To help solve the issue of unemployment and to aggressively promote energy-driven initiatives within low-income groups, Delhi-based not-for-profit organisation Going To School launched a programme, titled Be! Fund.
The initiative provides access to risk capital of up to Rs 5,00,000 to young individuals from low-income groups so that they can start sustainable businesses that solve local, social and economic problems that exist within their communities.
The fund has been successfully launched in Bengaluru and has created several entrepreneurs; now, the Mumbai chapter aims at creating such heroes in Maharashtra.
“Risk capital for low-income youth in various communities can be a step towards solving India’s biggest problems. Heroes inspire others to do the same; we need to be open to risk-taking,” says Lisa Heydlauff, founder, Going To School, sharing that one of their most successful entrepreneurs is Archana’s Areca Leaf Plate enterprise in Sirsi, Karnataka, that has created 85 jobs for women who lived in poverty and has also replaced 2,00,000 plastic plates with biodegradable leaf plates.
The criteria for selection is that a young person from a low-income group, between the age of 18 to 29, living in a slum or a village must have a business idea that solves a problem where he/she lives. It must be an original idea that solves problems relating to water, waste, energy or crime and also churns out profit, creates jobs and generates income for the entrepreneur.
“After three rounds of interviews, a site level visit, verification, and when the Investment Committee passes the business plan and cash flow statement, the money will be handed over to the deserving candidate. We make investments ranging from Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 5,00,000.
All returns to the fund are reinvested in more young entrepreneurs, so we’ve been cautioned we must not fail. The investment is never handed over in one go but based on analysis,” informs Heydlauff.
Till now, 25 young entrepreneurs across Karnataka have received investments. The Mumbai chapter aims to provide financial assistance to 25 young heroes across Maharashtra.