Aavishkaar, an Indian impact investment firm, has partnered with Venture Engine to introduce Sri Lanka’s first Social Impact Award for entrepreneurs.
Venture Engine, the nation’s leading platform for supporting high-growth entrepreneurship, is now in its fifth year. The platform has mentored and funded over 20 start-ups since its launch in 2012 and has a robust programme for Sri Lankan entrepreneurs.
The programme provides budding entrepreneurs with required training and education through mentoring sessions and workshops across a variety of business strategies, including accounting, governance, marketing, legal and recruitment. The platform is also known for connecting new and upcoming entrepreneurs with some of the region’s top entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Aavishkaar is recognized globally for pioneering the approach of investing in companies, which not only have high growth potential but also high social and environmental impact. Since introducing the concept of impact venture capital to the Indian market, the firm has gone on to close five funds with US $ 200 million currently under management. Its first regional fund – Aavishkaar Frontier Fund (AFF) – is investing in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia.
In collaboration with one of its investors – Germany’s KfW – the AFF is also supporting development of the start-up ecosystem in its focus geographies, with Venture Engine being their first initiative in Sri Lanka. The AFF announced an investment of Rs.300 million in Ma’s Tropical Foods, a premium manufacturer of spices, ready-to-eat foods and other food solutions earlier this month.
“Sri Lanka is a dynamic market for entrepreneurship. We wanted to support this thriving eco-system by introducing the nation’s first award for social impact and entrepreneurship and have found a perfect partner in Venture Engine, an initiative that has strong roots in supporting entrepreneurship in the country,” said AFF Partner Sanchayan Chakraborty.
“Venture Engine has always supported business models with high growth potential and has also had entrepreneurs with positive social impact pitching to us. With a specific award category this year, we are highlighting the importance of both financial and social impact of the businesses,” said Blue Ocean Ventures and Lankan Angel Network Co-Founder Prajeeth Balasubramaniam.
Recognizing the importance of a strong ecosystem to support an entrepreneur, Aavishkaar-Intellecap Group has been a convener of the Sankalp Forum – Asia’s leading platform for impact investing and entrepreneurship. At Sankalp Global Summit 2016, which was held in Mumbai last month, Aavishkaar convened dedicated sessions on South Asia, including Sri Lanka, in the presence of local stakeholders. The winner of the Venture Engine Social Impact Award will be given the opportunity to attend the Sankalp Global summit next year to interact with the global stakeholders in this space.
If you have a new business idea or if you are a start-up or an existing enterprise looking to go to the next level, Venture Engine is accepting applications. Apply at www.ventureengine.lk.
Entries will close on May 11, 2016, at 12 midnight.