BANGALORE, India - September 16, 2022 — Upaya Social Ventures (Upaya) today announced the launch of the Dignified Jobs Accelerator 2023, a program constructed to help small and growing businesses in India scale and create jobs that lift people out of extreme poverty. The program once again brings together the collaboration between Upaya and Yunus Social Business Fund Bengaluru (YSB) to combine their expertise in scaling impactful businesses to offer a program that brings essential knowledge, capacity, and networks to early-stage entrepreneurs.
The last two years have provided an impetus for entrepreneurs to rethink their business models to survive in extreme conditions and operate with a dual purpose of societal well-being and financial sustainability. Thus the business case to support social entrepreneurs that are contributing to the jobs economy has never been stronger.
“At Upaya we believe that dignified jobs can be created by startups in all kinds of industries and all kinds of geographies,” said Kate Cochran, Upaya CEO. “We want entrepreneurs across India to know that this accelerator is for them if they share our vision of creating dignified jobs for those in poverty."
Upaya and YSB are united in the shared vision of creating scalable livelihood opportunities by supporting social businesses. The partnership, which began with the 2022 accelerator program, optimizes both organisations' rich expertise to develop a rigorous, hands-on acceleration program for early-stage social businesses.
Upaya has been running its accelerator program for six years with its hands-on expertise in building investment readiness capacity for early-stage businesses. Joining Upaya for a second year, YSB brings its experience in financing and capacity building of social businesses across India, East Africa, and Latin America as well as a global network of experts and mentors. Both organisations work with early-stage entrepreneurs to create dignified and quality jobs for people living in extreme poverty, and, through the Dignified Jobs Accelerator, will position the cohort entrepreneurs to take on investment and scale their businesses.
“We are delighted to continue our strategic partnership with YSB for the Dignified Jobs Accelerator 2023,” said A B Chakravarthy, Upaya India Country Director. “The partnership has strengthened over the past year even beyond the accelerator with early-stage enterprises benefitting from our collective expertise and networks. This joint program also reinforces our belief in collaborative efforts to support the larger mission.”
“YSB and Upaya share synergistic values and ambitions. We are excited join Upaya as a program partner second year in a row. This year's accelerator will focus on promoting solutions that are improving the quality and dignity of jobs. The future of the jobs in emerging economy is as much dependent on the breadth and volumes as it is on the depth. We hope that this accelerator sets precedence for what future jobs could look like.”
The program will take place over six months and will include four immersive modules designed to equip entrepreneurs with the knowledge and connections to grow their businesses. Participants will receive technical training and one-on-one consulting support from the experienced teams of Upaya and YSB. The participating entrepreneurs also meet and network with industry experts, investors, and peer entrepreneurs through structured workshops and Masterclasses.
As part of the program, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch their businesses to investors. Upaya will select up to three businesses for USD $50,000 investment. Yunus Social Business Fund Bengaluru will select up to two businesses for potential debt investment of up to USD $100,000.
The Dignified Jobs Accelerator 2023 cohort will consist of eight to 12 entrepreneurs who are leading early-stage enterprises in India that are focused on creating livelihood opportunities for people living in extreme poverty. The selection criteria will identify revenue-generating, for-profit companies that show traction and market potential but have raised no more than USD $75,000. The companies should show potential to scale and create 1,000 jobs over seven years. Applications for the program will be accepted through www.upayasv.org/accelerator from September 19 to October 16, 2022.
ABOUT YUNUS SOCIAL BUSINESS
Yunus Social Business Fund Bengaluru (YSBFB) is an impact fund providing patient debt capital and growth support to social businesses. YSBFB’s mission is to harness the power of business to end poverty and the climate crisis. Co-founded in 2017 by Suresh Krishna and Vinitha Reddy, YSBFB is the India fund for Yunus Social Business Funds gGmbH (Germany), co-founded by Peace Nobel Laureate Prof. Yunus. To date, social businesses in YSBFB portfolio have impacted the lives of 2.4 million people and provided higher incomes to 25,000. Investment Readiness Programmes form part of YSB’s wider ambition to contribute to building the ecosystem in the geographies in which YSB is active.
ABOUT UPAYA SOCIAL VENTURES
Upaya Social Ventures is fighting extreme poverty through dignified jobs. Founded in 2011, Upaya provides investment and consulting support to early-stage businesses aimed at creating jobs for the poorest of the poor. Upaya’s continually growing portfolio of impact investments has created over 27,000 lasting, dignified jobs. Endorsed by ImpactMatters as a high-impact, cost-effective nonprofit, Upaya’s teams in Seattle and Bangalore are committed to a goal of helping entrepreneurs create jobs for 50,000 people in India by 2025. To support its mission, Upaya runs an annual Accelerator Program in India focused on investment readiness for early-stage businesses creating jobs and livelihoods to lift people out of extreme poverty.
Yunus Social Business
Upaya Social Ventures