Millennium Alliance Calls Indian Social Enterprises for Global Scale-Up
By Deepak Arora
MUMBAI, Dec 7: At the 9th Sankalp Global Summit, the Millennium Alliance called for applications to its Global Grant for Indian social enterprises. An exclusive session titled ‘Millennium Alliance global grant: Indian Innovations for Global Impact’ was organized at the summit with close to 50 social enterprises interested in taking their innovations other developing countries.
The Millennium Alliance grant program is currently seeking applications under its global grant, the deadline for which is December 31. The call is open for social enterprises interested in replicating and scaling their innovations to other low-income developing countries in the focus sectors of Health, Agriculture et al.
Since 2012, the global grant has enabled enterprises to extend their reach to other geographies in Africa (Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia) and South Asia (Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal), impacting over 187,000 beneficiaries on the ground through 12 projects.
The session also included a panel discussion focused on the ‘Risks, Challenges and Opportunities of taking Indian Innovation to Other Developing Nations’; moderated by Mr. Anil Sinha, Former Regional Head at IFC - International Finance Corporation-World Bank group; Advisor - Global Impact Investors Network; Chairman - Millennium Alliance Strategic Advisory Board who remarked, ”The Alliance has expanded its growth and impact to affect other geographies creating sustainable socio-economic impact”.
The panel saw representation from Millennium Alliance partners - FICCI and USAID India. Ms. Moni Sinha Sagar, Development Assistant Specialist (Innovation), Center for Innovation and Partnerships (CIP), USAID/India highlighted “We are really happy to be founding partners to the Millennium Alliance program. Along the way we have seen the program grow exponentially in its reach and impact”.
Also on the panel were past Millennium Alliance global grant awardees who engaged in an enlightening and encouraging interaction on their respective experiences in scaling to other low-income developing countries. These included Mr. Jaydeep Mandal, Aakar Innovations who has taken his affordable menstrual hygiene solution ‘Anandi’ to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda; Mr. Sudesh Menon, CEO Waterlife India which is currently scaling its’ Community Water Systems in Rwanda; and Mr. Vaibhav Tidke, CEO S4S Technologies which has scaled its Solar Conduction Dryer in Nepal and Cassava Tech in Kenya.
An India-led initiative, the Millennium Alliance is an innovation-driven, impact-focused platform which has received and evaluated over 7,000 applications since its’ inception in 2012 of which 86 innovations have already been awarded.
A multi-stakeholder partnership, Millennium Alliance brings together the Technology Development Board, Government of India, USAID, UKAID, FICCI and other partners. The program has contributed to the socio-economic development agenda in over 20 Indian states and 7 developing countries; thereby directly benefitting more than 6.8 million people at the BoP level.
Additionally, innovators have also been able to leverage their association with Millennium Alliance to raise external funds worth Rs. 451 million as well as develop over 90 partnerships for extensive and sustainable project implementation.
Concluding the session, Mr. Nirankar Saxena, Assistant Secretary General, FICCI assured the enterprises of continued engagement and support through FICCI Center for Innovation, Science and Technology Commercialization (C-Tech) through its’ current set of programs as well as future programs in the pipeline.