Syndicate content

Add new comment

Over 190 social impact projects seek to leverage catalytic grant funding to scale their work in 3 key states in India

Parvathi Menon's picture


With a grant pledge of USD 1 million, the 2013 India Development Marketplace (India DM) seeks to build on the work it has done in supporting social enterprises in India so far. This World Bank initiative aims to surface high-impact social development solutions that have demonstrated initial outcomes and provide catalytic support in helping to scale their work further.

Applying a multi-layer approach, the DM meets this objective first by providing crucial funding to back these projects (USD 50,000 to USD 100,000 per project funded) and then by enabling necessary technical assistance (through an empaneled group of local and regional firms & experts) to help organizations effectively address challenges of scale.

Launched on January 21st of this year, the 2013 India DM focused on 3 low-income states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. The call for proposal invited all social sector organizations (for-profit and non-profit entities) seeking to scale projects in these states, to apply for the grant. Over 190 project proposals have been received from across India in response to the call for proposal, within the stipulated timeline of 30 days, while the call was open.

Close to 72% of the proposals received, are from registered nonprofit organizations including civil society organizations, trusts, Section 25 companies and cooperatives. A high number of proposals (around 66%) target Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand to scale or replicate their models, with approximately 14% of the total proposals targeting to work in more than 1 of the 3 target states.

The 2013 India DM has a strong gendered focus, with projects that center on women’s empowerment being especially encouraged to apply. More than 35% of the proposals received identify women as a major beneficiary of their projects.

A total of 26 children-related proposals have been received, 11 of them working specifically on issues related to girl children. A primary focus of many of these projects is empowerment of women through livelihood creation and capacity building.

As the Lead Partner and Program Manager for the DM in India, the team at Innovation Alchemy leads the strategy, design, implementation and outreach for the program while also facilitating the larger ecosystem building mandate over the next 2 years.

Extensive information sessions have been conducted through the 3 states in this capacity, with members from the World Bank and Innovation Alchemy traveling to Bhopal, Raipur and Ranchi to interact and engage with organizations seeking to apply to the Development Marketplace. These sessions, as well as interactions with the press, formed the core of our outreach campaign in the states.

With a poverty headcount ratio of 49% for Chhattisgarh, followed by 39% and 37% for Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh respectively, these 3 states are characterized by high levels of poverty, poor infrastructure and inadequate educational and health facilities. Despite being rich in natural resources, their poverty levels are much higher than the all-India headcount ratio of 29.8%. They constitute approximately 11% of the country’s population and contribute a significant portion of its tribal and schedule caste population. The DM’S focus on these states aims to identify transformative projects that are able to demonstrate significant impact for members at the bottom of the economic pyramid. It is envisioned that providing the necessary funding and technical assistance to scale such projects will ultimately help catalyze the social development ecosystem in the region as a whole, thereby addressing many of the area’s developmental concerns.

Currently, the proposals are undergoing a three-tier assessment process which will also include a due diligence and capacity building diagnostic, where World Bank and Innovation Alchemy Teams will visit each of the shortlisted organizations/ projects for an in-depth review. 30 shortlisted organizations will be invited to present their proposals to a jury of experts at an awards event in April of this year (2013).

Around 15 winning proposals, determined through the rigorous selection process, will receive the combination of grant and technical advisory support. All finalists will also have access to a set of advisory support. A final stage of selection will determine the winners at the event, which is planned to be held in Bhopal.

Next key dates for those who have submitted proposals:

  • 26th March 2013 – Communication to those proposals that have been shortlisted for the diagnostic/ due diligence. This information will also be made available on the DM India website
  • 1st April to 12th April – On field meetings with shortlisted projects/ organizations to gain first hand learning and perspective. Shortlisted organizations will be intimated regarding the dates and details of the on-field visits.
  • 25th April to 1st May – Final Jury event in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.


This article was originally published on: