Weekly Review October 17-21

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This week we’re highlighting the importance of enterprise level development and impact investing in India. Several newsworthy excerpts describe the myriad opportunities emerging from the growth of social enterprises, impact investing, and the use of technology in the region.

Could impact investing help India’s poor” by Shilpa Kannan on BBC News, Delhi
A massive existing population in India coupled with robust economic growth expectations and a changing investor appetite for disruptive innovation in emerging markets has driven growth in social enterprises opportunities. Impact investors are seeking cutting edge local entrepreneurs and business innovators in India for the development of the region. In late 2010, JP Morgan was one of the first to formally acknowledge that this sector is more than an emerging trend but rather a unique and emerging asset class all its own, a notion that supports the Times of India Social Impact Awards.  As the article reports, it is becoming increasing clear that the potential and support for impact investing in India is huge. This investment class is both a solution for the risk-averse private sector and compliments the already exhausted resources coming from many governments and donors.
The Indian government is buying £30 tablets, the “Aakash,” from a British manufacturer, DataWind. The government will use the tablets to supply rural schools and universities with modern technology “to help lift villagers out of poverty.” This is an effort to get 220 million children of India online and close the gap between the burgeoning rich and the underserved poor. Currently, “only 7% of Indians graduate from high school” and the government aims to increase enrollment to 30% by 2020.  DataWind tablets enable teachers to access important teaching resources and give students a taste of technology.
“Just as many [governments] in developing countries skipped landlines and went straight to mobile phones,” many developing countries will also skip coal and go straight to clean energy. Clean technology and alternative energy sources are the competitive choice for under electrified countries in emerging markets. Especially in India, where the population is so large, the benefits of clean and safe energy sources will be significant. For example, there are about 2.5 million burn cases in India alone each year due to the use of kerosene lamps. Also in India, solar panels are priced around $300, the equivalent of a year’s supply of kerosene. Strengthened with innovative financing solutions like the Simpa Regulator Simpa Networks, India may reach its goal to produce 15% of its total energy from renewable sources by 2020. With the support of the public sector and the private sector, the second most populous country in the world can electrify the country with sustainable solutions.
Aavishkaar, a Mumbai-based venture capital firm, has raised a new $62 million fund that will focus on early-stage firms serving the base of the pyramid in India. In a similar fashion to Invested Development, Aavishkaar India emphasizes the importance of solutions that are affordable and scalable. The fund will serve a wide range of industries in India, including: healthcare, water and sanitation, education, agriculture, and renewable energy. VineetRai founded Aavishkaar in 2001 with the vision of enabling and harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit found at the base of the pyramid to promote sustainable and self-sufficient economic development.

Follow us on Twitter
Learn more about BETA