, 2012. The event is an annual highlight of the Skoll World Forum, convened in Oxford, England, each spring.

Sankalp Artha Award

Established to recognize some of the most innovative, sustainable and scalable businesses, the Sankalp Awards have come to be known as India’s largest Social Enterprise Awards. This year, the Artha Platform will be sponsoring the Artha Award at Sankalp, with a USD $40,000 prize (inclusive of taxes) to be awarded to the top business emerging from the five high impact sectors considered, including the following:
  • Agriculture, Food and Rural Business
  • Clean Energy/Technology
  • Education and Vocational Training
  • Healthcare, Water and Sanitation
  • Technology for Development
The annual Summit that witnesses over 700 participants will be held from April 11-13, at Taj Land’s End, Mumbai, this year. Click here for more information.

Ennovent has launched its online Global Network on The online Global Network will bring together entrepreneurs, investors and experts to discover, finance and scale the best solutions that make a sustainable impact on low income people. Register for free and create an impact at the BoP!

The Cartier Women's Initiatve awards announces its call for applications and are looking for women leading for-profit responsible enterprises between 1 and 3 years old. This s
ocial entrepreneurship competition is aimed at supporting creative, financially sustainable and responsible women-led start-ups, in all countries and industries. The Award will be given to 6 laureates who will receive a year of coaching, US$20,000 in funding, valuable networking opportunities as well as media exposure. Application deadline: March 13, 2012 at 10am Paris time (CET). More information, please click here.
Greening the landscape

Khamgaon is a barren region that suffers from poor rainfall which has led to an acute shortage of water for irrigation. When it does rain, there is high surface water run-off which leads to soil erosion. Water scarcity also means there is a shortage of green fodder for livestock. Hindustan Unilever launched a water conservation project in 2001 based on the '5Rs' – reduce, reuse, recycle, recover and renew. The aim was to reduce the factory's water consumption and replenish ground water tables.

All effluent waste is now treated and reused for irrigation, while rainwater is collected to replenish sub-soil water tables. The factory started a watershed management pilot project on a five-hectare plot which has visibly transformed the local area, creating a green belt that is home to about 6 300 trees. Click here to read more.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Tata Capital Limited sign an MoU for energy efficiency financing

New Delhi: Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Tata Capital Limited today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work closely on the former’s Energy Efficiency Financing Platform (EEFP). Present at the occasion were Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, BEE and Mr. Praveen P Kadle, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Capital Limited.

The EEFP, an initiative under National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE), seeks to create a mechanism for enabling mainstream financing of energy efficiency projects. Click here for more.

Welcome to the Artha Newsletter, which supports the continued progress of the newly launched Artha Platform!

With over 90 invited members now signed up on the Artha Platform, our first achievement of identifying and inviting key stakeholders in the impact investment arena in India has slowly been realized. Now the Artha Team works to operationalize the functionality we have developed to help entrepreneurs achieve traction with the investors they seek to attract, and to support investors in their quest to conduct due diligence in faster and more efficient ways. Our first of many Webinars providing information and support to Artha community users kicks off on Thursday, March 1st. Please contact if you are interested in joining.  

The Artha Team will also be working to deploy a survey that will unearth valuable information regarding optimal conditions (deal size, sector, etc.) for investor cooperation and sharing of due diligence, thanks to our intern extraordinaire, Sara Eshelman. Please do consider responding to this survey request when you receive it, and we shall publish the results within our Resource Center to what we hope will be the collective benefit of all.

Artha aims to provide a space for information exchange for famliy offices, social venture capital funds, venture philanthropies, foundations, DFIs, entrepreneur support organizations and individuals who operate in this niche arena, and who share a collective focus on maximizing both social impact and financial return in India.
We look forward to your feedback.

