Open Road Alliance

Caroline Bressan and Kim Rachmeler Join Upaya’s Board of Directors

Upaya Social Ventures is pleased to welcome Caroline Bressan and Kim Rachmeler to its board of directors.

“We are thrilled to welcome the expertise and social passion of these two accomplished women to our board.” Kate Cochran, Upaya CEO said.

Upaya Welcomes Bangalore-based Saahas to LiftUP Project, Promotes Job Creation Through Waste Management

Upaya Social Ventures is proud to announce today that it has joined with India’s largest business angel group the Indian Angel Network (IAN), to invest in Bangalore-based Saahas Waste Management Private Limited (SWMPL).

SWMPL provides end-to-end waste management solutions for bulk waste generators in Bangalore while creating secure employment for women from disadvantaged communities. Following this agreement, the company will receive seed funding and business development support through Upaya’s LiftUP Project.

“The waste management problem in Indian cities is staggering and is growing fast with increasing urbanisation. At the same time, the ‘waste industry’ in India is largely informal and exploitative,” said SWMPL founder and CEO Wilma Rodrigues, who has 13 years of experience in the waste management sector.  

“SWMPL was founded to responsibly manage all kinds of waste generated within corporate campuses and institutions with the firm conviction that waste has to be handled at the source itself,” said Rodrigues.

The company provides on-site waste management solutions to a wide range of waste generators, beginning with an audit to determine the types of waste generated, recommendations for recycling solutions and infrastructure requirements.

Many of the on-site facility staff employed by SWMPL are women who have worked as informal waste pickers in highly exploitative and dangerous environments. The organization provides them with reliable, formal employment and regular salaries.

“Upaya's focus on ultra poor job creation really goes into the heart of our model and I am very glad to have Upaya join this round as they will help us to remain people-centric while growing as a movement for cleaner cities,” said Rodrigues.

Across the company SWMPL emphasizes safety with adequate protective gear and training for hygienic waste handling practices. The company provides each employee with a fair salary and full benefits.

“The SWMPL team is highly experienced and respected in the industry for their work,” said Upaya’s Director, Business Development Sreejith Nedumpully.

“We are excited to work with a great organization that helps corporations and institutions reduce their carbon footprint significantly and be more ecologically sustainable and socially responsible,” said Nedumpully.

Mr. Nagaraja Prakasam, lead IAN investor, commented on the company’s growth strategy saying, “SWMPL pioneered the zero waste campus model and has successfully delivered onsite waste management services to bulk waste generators. IAN Impact was launched in 2013 to support ventures working on the ‘triple bottom line’ -- like SWMPL -- as IAN would like to encourage the growth of social enterprises that are creating better lives for people.” As an active IAN impact angel, Prakasam has lead four other deals and has made 12 investments through IAN.

Upaya’s support to SWMPL has been made possible by Open Road Alliance, a private philanthropic initiative that provides grant capital to non-profits for mid-implementation projects facing an unexpected roadblock or a sudden catalytic opportunity.


July Newsletter: More Than a Job

The past few months have marked an exciting period in Upaya's evolution - our team has had the opportunity to share our story with some incredible groups, we have forged new partnerships to expand the breadth and depth of our work, and our partners have been acknowledged broadly for their successes. 

Click to read the full newsletter.

Upaya Partners with the Open Road Alliance to Bring its Social Metrics Online


Upaya Social Ventures is proud to announce that it has received a grant from the Open Road Alliance for the creation of an online platform that will be used by Upaya partners to collect and analyze data about the progress made out of poverty by their employees. This data will not only give Upaya’s partners critical business intelligence about the state of their workforce, but it will also allow them to quantify their social impact to prospective follow-on funders.

Through this system Upaya will also have the ability to aggregate data across partners, strengthening both the organization’s understanding of the key indicators of ultra poverty and its ability to identify trends among households benefiting from increased income stability.

Open Road provides fast funding for non-profits either to overcome unexpected obstacles that imperil an on-going project or to grow substantially with a one-time, targeted grant. This grant fits within the latter category as Open Road feels that an online platform for collecting and analyzing social metrics will significantly expand Upaya’s capacity to create employment.

“Measuring social performance has been a part of Upaya’s DNA from the very beginning, and this system will empower our partners to maximize their potential,” said Upaya’s Executive Director Sachi Shenoy.