- The annual conference will witness the culmination of iPitch – Villgro’s annual deal discovery platform, with investments of over INR 4 Crores being announced
- Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and Villgro to launch ‘Powering Livelihoods’, a multi-million dollar programme to support large-scale commercial deployment of clean energy-based livelihood solutions
- ‘Farming Futures: Emerging Social Enterprises in India’ to be released at the event
- Invite-only donor roundtable comprising foundations, CSR and other funders to be hosted
Villgro, India’s oldest and one of the world’s largest social enterprise incubators, is set to launch its annual Unconvention conference. Slated to be held at Taj Yeshwantpur, Bangalore on 6th-7th December 2019, the event will witness the confluence of over 700 delegates comprising social entrepreneurs, CSR professionals, impact investors, policymakers, and academia, to discuss the present and future of social entrepreneurship in India and globally. Themed ‘Innovation for All’, this year’s event will highlight the power of low cost innovations and making them accessible to the next billion. The two day conference’s second day is focused on parallel sector tracks of Education & Employability, Agribusiness, Healthcare, and Energy & Cleantech and deep dive into innovations in technology, partnerships, financing and policy for start-ups across agribusiness, health, education and energy domains.
This year, the Unconvention conference will be an eventful gathering that will witness some major developments that will reshape India’s social sector. It will provide the backdrop for the launch of the joint initiative of Villgro and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) – ‘Powering Livelihoods’. The multi-million dollar programme will focus on bridging the commercial valley of death by providing financial, capacity-building, and sectoral growth support to enterprises deploying clean energy-based livelihood solutions. . The unique, paradigm-shifting program will be launched by Arunabha Ghosh, Chief Executive Officer, Council on Energy, Environment and Water.
Numerous innovative and interactive sessions including Investor Speed Dating, Mentoring Forum, Innovation Hallway, and masterclasses on Being Compliance Ready by SpiceRoute Business & Data Protection Law by Gamechanger Law Advisors will make Unconvention a hard-to-miss opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to connect, network and grow. More than 20 groundbreaking innovations will also be displayed at the venue.
The conference will also mark the culmination of Villgro’s iPitch – a unique investment discovery platform that identifies and invests in for-profit social enterprises across sectors of medtech, edtech, employability, cleantech, and agritech. Upto 10 investments, to be announced at the event, will receive a total of over INR 4 crores in investment along with capacity-building support.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Srinivas Ramanujam, COO, Villgro Innovations Foundation, said, “We are thrilled to unveil the 10th edition of Unconvention, which is arguably one of India’s largest gatherings of social sector entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and other key stakeholders of the industry. Villgro has been championing social innovations for 20 years now, and the theme of this year’s conference, therefore, came from our approach and will focuses on insightful conversations about the need for holistic innovation – technological, financial, value chain and policy – to help promising start-ups across sectors thrive in the competitive Indian and subsequent global markets. With continuous support of Unconvention’s Knowledge Partner Accenture, we have several interesting sessions lined up through the two days, and are anticipating the conference to be an interesting iteration of the much sought after event.”
Unconvention will also feature insightful keynote sessions by Dr. Devi Shetty, (Founder – Narayana Health), NK Chaudhary (Chairman & MD, Jaipur Rugs), Bindu Ananth (Chairperson, Dvara Trust), Shobhini Mukerji (Executive Director, J-PAL), Varun Jhaveri (Officer on Special Duty to CEO, Ayushman Bharat – PMJAY, Government of India), Sridhar Venkat (CEO, The Akshaya Patra Foundation), Sharad Sharma (Co-Founder, iSPIRT), Reshma Anand (CEO, Hindustan Unilever Foundation) and Joe Madith (Chairman & Founder, Gram Vikas), among 80+ other key names. It will also witness a book launch – Farming Futures: Emerging Social Enterprises in India – by Ajit Kanitkar and C. Shambu Prasad. The event will present a unique opportunity for new and established entrepreneurs to catalyse the ecosystem through exhibiting and networking with potential partners, investors, mentors or even customers.
Founded in 2001 by Paul Basil, Villgro was initiated with the mission of incubating early‐stage, innovative businesses. The organisation proposed to move away from the traditional form of charity to a more sustainable approach where the poor and marginalised can be stakeholders in their own growth.
Since then, the establishment has been growing an ecosystem that supports social entrepreneurs and businesses that place impact at the centre of their mission. In 2016, it launched its own VC fund Menterra, which takes innovations to the market and enables creation of impactful, innovative, successful, scalable businesses. Apart from India, Villgro also operates in Kenya, the Philippines, Vietnam & the US.
Catering primarily to social entrepreneurs, impact investors, corporates, policymakers and the government, Villgro has successfully incubated over 300 companies since inception, which have secured $1.79 billion follow on funding to create more than 3,500 jobs and impact 20 million lives. Some of the innovative Villgro supported social enterprises that are creating a difference in the country’s rural demographics are Skymet, BookMyBai, Under The Mango Tree, Farm Harvest, 5C Network, Biosense, Vahan, Blackboard Radio, CoolCrop, GARV Toilets to name a few.