Risk capital fund for young entrepreneurs

Mumbai, April 17 (IANS) Young entrepreneurs from low income groups can now look forward to getting funds to start sustainable enterprises.

An initiative by Going to School, a not-for-profit organisation, announced the launch of Be! Fund that provides new access to risk-capital (up to $10,000/INR 500,000) to young entrepreneurs, a representative of the organisation said Wednesday.

“By 2020, there will be over 200 million unemployed young people below the age of 30. The youth unemployment crisis cuts across all industries and development sectors. We need new heroes to solve India’s greatest problems,” said Lisa Heydlauff, Director of Going to School, in Mumbai.

“These heroes we need to find are the poorest, youngest people in India, who by pioneering new sustainable business models that create jobs and solve problems become role models to inspire millions of young people to change the world around them by choosing to become entrepreneurs,” she added.

How it all began: Be! Fund started in Bangalore, with a seed capital from entrepreneurs Phaneesh Murthy and Dev Roy, who believe that the poorest young people in India are worth investing in to change the world – they have the answers to the problems their communities face, all they need is a group of people to listen to them and be open enough to take a risk to invest in their ideas to make them a reality. After the success in Karnataka, new investors in Be! Fund decided to take this ‘made-in-India’ model to Mumbai and the rest of India.

With philanthropic capital and voluntary business skill support from Deutsche Bank, UBS & USAID, Be! Fund plans to find, support, and invest in over 30 young heroes in 2013, out of which 15 hero entrepreneur investments will be in women.

Ten of the investments will be in renewable energy and agriculture anywhere in India, and 20 across Maharashtra alone.

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