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Igniting Ideas For impact

Embarking on a transformative journey through six chapters, we traverse India's landscape, exploring pioneering startups and their revolutionary...

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11 Social Incubators in India That Are Helping Startups & Social Enterprises Transform Lives!

11 Social Incubators in India That Are Helping Startups & Social Enterprises Transform Lives!

Have a great idea that has the power to transform lives but unsure of how to see it to fruition? This list of social incubators is just the thing you need.

Have a great idea that has the power to transform lives but unsure of how to see it to fruition? This list of social incubators is just the thing you need.

While starting a for-profit business is no easy task, starting a social enterprise is tougher still. Lack of funds, knowledge resources, manpower… the hurdles are endless. These social incubators mentor, guide and advise entrepreneurs, helping them navigate the choppy waters of social entrepreneurship.

1. UnLtd India

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UnLtd India has helped create more than 12,000 jobs and has touched the lives of more than 1 million individuals through the initiatives they have supported. Their selection criteria includes the ability of the entrepreneur to deliver results and the potential social impact of the project. The organisation offers both financial and non-financial support, from inception to graduation of the a social enterprise.

You can learn more about the organisation here

2. Villgro


In the 14 years since their inception, Villgro has backed more than 109 innovators. Their initiatives have created more than 4000 employment opportunities and impacted 15 million lives. Primarily active in the four sectors of healthcare, education, agri-business and energy, Villgro shortlists candidates for incubation on the basis of the strength of the idea, the social impact it will create, the business feasibility as well as the scalability.

Learn more about Villgro and the services they offer here.

3. Action for India


Driven by the desire to bridge the gaps that keep social enterprises from reaching their potential, Action for India provides entrepreneurs with access to technology, mentorship, investors, government agencies, local partners and business development support. The organisation runs the annual Silicone Valley Challenge, winners of which are given the opportunity to spend 10 days in Silicon Valley, California engaging with leaders in technology and business. Action for India also offers a fellowship for social entrepreneurs.

Read more about the organisation on their website here.

4. Deshpande Foundation


Driven by the belief that well-planned and well-developed solutions which have a long term impact are the only way forward for the country, Deshpande Foundation creates an eco-system that nutures innovation and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are given the chance to interact with others, to come up with enterprises that are not only sustainable and scalable, but that have a long term social and economic impact as well.

Read more about the work of the Deshpande Foundation here.

5. RTBI – Rural Technology and Business Incubator

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An initiative of IIT Madras, RTBI was set up in 2006 under the aegis of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and World Bank’s Infodev arm. The organisation primarily looks for enterprises that are working towards rural and social inclusion. RTBI adopts a two pronged methodology of incubation and exploration, and offers infrastructure and admin support, as well as funding options, and other value added services like risk assessment, service development and marketing.

Familiarise yourself with RTBI’s services here.

6. Dasra


Alleviation of poverty drives the actions of Dasra, which lists sanitation, governance, adolescent girls and strategic giving as priority areas. This organisation lives up to the meaning of its name ‘enlightened giving,’ by conducting in-depth research to facilitate such giving. Their hands-on approach to consultation and mentorship has helped them build over 730 organisations, who in turn have impacted more than 17 million lives!

Discover more about Dasra here.

7. Upaya Social Ventures


‘A hand-up and not a hand-out is the best way to lift families out of extreme poverty’ – this is the belief that drives the actions of Upaya Social Ventures. In the sector of poverty alleviation through gainful employment, Upaya offers seed funding and business development support to organizations that provide employment opportunities to the poor. They believe in adopting a ‘hands-on’ approach and often work with their beneficiaries for two to three years to ensure that good social initiatives meet their potential.

Understand more about the way Upaya functions here.

8. Ennovent


In 2008, Ennovent started out by investing in innovations that aimed at improving the lives of people in low-income markets in India. Today, Ennovent is a global innovation company that has broadened its operations to discover, startup, finance and scale business innovations for sustainability. They work with entrepreneurs, investors, enablers, corporations, innovators and their ever-expanding global Innovation Community to jointly develop, fund and implement customised Innovation Solutions to some of the toughest challenges facing the developing world.

‘Impact before profit’ is the mantra of this global business innovation company which has accelerated over 250 innovations in over 15 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas
since 2008.

Learn more about how Ennovent is impacting lives here.

9. Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE)


Set up in 2007 in India’s premier B-School, the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship is another incubator that has helped transform several wonderful ideas into thriving enterprises. CIIE provides entrepreneurs with various services including incubation, acceleration, mentorship as well as funding. So far, the organization has helped more than 50 ventures. Entrepreneurs can make use of their initiatives like iAccelerator, Piramal Prize, MentorEdge and Infuse Ventures.

Read more about CIEE here.

10. Khosla Labs


Based in Bangalore, Khosla Labs is a startup incubator and an innovation lab. Entrepreneurs and technology – the organization believes – can help solve several large scale problems. Some of their initiatives include universal financial inclusion through advances in cloud technologies, mobile payments and Aadhaar. They also work in the sector of retail efficiency, big data analytics and healthcare. Novopay and Aadhar Bridge are two popular projects undertaken by the organization.

Discover more about Khosla Labs and their path-breaking innovations here.

11. Marico Innovation Foundation

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Established in 2003, the Marico Innovation Foundation has made a name for itself with the ‘direct impact’ innovations it has helped nature and implement in the areas of renewable energy, waste management, employability, livelihood and healthcare. The organisation does not provide funding, but does offer social entrepreneurs with access to networks of experts, CSR foundations, pro-bono experts, B-school students, corporate volunteers, impact investors as well as other incubators and accelerators under their Social Innovation Acceleration Program (SIAP).

Learn more about the innovations Marico supports here. 

Featured Image Source: Livestrong

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