Tag Archives: unconvention

Announcing Villgro’s annual fellowships for social entrepreneurs

fellowshipBG
Pic courtesy: Villgro website
Applications for the fifth installment of the annual Villgro Fellowships are now open. The fellowship provides professionals, with a one-year Leadership Development program, to get a taste of what it feels to work in the social entrepreneurship space. The program is a mix of classroom sessions, forums, field trips, hands-on mentoring and a close working relationship with a social entrepreneur. Its certainly a immersive, roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty experience, that promises to give fellows a first-hand experience of what it takes to be a social entrepreneur. For the talent-starved socent industry, this is a great way to get access to world-class professional talent, in various areas like finance, marketing, HR and IT.

Since 2008 there have been Villgro 29 fellows, and a whopping 62 per cent of them have stayed back in the social enterprise (socent) sector. David Schafran, for example, was a fellow at rural BPO company Desicrew, and upon finishing his fellowship he went on to found his own social start-up

Want to know experiences of the 2012 Villgro Fellows? Follow all their experiences on the blog here

If you are convinced or just curious find more details on the Villgro fellowships here.

Other fellowships similar to Villgro’s include Acumen Global Fellows Program, Idex Accelerator Program, Dasra Fellows and Frontier Market Scouts.

Villgro background
Villgro (earlier known as Rural Innovations Network), was started by Paul Basil 11 years back, as a way to mentor and commercialize village innovations. Currently, they provide a variety of services, including mentoring, talent support, funding, marketing and access to socent networks. To date they have incubated around 64 companies and provided $40 million in seed funding. Villgro, also used to organize Unconvention, one of India’s largest socent conferences, till last year. It has partnered with Aavishkaar organized Sankalp, to form India’s largest socent summit, Sankalp Unconvention summit 2013. To support the ecosystem beyond Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, Villgro has launched Unconvention|L, which is targeted at uncovering socents in smaller cities and towns. The social incubator’s other initiatives include SEED, which gives unsuccessful social entrepreneurs a second shot at making it work, through a 8-month incubation that aims to sharpen the entrepreneur’s vision and raise first round of funding.

Welcome to Sankalp-Unconvention 2013- the Davos of the social entrepreneurship world.

sankalp
Courtesy: Sankalp website

First they were two. Then they became one. Sankalp-Unconvention Summit 2013 (SUS2013), the union of two of India’s biggest social entrepreneurship conferences into one mega event, is two weeks away. It will be held from April 17-18, at Hotel Renaissance, Powai, Mumbai.

Sankalp and Unconvention were both started in 2009 and have blossomed into events that bring together social entrepreneurs, investors, academics, foundations and other stakeholders. Sankalp, touted as Asia’s largest social enterprise conference began in 2009. It is the brainchild of Intellecap, a Mumbai-based company that provides investment banking, business consulting and knowledge service solutions for social enterprises. Unconvention, which debuted in the same year as Sankalp, began with a similar agenda of bridging the world of entrepreneurs and investors. Villgro, one of the pioneers in the social enterprise is behind Unconvention.

The organizers of SUS2013 claim that it’s the largest social enterprise focused conference globally with over 1000 entrepreneurs, investors, donors, policy makers and other stakeholders expected over three days. Speakers this year include Bala Deshpande, senior managing director of New Enterprise Associates India (NEA), Jayant Sinha, managing director of Omidyar Network India Advisors, Watanan Petersk, director, Lien Centre for Social Innovation and chair, Ashoka Singapore Advisory Council, Afeefa Sayeed, senior advisor, US Agency for International Aid (USAID) and Jayesh Parekh, co-founder of Sony Entertainment Television.

The theme for this year is Looking Beyond Impact: Seeking Transformational Change.’ SUS2013 will dwell on the fact that while metrics for measuring impact are important, are they also, in some ways restrictive? Does the industry gun for scale and replication or does it pause to refine the strategies and tools that currently in operation? Have the lives of individuals at the bottom of the pyramid really been positively impacted? Difficult questions to be answered in just two days perhaps, but SUS2013 will open up a debate on how social entrepreneurship will play out in the next few years in India.

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