Innovation, Business, & Enterprise: 2014 in Review

2014 has been an exciting year at Innovation Alchemy! Working on Innovation, Business and Enterprise often is. Here is a quick look at some highlights from the year, and a special thanks to our network of partners, friends and collaborators who make this journey fun!

As our work has grown, we’ve continued to build out long-term relationships, and formed many new and exciting partnerships as well.

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  • We extended our work with the World Bank’s Development Marketplace into three new states — Assam, Meghalaya, and Mizoram—to support social businesses creating impact. Through our engagements with the World Bank DM between 2010 and 2014, we have now facilitated over 45 social enterprises, across 9 States in India through access to funds & targeted capacity building.
  • We have continued our work with the Marico Innovation Foundation’s Social Innovation Acceleration Program, supporting social entrepreneurs looking to accelerate their impact. This program has now contributed 12 innovative organizations to our Acceleration portfolio between 2010 and 2014.
  • This year we also partnered with CNBC Awaaz’s Masterpreneur Season 2, a national search for high-potential entrepreneurs. As an Innovation Expert and Knowledge Partner we facilitated a host of innovative small businesses across India to leverage this engaging media platform.
  • Our team has also just begun an enriching collaboration with the NASSCOM Foundation and the Social Innovation Forum. Looking forward to building this further in 2015.

Highlights from the Acceleration Portfolio

This year, our social acceleration portfolio has expanded to include a few direct engagements with social businesses that are on a journey to scale their operations and impact. Two especially interesting organizations that have joined our portfolio this year are SMV Wheels Pvt. Ltd. and Khabar Lahariya.

Facilitating Khabar Lahariya’s transition from a non-profit initiative into a Sustainable Rural Women-led Media Enterprise
Innovation Alchemy partnered with Khabar Lahariya in 2014 to build a strategic growth plan to scale the reach and impact of KL’s local language newspapers across rural India; and to help the organization expand its funding sources to meet the new requirements.

As a Scale Strategy Consultant, IA worked with KL to identify innovation levers to enable increased production, including an organizational overhaul and a new approach to printing and distribution of the newspapers to optimize costs. KL intends to grow from 6 current editions to 18 editions; reaching more than 4X the number of readers with each edition, expanding across more districts in UP, facilitated through the acceleration journey.

The engagement has helped KL create a fresh organization map, based on new skills required for further scale and momentum and
a ten-year scale route map has been crafted with an associated strategy to test and roll out a more sustainable business operation. To support this scale, a fundraising strategy has been developed covering immediate, medium and long-term funding goals based on costs, finances, and agreed upon growth plans. Over the next 2 years of partnership & prototypes, KL is preparing to transform from an effective non-profit initiative into a unique, sustainable rural women-led media enterprise with great social impact.

Facilitating SMV Wheels to leapfrog its social & economic impact through a structured remodeling of the business

Innovation Alchemy partnered with SMV Wheels to help the organization sustainably scale their
‘social venture’ into an effective SME Business Enterprise, providing vehicles and financing to more cycle-rickshaw drivers and push cart vendors, empowering them with the tools to take charge of their own lives and livelihoods.

The SMV Wheels business has been reorganized based on an in-depth analysis of SMV’s work, core competencies, scalability of the business model, leadership and management challenges.

The Innovation Alchemy team synthesized findings and extracted insights to build a robust expansion programme across several states in Northern India. A detailed ten-year route map for scale has been created to help SMV Wheels ‘operationalise’ its strategy and secure necessary funding for the 10X growth that it plans over the next few years.

Several field pilots have been implemented over the last 12 months and through our continued partnership as Scale Strategy Advisor & Collaborator, SMV Wheels is on a firm path towards sustained growth. This was validated in its potential when Naveen Krishna, Founder of SMV Wheels was also selected as the Social Masterpreneur for 2014 from over 1800 applications received by the CNBC Awaaz Masterpreneur Season 2 platform.

Alchemix

We hosted our largest Alchemix™ session yet, exploring innovation in education, employability, and livelihoods in India. This session brought together more than 100 innovators and entrepreneurs to engage with our passionate practitioner speakers and share learning and insights on issues ranging from sparking creativity in children, to effectively working within governments, to disability and the challenges faced for employability. In addition to our physical audience, we had more than 700 people join us from around the world via a live web stream as well as an additional 114 people, from 20 different organizations gather at web streaming events in 7 Indian cities to watch the event and engage with us via Skype and Twitter.

Strengthening the Team

We further build out the Team at Innovation Alchemy, both through a combination of full timeresearch & project management staff as well as creating a deep panel of expertise. Partnerships with Samhitha Associates has strengthened our core in financial analysis and due diligence; and a partnership with DKR Associates has enabled us to link our portfolio to Bank Debt funding. Experts in both these organizations have significantly enhanced Our Team’s ability to review, analyze and support the financial scale aspects needed as a part of the acceleration journey.

What’s Next

2015 promises to be an enriching year for Innovation Alchemy, as we continue to build new strategic partnerships, bring more organizations into our acceleration portfolio, and launch our first diversified venture in the field of sustainable agriculture. To keep up with Innovation Alchemy as we continue to take on exciting new projects, like our facebook page, follow us on Twitter or send us an email (info@innovationalchemy.com) for more info or to be on our mailing list for periodic updates!

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