Rishabh Kaul

Sankalp 2011: A Guide to What’s in Store at India’s Largest Social Investor Summit

Yes, it’s that time of the year when anyone who is even remotely interested in social enterprises/development in India experiences a strong gravitational pull towards Mumbai. The occasion, of course, is Sankalp Forum 2011, India’s largest social investment summit, set for May 5-6. This is also a big year for Sankalp, as the forum goes global with two forums lined in Africa and the USA later this year.

The forum, which is in its third edition and is hosted by Intellecap, a social advisory firm, promises to bring together more than 150 investors and 400-plus enterprises to Mumbai. This time around they also have a killer engagement platform set up to ensure that everyone is warmed up before the event. To check out and interact with all those who are attending, rush over to this page. See the entire agenda here.


The Sankalp Awards is yet another aspect of the forum that a lot of startups are looking forward to. With over 40 startups nominated (full list is at the end of the post) in five categories: education, sanitation, technology, clean energy and agriculture/food/rural business, the forum also doubles as an interesting enterprise showcase. I use the word enterprise instead of startup since some of the participating enterprises are well beyond the startup period; the oldest being a 105-year-old bank. I find this exciting because it shows us that even though the sector seems to be getting a lot of mainstream attention in the last decade or so, there are organizations that have been sustaining themselves for a long time before the social enterprise was deemed “sexy”. Besides this, there are quite a few enterprises from the mainstream sector that are seeking investment to expand their services towards the deeper end of the pyramid.

Panels & Keynote

Ah we love the panels don’t we? The National Innovation Council’s poster boy Sam Pitroda will be delivering the keynote address (via web conference). This will be followed by two days of panel discussions covering the themes mentioned in the awards section along with other critical issues such as “The Curious Case of Missing Indian Impact Investors”, moderated by Rohini Nilekani (check out her articles on philanthropy here) as well as “Analyzing the Government and Social Enterprise Overlap” which will be moderated by Vineet Rai, chairman, Intellecap.


Sankalp surely cares about the health of its attendees. I guess that’s why they have jam packed the event with so many side events that they will be running from one activity to another.

Here they are (via the Sankalp website):

Mentoring Pit Stop: Structured as a 20-minute shot of advisory adrenaline, the mentoring pit stop has been designed to provide an external perspective. Seasoned entrepreneurs/investors and experts commit their time to helping entrepreneurs address their roadblocks.

Deal Corner: A specially cordoned off section at the event, The Deal Corner will have prior designed entrepreneur-investor meetings running in parallel through both days at Sankalp 2011.

Garage: Building a social enterprise is hard work. Understanding how it impacts both locally and globally is even harder. Sankalp 2011 brings you several hands-on, engaging workshops and roundtables hosted by GIIRS/B Corp/IRIS, EdelGive Foundation, Center for Knowledge Societies, Asian Development Bank and Intellecap.


At the crux of it all – what makes Sankalp so powerful – is the attendee list. It’s nearly impossible to name everyone, but just to give you a taste of who is attending: Nick Hughes, founder mPESA’; Vijay Mahajan, chairman, BASIX; Shantanu Prakash, CEO Educomp; and possibly even Kishore Biyani, CEO, Future Group (who has been invited). I have already spoken to at least five startups who are attending the forum just to get in touch with the Dasra folks, who will be selecting this next cohort of social enterprise this September. With hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors, this really is the Woodstock of social investing in India. Our Nextbillion team (we are one of the official media partners) will of course be present at the forum, bringing to you the learnings and insight from this edition of Sankalp.

So this just leaves one question: Are you attending?


Social Enterprise
impact investing