Upaya Social Ventures Launches Accelerator With Delhi Workshop

Seven of the eight entrepreneurs, along with members of the Upaya team.

Seven of the eight entrepreneurs, along with members of the Upaya team.

Upaya Social Ventures today announced the successful completion of the first workshop of its inaugural acceleration program with the theme: “Formalizing the Informal Sector.” The eight participating companies were selected from a competitive pool of 60 applications by a committee of impact investing and social sector experts. They represent six cities across India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Rishikesh, Varanasi and Chennai.

These companies all impressed us with a remarkable potential for scale and commitment to social impact. We believe these entrepreneurs are building companies that can successfully create opportunities and livelihoods for the poor who are too often shut out of formal and reliable work.
— Kate Cochran, CEO

The companies are taking part in a six-month Upaya program that includes three four-day workshops, mentoring from a successful professional, and culminates in an investor showcase where the companies can connect with early stage impact investors. At the end of the program, Upaya expects to select between one and three ventures for its own investment.

A complete list of the participating companies includes:

  • Helper4U Services LLP,  Meenakshi Gupta Jain, Mumbai
  • JobNukkad Services Pvt Ltd,  Ankur Mehta, Mumbai
  • Kabadiwalla Connect Private Limited, Siddarth Hande, Chennai
  • KhanaGaDi, Amit Deep Kumar, Jaipur
  • SMV Green Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Naveen Krishna, Varanasi
  • The Shoe Men, Saral Budhijara, Delhi
  • UpSkill Management Services Pvt. Ltd, Mansi Agarwal, Mumbai
  • Zero Waste Incorporation, Amit Lingwal, Rishikesh

More detailed descriptions of each company can be found here.

The first workshop, held at the UChicago Center in Delhi, featured successful entrepreneurs such as R. Narayan, founder of Power2SME and Subinder Khurana, founder of EZ Power Systems, Inc. and BankSmart Solutions, among many advisory roles. The cohort also engaged with industry experts such as Balaji Chakravarthi, a nationally known sales strategy consultant. Investors from Unitus Seed Fund, Unicorn Ventures,  the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Asha Impact, PVC Partners and Bharath Innovation Fund also spoke with the cohort. Finally, government and social sector leaders from the National Skill Development Corporation and Tata Trust participated. A complete listing of speakers and workshop schedule can be found here.

The second workshop of the program will be held in Mumbai from 26 – 29 July.  The final workshop will be 19-23 September with the investor showcase on the 23rd. The location for the final workshop has not been determined.

The Upaya Accelerator Program, Cohort 1, is being sponsored by Allen Blue, co-founder of LinkedIn and has received outreach support from Impactpreneurs, the world’s largest listing of social enterprises.