Many entrepreneurs have taken initiative in Rural Development and have added values especially in the agricultural production. A lots of projects have recently come into being.Many made huge success and many changed the rural structures.
Yet a lot to be done in the rural. To bring the change a Rural Innovations Network (RIN) in 2001 re-branded itself as Villgro and focused on making grassroot enterprises commercially viable. In the new avatar, as Villgro, the focus is on incubating innovations and enterprises with a potential for large-scale growth and social impact.
Villgro was started by Paul Basil who started the company with the aim to focus on health, education, agriculture and energy, as these are the broad areas with enormous scope for problem-solving solutions. “While we provide seed funding up to Rs 65 lakh, Villgro also provides intensive incubation services like mentoring, talent acquisition and investor network,” says Basil.
The ventures admitted for incubation spend between one and three years and a few up to five years. “Our companies are located all over India, so only a few Chennai-based ones have worked out of the physical space,” says Basil.
There is a lot of interest and innovation happening in the social enterprise space, but the challenge is in making these ventures sustainable and commercially viable. It takes a longer time for social enterprises to show profits when compared to other start-ups.
“That is the stage we are in now, where we are seeing a lot of idea-stage and early-stage businesses but are a couple of years away from scale,” says Basil.