With the goal of developing robust enterprise solutions to combat the problem of extreme poverty, Upaya Social Ventures is proud to announce today the LiftUP Project, a 24-36 month social business accelerator program for very early-stage, ultra poor-focused social enterprises.
Demonstrating a strategy and commitment to serve the ultra poor (understood to be households living on less than $1.25 a day), social businesses selected for the program will have access to a supportive environment where they receive the funding and guidance to develop their business models. In 2011, the LiftUP Project will focus on businesses that will provide formal, steady employment for over 1,000 ultra poor families across states in North India considered the poorest in the country.
"Too often we've seen good ideas with the potential to create real change 'die on the vine' because the entrepreneurs did not have access to the tools, skills, resources, and network connections that allow any business to scale," said Sachi Shenoy, Executive Director of Upaya Social Ventures. "Through the LiftUP Project, we've created a way for early-stage entrepreneurs to have access to professional management consulting services and flexible financing structures necessary for their long term success."
The LiftUP Project works with an early stage idea and transforms it into a proven concept, one backed by stable in-field operations and social outcomes data, poised for scale and replication.
"Upaya was founded on a vision of a world in which everyone can live a life of dignity and not struggle to meet their basic needs," said Melissa Lehman, Upaya Social Ventures's Board President. "What is so exciting for us about the LiftUP Project is the chance to support a new generation of entrepreneurs as they create opportunities for the millions of families to escape that struggle."