The Entrepreneurship Development Fund set up in partnership with e27 has raised S$100,000 to help small business owners set up and expand their businesses. The fund received a shot in the arm from Rikvin, Singapore’s premier company registration website who generously offered to match every dollar by the fund. In all, Rikvin contributed S$50,000, taking the total amount raised for the fund to S$100,000.
The EDF, set up by Milaap in partnership with e27, aims to assist entrepreneurs who are little known, untouched by technology or unfunded in India. It allows people to offer low cost loans to these entrepreneurs, thereby enabling them to scale their business, improve their standards of living and generate employment for others as well.
The fund will help at least a 100 entrepreneurs typically involved in small businesses making garments, home and office accessories avail loans of S$800-1200 each. The loans will help them buy raw materials, sewing machines and hand tools to enable them to scale up production. This will also help them cut down costs, increase production and increase revenues by 8-10%. The entrepreneurs will repay the loan over a period of 24 months.
Sourabh Sharma, our CEO says this is the first time that such a model of capital raising - a fund byentrepreneurs for entrepreneurs - has been employed. Mr. Mohan Belani, Co-Founder and Director of e27 said, “An entrepreneur's journey is full of ups and downs and it isn't always an easy one. We hope that by initiating this fundraiser, we can encourage more lenders to see the value of Milaap's loan model, and that a larger positive change can be effected.”
Rikvin urges its clients to be a part of the fundraising too. “Every gesture and dollar counts. The funds are disbursed as a loan, not a donation. This means that 100% of your contribution comes back to you at the end of 24 months. Even if you cannot loan any funds at this point, we would appreciate it if you spread the word and share this initiative with your loved ones,” said Mr. Bakhda.
For Milaap, having a company like Rikvin on board helps reach out to a lot more people and encourage them to help these entrepreneurs and thus increase the number of people who will ultimately benefit. We hope this will inspire other entrepreneurs who might want to do this as part of their own Corporate Social Responsibility as well.
If you or your company interested in raising funds for Milaap as part of CSR, please write to feedback AT milaap.org with CSR in the Subject line.
Be the change that you want to see - and that’s what Karan truly believes and follows! Meet Karan Lakhwani who has been one of our volunteers. He has helped us present borrower data as stories that you read on our website before you make a loan! We spoke to him recently and asked him about his experience he had working with us. This is what he had to say:
Q) What was your motivation to volunteer for Milaap? I have always felt the need to devote some time for social service and that was when I contacted Milaap. I believe that if each one of us can take out at least an hour out of our busy schedules and work for a good cause, we can make a better society. I was introduced to Milaap Social Ventures by one of my best friends, Pema Sherpa. She has a flair for social service and her work in this field has been inspirational.
Q) How was your experience as a Volunteer with Milaap? My experience at Milaap was wonderful. I have enjoyed creating profiles and contributing for a good cause. Every day as I jotted down a few words, I have felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. With hectic schedules, exams, projects, assignments, etc I am glad that I was able to take out time for this work and I also thank Milaap for giving me an opportunity to do so.
Q) Can you tell us about your learning experience from this volunteer Program? At Milaap, I have learned the value of teamwork. Every person in the team has an important role to play and a vital function to perform. I have also learnt how effective co-ordination and organized work can help make changed in a more effective manner. Milaap has been a different experience. If I had not joined the team, I would have never known the existence of such an innovative platform that has helped the Indian rural population to think and live a better life. Milaap has helped this rural population to live a better, a more hygienic and a secured life and I am happy that I was a part of the team. The existence of such an innovative platform has taught me that ‘innovation has no limits’.
Q) Any specific cause of Milaap that is close to you and why? Milaap is close to me as this was the first time that I had taken an initiative to work for a social venture that supported the cause of access to education, clean water, safe lighting and more for the weaker sections of the society. I have great regard for their concept of small loans and the fact that a person can completely be assured that the amount he has given reaches the one in need.
Q) One word comes to your mind when you think about Milaap? Development
All the best Karan! We wish you loads of wishes and good luck for your future.
There are few who dare to dream and fewer who make that dream a reality. One such person we came across is Subhashini Mistry. A 65-year old woman, who lost her husband at the age of 23 due to lack of medical treatment, has today set up a hospital to make sure everyone doesn’t suffer the same fate as she did.
Subhashini was born in a poor family of farmers in West Bengal. At the age of 12 she was married and at the age of 20 she had four children. At the age of 23, her husband passed away due to lack of good treatment for an illness at a government hospital. Subhashini was left all alone with her four kids.
It was indeed difficult to raise four kids, but she never gave up dreaming - a dream to see at least one of her children become a doctor and building a hospital for the poor.
For the next 20 years, she worked as housemaid, labourer and vegetable seller from which she saved Rs.20,000. She also educated one of her children to become a doctor with the help of philanthropists.
With the amount she saved, she bought one acre of land at her husband’s native village, which she eventually sold. Each family in the village contributed around Rs.900, from which she built a shed for the hospital. Though initially small, the treatment for patients started in this hospital. She went out searching for doctors who could come at least for a few hours or once a month to treat the patients..
But it wasn’t easy for her. During monsoons, the water use to enter the hospital as it was a small shed. To build a concrete roof, she required much more money. So Subhashini and her son Ajoy decided to ask for help.
Ajoy spoke to a Member of Parliament and after much persistence, the MP gave support and helped them build a new hospital. And finally in 1993, the foundation stone was laid. The hospital was named as Humanity Hospital.
It is today spread over three acres and has the best of doctors and medical equipment. Major surgeries for the poor are done for less than Rs.5000 and minor ailments are treated for under Rs.10. Her son who is a doctor is taking care of the administration and one of her daughters is a nurse.
Isn’t Subhashini’s story an inspiring one? Hats off to our Unsung Hero - Subhashini Mistry!