Melissa Richer and Juli Huang

In New India Map, Ayllu Identifies 9 Constraints, Innovations to Reaching Scale

Ayllu is proud to announce the India Map. Just launched at SOCAP 11, the map examines, through the perspective of entrepreneurs, key scaling challenges and innovations. Sponsored by Potencia Ventures (formerly Artemisia International), the map focuses on what constraints enterprises across sectors in India face to understand the contexts in which they work, establish their business models, and scale up their operations and impact. Ayllu identified 9 major scaling constraints as well as innovations, which are illustrated by hundreds of case examples. The map format is consistent with the Energy Map we released in May; we want the case studies and data to speak for themselves. Users can easily and quickly search within it for information that is most relevant to them.

Why it Matters

Impact investing is a hot topic, but few enterprises have achieved either exits or large scale. Last year, Rockefeller, the GIIN and JP Morgan estimated the impact investing opportunity to be $400 billion, and $1 trillion by 2015. Today, most social enterprises are early-stage and unproven, and they face enormous challenges scaling up to profitability and developing a quantifiable way to assess their impact. Usually this problem is evaluated from the perspective of funders (challenges in making investments and attracting new capital). There are insufficient data and analyses from the perspective of entrepreneurs about their business models or challenges operating in low-income markets. We wanted to understand the financial and non-financial obstacles that enterprises encounter.

The nine Constrains/Innovations:

Check out the full interactive report here.

The Results

Our major conclusions are:

  • It’s not just about financing. Operations, customer-related challenges, and external environment are major roadblocks.
  • Business Metrics > Impact Metrics: Entrepreneurs rarely have the time or resources to focus on their social impact exclusively. They use business metrics to track their progress, which often include social metrics such as number of households reached. They also prioritize metrics that will be compelling to their low-income customers (such as money customers will save over time).
  • The Devil’s in the Human Capital: Recruiting, training, and maintaining a workforce is extremely difficult in BOP markets. This is consistent with the ANDE network’s global findings about SME challenges.


The mapping effort was managed by Juli Huang, who began tracking social enterprises in India in 2009. She is currently a PhD candidate at the LSE, where she continues to focus on market-based solutions to poverty in India. As of March 2011, Ayllu’s database contained 282 enterprises in India. We selected 24 enterprises based on geographical and sector diversity, as well as an emphasis on urban solutions to align with Potencia’s focus. The Ayllu survey collects a standard set of business-model and ecosystem data from every social enterprise. We use the same survey for all our maps so that we can align them and highlight broader trends across our projects and over time. In total, we’ve surveyed over 100 enterprises worldwide and track over 500 on the iuMAP directory. The survey was developed with support from GIIRS, GIIN (IRIS), and the Acumen Fund.

impact investing, research