Villgro - pre incubation program
Written by Mitra Ardron
Monday, 07 March 2011 02:30
I spent an interesting day with the new "Pre Incubation Program". A mentoring program put together by Villgro in Chennai to effectively leverage the help of experienced mentors to entrepreneurs, through the help of recent MBA graduates.
Villgro focuses on products and services for the rural poor, with a focus on supporting innovation and entrepreneurship to address poverty. They have programs including a small fund, and a small but growing network of village shops and distributors.
I had contacted them previously because they are one of about only seven or eight Social Ventures (for-profit or non-profit) that understand technology and rural India, and a number of the innovators I'm working with are looking for effective ways to bridge the gap to the poor.
On this occasion Villgro asked me to participate as a mentor in their new "Pre-Incubation-Program".
Four entrepreneurs/innovators had been selected, with ideas that are good, but where the business model and/or business plan is not yet ready for presenting for funding. The ideas were diverse
- vertically integrated bio-fuels
- revitalising millet production, processing and marketing.
- tissue culture for rare and medicinal plant propogation
- a water harvesting technique to reduce salination
and the mentors backgrounds reflected this. Each of these entrepreneurs has access to call their mentors over the three months of the program, and to work with a full-time business student to implement the work recommended - which typically involves upgrading the business plan, or the financial models.
Over the next three months I'll be mentoring the entrepreneur behind the first of the ideas above, and will write more when I know what they are comfortable to share publicly.
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