UnLimited, Tamil Nadu: A network of exceptional entreprenuers who want to tackle some of India's most challenging problems.
December 2, 2014
So many of us experience a desire to do something positive in society but are unclear where to start and feel overwhelmed by the size and complexity of society’s challenges. Last week I spoke with Gijs Spoor, a long term social entrepreneur living and working in Tamil Nadu, India. For many people, supporting 15,000 small scale farmers to grow organic crops and get a better deal in the market would meet a sense of fulfilment around supporting society and having impact. However Gijs has a strong desire to have impact on a bigger scale so he founded Unltd Tamil Nadu 2 years ago, to search, select and support exceptional social entrepreneurs committed to solving some of the most challenging problems in the country. Gijs believes
“There are thousands of talented and passionate changemakers in Tamil Nadu who could transform this country, given the right support!”
Last month, 15 entrepreneurs (or investees as Unltd TN call them) kick started their year of support through trainings, networking, coaching and seed funding to grow their initiatives to benefit up to 5000 people within 5 years for each investee.
What really struck me was the dichotomy of the size of the problems that exist and yet there is a huge need for small scale solutions with really in-depth understanding of the people, culture and environment so that solutions fit and can evolve over time. The investees programmes cover a very diverse range of projects and initiatives including:
Tip4Change a mobile app to allow consumers globally to tip producer communities directly while shopping to support the producers and allow the power of the crowd to drive social change.
Khel Planet is a non-profit organization that promotes 21st century life skills in children so that they are prepared to succeed in the 21st century. Khel Planet takes life skills education through play to children from all walks of Indian society.
To the Community Seedbank which trains and supports farmers to grow organic and diverse crops, to create sustainability in their livelihoods as well as in the soil and surrounding environment.
With this diverse spread and the wealth of knowledge, expertise and innovative thinking across the full time members of the UnLtd TN team, there is valuable knowledge and expertise for the growing number of organisations and companies entering the social space. From the Unilever’s and Interface’s leading the sustainability movement to the JCBs and Novartis with in-depth social, educational and infratructure support for the communities they engage with globally to Shopper Stop India with strategic and sustained focus on environmental and eco-excellence.
More and more companies are now looking to respond and engage in the sustainability space so there is a real opportunity for UnLtd to create an ongoing sustainable revenue stream from providing consulting to companies on how to engage in the social space, how to support and develop a social impact footprint and how to incubate and grow social businesses.
Gijs is keen to engage with consultants experienced in strategy and business modelling to help them establish how they can leverage this knowledge base in the corporate world to create sustainable revenue. For a consultant or business person keen to gain experience in the social sector Unltd TN has the benefit of a wide range of social sector engagements through their investees but the project itself is focussed on establishing a sound and sustainable revenue source for the core team. This will facilitate UnLtd TN support for their investees for years to come and the many and growing number of people benefiting from their initiatives.