World Bank gives $1.4 mn in grants to 12 social enterprises in the Northeast

Friday, June 20, 2014

The World Bank’s Development Marketplace, a competitive grants programme, has given grants worth $1.4 million (about Rs 8.4 crore) to 12 social enterprises in the northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram for development activities.

Of the 12 enterprises that received the grants, announced on Thursday in Guwahati, nine got $150,000 each to implement development projects over 24 months.

The remaining three got $25,000 each to invest in capacity building. Seven awardees are in the health-care sector, focused on improving access and affordability of medical services. Financial services, education, and water and sanitation were among the other sectors considered for the grants. See Pictures: World Bank gives $1.4 mn grants

“One of the major challenges for such enterprises is getting start-up finance for unproven models and management bandwidth,” said Anil Sinha, Regional Head, Inclusive Business at International Finance Corporation (IFC), South Asia. The IFC is the World Bank’s private-sector lending arm. Sinha said growing these social enterprises is a big hurdle towards creating maximum impact.

“While there are lot of good stories and good anecdotes, scale is the issue,” he said. “One way forward to scale such enterprises is the public- private partnership model.”

One of the awardees this year, SAS Poorna Arogya Healthcare started in Karnataka in 2010 and is now spreading wings to Assam. It provides health insurance amounting to Rs 6,000 a year for Rs 160 a year.

The institution works with a network of 4.5 lakh women and partners with microfinance organisations like Grameen Koota to spread the word about the service among their user base. Another Assam-based organisation which got the grant, GNRC, which has a network of three low-cost hospitals in the state, the first one starting in 1987, provides most diagnostic tests like X-ray and ECG at 60 per cent of the usual cost.

Source: Business Today (link opens in a new window)

business development, impact investing, social enterprise