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2015-01-22

Social incubator Villgro looks to back education entrepreneurs

Villgro is committed to supporting at least a dozen early-stage for-profit social enterprises.

Villgro, a social enterprise incubator, is looking for entrepreneurs working in school education and skills training space to fund and support through its incubation programme.

Entrepreneurs accepted into our incubation programme can look forward to receiving up to Rs 65 lakh seed funding, help with product development and business model testing, mentoring from sector experts and working with an experienced incubation team.

"This kind of focused incubation with funding only for school education and vocational training is a first in India," says PR Ganapathy, President (India), Villgro. "For an entrepreneur, this is the pathway to a long journey of continuous funding, first through Villgro and then through other like-minded education funders, so he or she can have the luxury of focusing only on executing."

Since 2001, Villgro has developed a unique approach of working with entrepreneurs at multiple phases of their startup journey - pre-product, pre-revenue and pre-scale - and offers a combination of seed funding, mentoring, talent infusion and investor networks critical to startups working in various sectors.

"Villgro helped me sharpen my business roadmap, identify segments to focus on, and understand unit economics better. This had a significant role in my raising funds," says Sabarinath C Nair, CEO of Skillveri, an enterprise that is providing skills training through gamified simulation.

Villgro is committed to supporting at least a dozen early-stage for-profit social enterprises, with funding support from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

"Education for low-income students has not traditionally been a focus for incubators, seed funds and angel investors due to the complexities of operating in this market and the high variability in financial returns. This has inhibited the number of quality, customer-centric, education-focused social enterprises," says Geeta Goel, Director of Mission Investing at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. "With its strong track record, hands-on engagement and focus on scale and sustainability, Villgro is suitably positioned to play a catalytic role in incubating this sector in India."

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