Non-profit sector in India is seeing a rise of budding social entrepreneurs with bold new ideas. However, in the absence of a vibrant ecosystem, they struggle, and often fail in their efforts to develop their idea and build a scalable organisation around it. N/Core – an incubator for nonprofits, aspires to bridge this gap. The aim is to incubate 100 nonprofits in the next 5 years and through them, to nudge a million lives out of poverty!
In April this year, N/Core launched its program for emerging nonprofits (0-3 years old). Out of 583 applicants across India, the US and Kenya, 20 nonprofits were selected for a 14 day immersive program including, Sukhibhava, Nyaaya, Navgurukul, Bridges of Sports, Guardians of Dreams and many more. From healthcare to education and women empowerment to childcare, these nonprofits are working on varied causes but are all in the nascent stage of organisation building and therefore facing similar challenges and hurdles as a startup.
Learning, Building, Networking!
Srijoni Sen, Founder of Nyaaya, a nonprofit that is trying to demystify Indian laws for common people says she was given amazing ideas on how to use new technology to make law more accessible for people, like the use of Hindi language voice search. “We also got help in live issues we are currently dealing with, like managing quality content generation at scale”, adds Srijoni.
Another nonprofit Founder Ravi, from i-Saksham which works to integrate quality education for poor children with skill development through digital technology, says N/Core changed the way they use digitisation entirely and made them more efficient. The 2 day hackathon named ‘Impactathon’ during the alpha program connected the incubatees with techies to solve their tech and design related challenges.
Ravi says, “Impactathon exposed me to the potential of technology in transforming our delivery model. I was amazed to see how young motivated hackers could deliver so much within couple of days. I was for the first time able to explore the advantages of using raspberry pi as a low cost computer to deliver education services in remote areas and cut down my cost by 75%. I could also build network with tech mentors who have agreed to help me in future as well. Overall a fabulous experience.”
The 14-day program also included immersive workshops, mentoring, and a chance to connect with prospective investors and prominent leaders. Venkat Krishnan, Founder, GiveIndia, Anshu Gupta, Founder, Goonj and Naveen Tewari, Founder and CEO of InMobi Technologies were among the 39 eminent speakers who spent time with the incubatees.
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N/Core also has formed a Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) council with leaders from large organizations to promote innovation-led problem solving with the startup-philosophy in the nonprofit sector, and to support N/Core incubatees. Some of the CSE Council members are Anil Kumar, CEO, Axis Bank Foundation; Namita Vikas, Group President and MD, Yes Bank; Biren Bhuta, Chief-CSR, Tata Steel, among others.
Atul Satija, Founder of N/Core, said: “We plan to incubate the best nonprofits working towards poverty alleviation in India and are keeping a very high bar on selection. Glad that we have a strong support system of N/Core Collective and CSE Council members, to support N/Core Partners in mentoring and scaling the selected nonprofits.”
The Much Needed Personal Mentors
With a better understanding of the needs and challenges of these early-stage nonprofits, N/Core has now launched its 1st, 6-month incubation N/1 which has also evolved into a Partner-led model. Sanjay Purohit, ex-Chairman of Infosys Consulting; Maneesh Dhir, former MD of Apple India and current Partner of Social Venture Partners; K R Lakshminarayan, Chief Endowment Officer of Azim Premji Foundation, and Ujwal Thakar, ex CEO of Pratham and GiveIndia, will drive the incubator forward. The selected incubatees will be also offered INR 10 lakhs as seed-grant to help them build their idea and grow. N/Core Partners will work closely with each nonprofit founder to provide deeper mentorship and support throughout the 6 months of incubation, and beyond.
If you are an entrepreneur who has started – or is planning to start – a nonprofit, do join the N/Core incubator. The details of the program are here.