The Barefoot Approach: Forty Years of Social Innovation: Barefoot College Named one of the Top 100 Global NGOs

The Global Journal, a new publication aimed at opinion leaders and policy makers in the development sector, has just published its Top 100 Best NGOs in the World. Starting with a list of 1000, they narrowed the list to the top 100 based on innovation, effectiveness, impact, efficiency and value, transparency and accountability, sustainability, strategic and financial management and peer review. The Barefoot College was number 15 in the world, and first from India, on the final ranked list of the top 100 global NGOs. More on the selection process here.

Project Akshar: A Word That Makes A Difference

Project Akshar works in a beautiful cycle creating a win-win scenario for all the people involved. The idea is to collect one-sided used sheets, which are otherwise thrown away and increase waste, on a massive scale. These sheets are then sent to the hearing impaired women who have been imparted binding skills to help them transform these loose sheets into low-cost and eco-friendly notebooks. These books are in turn sold to schools and colleges and sent to rural schools, slum sectors and NGOs for distribution to underprivileged school children at minimal cost thus reducing their overall expenditure on education and making it more affordable. Another important aspect of the project is the sensitization of urban folk to the reduction of their carbon footprint and the advantages of recycling waste paper by providing an easy and attractive alternative ildren at Re 1. So far, they have been able to help around 200 underprivileged children. An NGO called Butterfly has helped them distribute the notebooks to these children. Click here for original article.

Unitus Seed Funds Backs Bodhicrew, HLC and Milaap

Unitus Seed Fund has made its debut by investing in three start-ups in the country – Bodhicrew Services (skill development and job placement services), Hippocampus Learning Centres (affordable rural education services) and Milaap Social Ventures (microcredit financial services). The fund has been started by Unitus Labs, a Seattle and Bangalore-based non-profit organisation, and will focus on “Indian start-up businesses with potential for large-scale poverty impact.” Unitus Labs has earlier backed ventures like Unitus Equity Fund (now part of Elevar Equity) and Unitus Capital, which have now spun out. The fund will make an initial investment of $50,000-$100,000, which may increase with additional rounds.

Bodhicrew Services is a skills development and job placement & support company focused on the unorganised sector. Hippocampus Learning Centres (HLC) essentially  sets up learning centres in villages, offering pre-school and after-school programmes to children aged between 3 and 10 years. Milaap Social Ventures is an online micro-lending platform, which enables people from all over the world to lend money to the working poor in India.

United States - India Science & Technology Endowment Fund

The governments of the United States (through the Department of State) and India (through the Department of Science & Technology) have established the US - India Science & Technology Endowment Fund for promotion of joint activities that would lead to innovation and techno-preneurship through the application of science and technology. The aim of the Fund is to support and foster joint applied R&D togenerate public good through commercialization of technology achieved through sustained partnerships between US and Indian researchers and entrepreneurs.


SERP develops innovative systems and institutional frameworks to improve the lives of vulnerable populations and supports self-help groups providing employment to over 10 million rural poor women. Click here to read more.

Sanchar moves children from illiteracy to e-literacy with 400 technology centers across seven Indian states that reach over 173,000 children. In partnership with leading domestic and international companies,  they focus on harnessing the energy of young people and providing essential skills and entrepreneurship training.

Lifeline Foundation has developed a revolutionary concept for Highway Accident Relief in India, recognised and supported by various organisations from all over the world. The delivery of HRP (Highway Rescue Project) is in line with international conceptions on emergency care, with focus on pre-hospital care and initiation of treatment within the "golden hour". Dr. Subroto Das and his wife Sushmita, along with two colleagues met with an accident in August 1999 on a rainy night on NH8. Badly injured, they were left stranded without any help for 4 dark hours. Without losing hope they fought for themselves and the lives of their colleagues. At early dawn, they finally managed to get help and got transported to a hospital. Thus Lifeline Foundation was conceptualised to provide Emergency Medical Services (EMS) on the highways. Click here to read more.

