Since 2015, Village Capital has sought to address significant gaps that India continues to face in financial health despite major progress on the parts of both the government and private sector to expand access and participation. According to the World Bank, while 80% of the adult population in India holds a bank account, in large part thanks to government programs like Jan Dhan Yojana, 48% of these accounts remained dormant or unfunded in 2017. One reason behind this lack of engagement is due to an issue often avoided in mainstream conversations around financial health: consumers’ varying levels of assets and their ability to generate income to create financial stability. Financial health has long focused on access to, and affordability of, financial services, but it hinges on a person’s ability to create, and grow, wealth as well.
Lack of high-quality education, inadequate options for vocational training, and poor employment readiness at the time of entering the workforce continues to affect long-term economic well-being and financial health in the country. Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education in India is 25.2% – this figure has remained in the 23% – 25% range since 2013-14.
The quality of higher education is an equally serious challenge. There is a significant drop in quality below the top 100 institutions, resulting in 75% of technical graduates and more than 85% of general graduates lacking the skills needed to work in India’s most demanding and high-growth global industries. Most college graduates in India struggle to find suitable employment.
The Village Capital Financial Health India 2018 program will support ventures working in the area of financial access and participation as well as employment readiness and upskilling. Through this initiative, we seek to support ventures addressing core drivers of individual/household financial health and community economic well-being.
Support and invest through our collaborative investment readiness program
The program will consist of three four-day workshops that take place over the course of three months. Our award-winning curriculum encourages deep collaboration within the cohort, and at the end of the program, the entrepreneurs will collectively peer-select two ventures to receive offers of $50,000 investment from VilCap Investments. Village Capital has supported more than 500 entrepreneurs with this model over 50 programs, and 96% would recommend the process.
Facilitate interactions with mentors, customers, and strategic partners
Early-stage startups need validation from customers as well as relationships with key partners in order to tailor solutions as they scale. We will streamline this process, helping startups connect and interact with:
- Leading investors, entrepreneurs, and other sector experts who will offer mentorship during workshops;
- Potential customers, partners, and other industry stakeholders, who will participate in business development sessions at the workshops;
Offer deep engagement with program partners
PayPal employees and senior leaders will serve as mentors and advisors during the program, and provide guidance on a range of subjects:
- Product / technology development and UI / UX design
- Legal and regulatory issues
- Partnership development with larger institutions
The program will culminate in curated investor meetings with investors from our network for all companies in the cohort.
The program seeks ventures doing one or more of the following:
- Improving financial health for low-to-moderate income individuals and households by expanding access to tools for income generation and / or financial shock protection;
- Providing fintech solutions to support access to and management of basic needs such as health, education, housing etc; and bringing access closer to the customers;
- Improving financial literacy and providing meaningful and sustainable incentives for developing healthy financial habits;
- Enabling greater formalization and transparency of financial transactions;
- Building customer understanding of banking and banking systems in India (i.e. outreach tools, learning modules, and incentivized trials for users to start adopting banking methods);
- Applying solutions to drive revenue growth & employment generation in the MSME / SME segment;
- Expanding access to global job markets;
- Expanding access to vocational training as part of higher education, as well as on-the-job upskilling options;
- Providing solutions for access to, and expansion of, workplace readiness training & support initiatives.
Furthermore, participating ventures must fulfill all of the following criteria:
- At least one full-time team member based in India
- A minimum viable product
- Meaningful customer or business validation (not limited to revenue, can also be successful pilot studies, number of users, and/or strategic partnerships)
Program dates and locations:
Workshop 1: Oct 9 – 12
Workshop 2: Nov 13 – 16
Workshop 3: Dec 18 – 21
The workshops will likely take place in Bangalore, Delhi and/or Mumbai, but locations are still being finalized. Selected startups are required to have at least one C-level team member attend all three workshops, and Village Capital will bear flight and lodging costs for up to two team members to attend.
For more information about the program, please email Perry Nunes at [email protected].
Applications close on Friday, August 10th at 5:00pm IST.