Upaya's focused accelerator program allows us to support a larger number of entrepreneurs and their business ideas. Workshops are typically held over a 4-month period and culminate in an Investor Showcase, which puts entrepreneurs directly in front of impact investors and other potential partners. Out of each accelerator cohort, Upaya selects one to three businesses in which to make investments. 

When selecting participants for our cohorts, Upaya prioritizes companies that demonstrate strong potential to create hundreds, if not thousands, of dignified and reliable jobs for people in their communities, helping to lift those jobholders, and their families, out of extreme poverty.

Watch the video above to hear from the entrepreneurs in Upaya’s first cohort talk about their experience in Upaya’s accelerator program.




Your enterprise must be legally incorporated as a for-profit business in India.


You must have an early-stage business, less than 5 years old, that has created some revenue-generating customers.


You haven't received any institutional funding, but are looking to do so within 6-8 months. 



Your work creates jobs for the poorest of the poor, or significantly improves incomes by employing them.


Many of Upaya’s accelerator programs target a specific sector or theme. 



Program benefits

  • Access to Upaya funding (up to $50,000 equity investment in each company). Upaya selects 1-3 enterprises for investment from each cohort.

  • Additional access to investors through pitch and networking opportunity to bring on as co-investors.

  • 5-month long program, involves three class room workshops focusing on helping companies improve their business model in three functions – Finance, Marketing & Sales and Organizational Development

  • Hand-on support (Consulting Projects) where Upaya team/ Mentors or Experts work with the companies on mutually identified gap areas in the business that need to be addressed.

  • Additionally, support in helping companies refine their business plan, pitch deck and financial model.

  • Provide access to network of experts, investors and mentors.

The cost for travel and logistics for the program will be covered by Upaya Social Ventures.


Rural Manufacturing

Rural manufacturing can create jobs that lessen the impetus for poor individuals to move to over-crowded cities. By setting up a small factory or delivering specialized equipment, a small business can provide employment for both artisans and villagers who can source raw materials.

Skill Building

The Indian government has set a goal of 500 million skilled workers by 2022 but currently, less than 5% of the organized workforce is formally skilled. Upaya sees a unique niche in supporting businesses that marry skilling to job placement and that formalize informal sectors, like rag-picking and domestic caregiving.


Half the Indian population depends in some way on agriculture for their living and over 100M Indian farmers try to earn livings from small (<2 HA) farms. We aim to find the businesses making farming viable and profitable by working throughout the value chain: inputs, farmers, traders, food processors, retailers.