Dealflow | May 17, 2018

Bharat Inclusion Initiative launches to foster inclusive entrepreneurship

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, May 17 – In India, access to basic services varies widely, and depends on where a person lives and how well off they are. The Bharat Inclusion Initiative, spearheaded by IIM-Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship in the northwest state of Gujarat, aims to tackle this problem by supporting entrepreneurs focused on improving services and creating new business models in finance, education and health.

“Business models are not always obvious. Servicing [India’s underserved] in a sustainable way will require a lot of experimentation and innovation,” Omidyar Network, one of the initiative’s backers, writes in a blog post.

  • Funding goals… IIM-Ahmedabad aims to raise $25 million for the initiative by July, LiveMint reports.
  • Early money… The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $12.5 million. The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Tata Trusts and Omidyar Network are also supporting the initiative.
  • Digital transformation… To succeed, the initiative will seek to capitalize on the rapid growth of Internet and mobile phone users, and the increasing use of data and digital identity tools.

Most of the money will go to a seed fund that will invest directly in pre-Series A tech startups. Other grant-based funding will be allocated to acceleration programs, research, training workshops and piloting partnerships.