The Tata Trusts and Social Alpha announced the launch of their flagship fellowship program, the Social Alpha Entrepreneurs for Impact (E4i) Program, here today. The E4i program is a 12-month immersive fellowship that equips passionate ‘entrepreneurs-in-the-making’ to leverage India’s deep science, innovation and entrepreneurship environment.
Speaking at the launch, Manoj Kumar, Co-Founder and CEO, Social Alpha said, “We wanted to create an avenue for passionate, empathetic and mission-driven changemakers to scout for potential technologies, create co-founding teams, build and test their solutions, and convert them into impactful ventures. We believe that by harnessing the power of science and technology innovations and mission-driven impact entrepreneurship, we can address some of India’s most critical social, economic and environmental challenges.”
The first cohort of the E4i program will focus on finding solutions across a few high priority areas like water, sanitation, health, agriculture, energy and environment. Finalists will be encouraged to adopt a problem statement in one of these focus sectors, and identify or develop a solution that has the potential to create impact at scale while remaining financially sustainable. All throughout, Social Alpha will provide support to E4i finalists through its network of experts from public and private sector, non-profits and foundations.
The program itself is structured to include experiential, immersive and instructional components that mimic the lifecycle of an enterprise. From observing the problems on-ground, validating and refining their theory of change, converting prototypes into viable solutions, to developing preliminary business plans- finalists will undergo a practical and hands-on learning experience encompassing all the strategic ins-and-outs of running an enterprise. “As our focus is to impart useful and practical know-how, E4i finalists will have access to mentors – with background in R&D, entrepreneurship, venture investing and grassroots development action, who can guide them towards creating a successful venture, through real world knowledge, insights, networks and connections. They can also expect a lot of hands on support from successful innovators and entrepreneurs”, said Kumar.
“Another critical aspect of the E4i program is that we are providing a small safety blanket to all the finalists by way of a monthly stipend of INR 60,000. This is not compensation for their foregone salary or career trade-offs, but a means to cover their essential expenses over the 12 month period. We believe the provision of stipend will allow us to attract people who are ready to assume the entrepreneurial risk but have economic constraints holding them back. We aim to make the E4i program a catalyst for a new wave of science and technology entrepreneurship in the country.” adds Kumar.
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