SMV Wheels

SMV Wheels goal is to help as many of India’s 10 million cycle rickshaw drivers achieve ownership as possible and, in doing so, transform the way they perceive themselves and, in turn, how they are perceived.  Through the benefits of asset ownership, legal licences and insurance provided by SMV Wheels they simultaneously improve the cycle rickshaw driver’s livelihood and secure it. Technological advancements made to the cycle rickshaw also reduce the burden of labour on the driver. For the first time cycle rickshaw drivers are able to truly profit from their power and achieve upward economic mobility. Go to homepage.


Milaap is powering the next generation of livelihood-focused credit programs by attracting a new class of “crowdsourced, low-cost, risk tolerant” capital. Milaap catalyzes adoption of basic services for the poor such as quality schools, clean water, safe lighting and produce aggregation. Using a marketplace, they leverage financing from global social investors to enable these communities access to life-changing products, services and market linkages at rates 50% cheaper than microcredit. Learn more about Milaap.

Shop for Change

Founded in 2008, Shop for Change is a path-breaking organization in India, bringing the first fair trade certification to the country. Having received mentorship from the global fair trade industry, Shop for Change is aiming to create both supply and demand within India to create a vibrant local marketplace, that will not only change consumer habits but improve the incomes and therefore lives of thousands of farmers across the country. Having started work with the cotton industry and successfully certified over 7,000 farmers, Shop for Change is now launching certification for fruit including mango and amla. Currently Shop for Change is looking for just over $300,000 in grant or patient capital over the net three years and by 2016 aims to have cornered 2.5% of the Indian retail market for cotton and reach break even point. At that stage investment capital will be attracted and a sustainable business will be operational.  Shop for Change will be live on the Artha Platform in the next week and for more details please see their
website or contact Seth Petchers, the founder and CEO on 


LabourNet  is a social enterprise that creates sustainable benefits for workers in the informal sector by offering them a platform to access services. LabourNet seeks to provide easy and institutionalized access to jobs, and enhance incomes of over 1 Million workers in the next 5 years.

Some achievements:
- Worker Enrollment: Registered over 44,000+ workers from the unorganized sector.
- Skill Development:  Conducted skill development trainingand assessments for over 6500 workers.
- Financial Inclusion: Enabled opening of over 7500 bank accounts, distributed accident insurance to over 12,500  workers which include cover for 41,000+ family members.
- Employment Generation: Over 2100+ job orders have been completed by workers registered  with Labournet.
- Consulting Projects:  Over 98 projects such as rainwater harvesting that involve unorganized  sector workers have been completed successfully by Labournet by working with best in breed  partners.

Labournet has won The Sankalp Emerging & Growth Award for Highly Scalable Social Models. Funding Requirement: Grant/Equity + Working Capital (to help execute current contracts worth US$200,000).

Wipro EcoEnergy expects rooftop energy to be net big solar story

Not many people readily connect Wipro with solar energy, but within the IT giant a tiny nucleus of a clean-tech business has just completed building 40 MW of solar photovoltaic power plants for its customers. Five MW more is sure to come by March, and for Wipro EcoEnergy the 45 MW is good enough a record on which to build the business in the coming years. Read the full article.

Denmark tops first-of-its-kind Global
Cleantech Innovation Index

Denmark, followed by Israel, Sweden, Finland and the US provide the best conditions today for clean technology start-up creation, with companies in the Asia Pacific region following closely behind when it comes to commercial success, the first Global Cleantech Innovation Index shows.

In Coming Clean: The Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2012, Cleantech Group and WWF looks at where entrepreneurial cleantech companies are growing today, reasons as to where they will spring-up over the coming years, and which countries are falling above and below the curve for fostering cleantech innovation.

Thirty-eight countries were evaluated on 15 indicators related to the creation and commercialisation of cleantech start-ups, generating an index measuring each one’s potential, relative to their economic size, to produce entrepreneurial cleantech start-up companies and commercialise clean technology innovations over the next 10 years.

Coming Clean: The Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2012 is available as a free download from both Cleantech Group and WWF.