A key proposal emerging from National Innovation Council deliberations: is the proposal to establish the India Inclusive Innovation Fund. This Council effort seeks to establish a Fund that will drive and catalyse the creation of an ecosystem of enterprise, entrepreneurship, and venture capital, targeted at innovative solutions for the bottom of the pyramid.
The Inclusive Innovation Fund is built on the principle that innovative enterprise can profitably, scalably, and competitively engage citizens at the bottom of the economic pyramid: and, in doing so, provide goods and services that will transform their lives for the better. The Fund proposes to invest in a new generation of Indian entrepreneurs who will build – and are in the process of building – world class enterprises that focus on the problems of the poor, without compromising on economic success. In doing so, the Fund will help create a new Indian model of innovation: one that bridges growth and equitability.
The Fund will focus on providing risk capital funding to enterprises that create and deliver technologies and solutions aimed at enhancing the quality of life at the Bottom of the Pyramid; and – subject to applicable law – work with other funds with objectives similar to its own. The Fund will support investment at different stages of the enterprise development cycle – from early stages, through later phases of scaling-up of potentially successful solutions and business models.
The Fund proposes to seek capital from a range of sources: seed fund contributions from the government and its agencies; contributions from various Indian public sector enterprises, banks, and so forth; and contributions from private investors, corporates and investment firms.
Crucially, the Fund will also explore the possibility of establishing ‘soft’ incubation capacity and resources – expertise and programmes that will support individual investee entrepreneurs and companies, in successful enterprise development and performance. This effort will address social impact objectives, by kick-starting an ecosystem of capacity-building around BOP-focused enterprises and entrepreneurship; and economic return objectives, by providing entrepreneurial teams with the capacities needed to successfully deliver on their ideas.
The best entrepreneurial and technological talent, across the world, has tended to focus on the problems of the rich. The Inclusive Innovation Fund will break this convention, investing in a new generation of Indian entrepreneurial talent, capable of innovating in products, processes, and business models: successfully combining profitability and business excellence, with transformational socioeconomic impact.
The Hon’ble Finance Minister of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, has announced an initial investment by the Government of India in the Fund. The Fund is currently in the process of conceptualisation, design, and development to ensure that it is able to deliver on the mandate described above.