Management consulting firm Zinnov in association with Germany-based GIZ on Tuesday launched Sigma, a social accelerator program aimed at boosting for-profit social enterprises that have created affordable solutions for the under-served population in India. Sigma will focus on social startups in five key areas of healthcare, clean tech, smart agriculture, sanitation, and education.
Industry experts from Zinnov and GIZ said that there is huge potential in involving the corporate sector in the start-up support system. In India, an increasing number of corporates are looking at the middle income or “bottom of the pyramid” (BoP) market to explore new markets in sectors such as water, healthcare, food processing, safety, energy and transportation, etc.
Sigma is fuelled by a consortium of companies including Citrix, Ericsson, HARMAN, and IKP Knowledge Park which have come together with the goal of creating a sustainable engine for scalable social impact.
Deepanwita Chattopadhyay, chairman & CEO, IKP Knowledge Park, said that corporates can help by directing part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds to help social start-ups. IKP Knowledge Park is an incubator based in Hyderabad and Bangalore that accelerates technology-based innovators, entrepreneurs and small and large companies through customised space, shared equipment, incubation, mentorship, and funding. IKP has so far supported over 220 companies from seven countries, 80 per cent of which are start-ups.
Through the Sigma social accelerator programme, startups will have access to mentorship, customer access, tools, ecosystem connects, co-working space, technology & business support, advisory services, and grants. A detailed and in-depth curriculum would help the start-ups to systematically move from one stage to the other. The timeline for application for the programme has opened on 18 July and closes on 4 August.