10, Oct 2023
Villgro and Cisco Celebrate Success of TVARAN Accelerator Program
New Delhi, 10 Oct 2023: Villgro and Cisco India Cash Grant Program has announced the successful conclusion of the TVARAN Acceleration Program. The program was designed to support early-stage women entrepreneurs and amplify the market presence of women-led startups in renewable energy, water and waste management, and climate-smart agriculture.
Dr. Renu Swarup, Former Secretary, the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology honoured the first cohort of exceptional startups, including Climate Sense, Green Grahi, Green Delight, MOWO Fleet, Swachha Eco Solutions, KNP Arises Green Energy, and Bharat Krushi Seva, during the closing event. The event was dedicated to spotlighting the startups’ remarkable entrepreneurial journey, acknowledging their outstanding achievements, and recognizing the challenges they overcame during the program. Moreover, it provided a valuable platform for them to articulate their strategies for future expansion and sustained growth.
During the six months of this acceleration program, these startups received invaluable support, including a financial grant of 20 lakh rupees per startup to execute their Go-To-Market (GTM) strategies. Furthermore, the startups also had access to Cisco mentors, who offered expert insights into technology and strategic planning. The program also facilitated connections with market and channel partners, leveraging the extensive networks of both Villgro and CISCO to aid in commercializing and scaling their ventures. In addition, the startups were connected with potential investors and venture capitalists to secure funding for their innovative initiatives.
In just six months, these startups have expanded their operations into new geographical areas, experienced substantial revenue growth, secured investments from venture capitalists, and successfully launched commercial pilots of their products in collaboration with various businesses and channel partners.
Bharat Krushi Seva, through the support from the program, expanded to two new geographies and has onboarded 400 farmers to embrace climate-smart agricultural practices. GreenGrahi Solutions is starting a commercial pilot of their insect-based fertilizer in Karnataka in partnership with ESSMART (A B2B e-commerce platform for rural networks) through the program. With the support of TVARAN, GreenDelight is launching its first commercial B2B pilot with a commercial bank in Bangalore, which has over 3000 women employees. Collectively, the startups have raised funding of 3.05Cr in the form of grants & equity investment.
While sharing about the achievement of the program, Harish Krishnan, Managing Director and Chief Policy Officer, Cisco India & SAARC, shared, “As a technology company, we recognize the tremendous potential of digital technology and the transformative impact of data and emerging technologies. Throughout TVARAN, we observed these attributes playing a pivotal role in shaping the strategic direction of each startup. We take immense pride in the achievements, growth, and refinement demonstrated by each cohort participant during their engagement with the program. Together, we are making significant strides towards a truly inclusive future for all.”
Kalyani Krishna, Manager, Gender Inclusion, Villgro, expressed enthusiasm for the successful conclusion of this program, “Villgro has had the privilege of supporting seven women-led startups through this initiative. With over two decades of incubation experience, we recognize that startups, particularly those led by women, require vital support in terms of market connections and access to finance, and that has been the focal point of our program. This program aligns seamlessly with two of Villgro’s core priorities – climate action and gender equality. Our partnership with Cisco has been invaluable, with their support playing a pivotal role in mentoring the startups within this cohort.”
The application for the program, which was initiated in October 2022, received 140 applications from various regions across India. After careful evaluation, 11 startups were chosen to receive one month of dedicated support focused on go-to-market strategies and scaling. This support included four essential masterclasses covering topics like finance for scaling, the strategic value of impact data, customer understanding through design thinking, and effective pitch building. By March 2023, an expert Jury evaluated the startups on their business, readiness for the market, role of technology & impact to arrive at the first cohort of 7 startups.