After months of careful planning, we’ve finally arrived at the International Institute of Medical Health Research (IIMHR) in Jaipur for the 2011 India Development Marketplace. Today marks Day One and participants have come from all over India to pitch their projects to a panel of high-level jurors.
Arvind Gupta, Task Team Leader of the Development Marketplace kicked off the event and welcomed participants to the four day event. He explained that previously the DM funded early-stage projects, but now “we are looking to invest further down the value chain.” The intention of the grant is for organizations to “remove bottlenecks by applying funds to hire the right person or firm and fix the problem. This we believe can really help catalyze growth for an organization and enable them to access a range of funds. “
IFC’s newly formed Inclusive Business Group is using the DM as a modality to source a pipeline of potential projects for IFC. But they realize the projects funded in this competition may not be at the scale of a typical IFC operation. Therefore, the immediate-term goal is to help projects get investor-ready so smaller donors can provide middle stage investment to take them to scale.
What does it take to get a project investor ready? We believe that it is all in the pitch. Conveying the essence of your project and its social impact in 10-15 minutes is essential to capture the attention of a potential funder. To prepare the finalists for the jurors, many of whom are investors, we created opportunities throughout the next few days for finalists to practice and refine their pitch.
We’ve partnered with Dasra Social-Impact to deliver this training. Dasra has crafted a rich program of peer-to-peer learning to be delivered over the next two days that will not only prepare grantees to present to jurors but its peer-to-peer approach also lays the foundation for a network of social entrepreneurs to emerge.
Today’s session, called World Café, was designed to provide an opportunity to “see…organizations and communities as living networks of conversation” focused collectively on what matters most. Finalist Sanghamitra Naik of ORMAS noted that “working for the poorest of the poor is really the most important thing for everybody in the room.”
As an observer, I was struck by each individual’s drive to make a difference. But I was in awe at the possible collective impact this group could make in three of India’s poorest states if they successfully go to scale.