Current Programs

Across our focus sectors, we build programs to incubate social enterprises that lie at the intersection of unique innovation, potential for high impact and the ability for sustainable scale.

IPPF YSVF Innovation Challenge for Family Planning and Maternal Health

Sector: Healthcare


FPA India has launched the IPPF YSVF Innovation Challenge, with technical support from Villgro. This program is a global pilot of 'Youth Social Venture Fund', a business initiative of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) to discover and mentor startups and youth innovators developing tech-driven innovations (hardware or software-based) that address youth sexual and reproductive health issues.

Focus Areas 

The identified problem areas within Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights include the following:


  • Increasing young persons’ access to contraceptive information, services and supplies
  • Enhancing correct and consistent use of short-acting reversible contraceptives among young users

Maternal health

  • Empower young women to track and improve their health during pregnancy ·
  • Enable young women to track and improve their nutritional status during pregnancy

Incentives for startups/young innovators

The global challenge will provide a cohort of 10 selected innovators with month-long immersion support and access to experts, learning labs focused on maternal health and contraception-related issues. 

The top 3 shortlisted innovators will receive the following benefits: 

Grant USD 10000 (per innovator) through IPPF
Incubation & mentoring support
Connect with industry experts
Dedicated 1-1 mentorship support
Access to learning labs and webinars

Who should apply

  • Institutions/Organisation: Any for-profit or not-for-profit organisation that wish to repurpose their existing innovation or pivot from their current innovation; the organisation should not be more than 5 years old
  • Startups/ Young Innovators: Any individual or group of individuals with an idea and enthusiasm to solve the given focus areas. Innovators belonging to underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply

Applications are now closed!

Program Timelines


22 October - 22 November 2021

Call for Applications


10 December - 10 January 2022

Virtual Immersion Program


17 January - 21 January 2022

Virtual pitches and grant awards announced to the three best pitches


22 February - 22 November 2022

Incubation program | Demo day for Program Partners

Program Partners

Enabling COVID Resilience – An Accelerator program by Villgro & GIZ

Sector: Healthcare, Agriculture


Villgro has partnered with GIZ to scout and support 10 startups creating innovations in agriculture and healthcare that address challenges arising out of COVID-19 pandemic.

Incentives for startups

The startups will be supported through a 10-week acceleration program by Villgro primarily aimed at:

Develop problem statements focused on enabling COVID resilience in healthcare and agriculture
Capacity building & mentoring support
Gain access to Villgro’s network of startups
Access to International Investors & Corporates

Program Timelines


15 October - 30 October

Startup Selection and Assessment


1 November - 15 December

Virtual Immersion Program


16 December - 23 December

Demo Day


24 December

International Connects - Investors & Corporates

In case you have any queries, write to Mohammad Azhar, Lead – Government Initiatives at

Program Partner

Startup India Seed Fund Scheme

Sectors: Agriculture, Healthcare, Climate Action


Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) aims to provide financial assistance to startups for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market entry and commercialization. The Seed Fund will be disbursed to eligible startups through eligible incubators such as Villgro.

Who should apply

  • A startup, recognized by DPIIT, incorporated not more than 2 years ago at the time of application.
  • The startup must have a business idea to develop a product or a service with a market fit, viable commercialization, and scope of scaling.
  • The startup should be using technology in its core product or service, or business model, or distribution model, or methodology to solve the problem being targeted.
  • Startup should not have received more than Rs 10 lakh of monetary support under any other Central or State Government scheme. This does not include prize money from competitions and grand challenges, subsidized working space, founder monthly allowance, access to labs, or access to prototyping facility.
  • Shareholding by Indian promoters in the startup should be at least 51% at the time of application to the incubator for the scheme, as per Companies Act, 2013 and SEBI (ICDR) Regulations, 2018.
  • A startup applicant can avail seed support in the form of grant and debt/convertible debentures each once as per the guidelines of the scheme.

In case you have any queries, write to Mohammad Azhar, Lead – Government Initiatives at

Applications are OPEN!

Scaling Impact via Invention Based Enterprises

Sectors: Agriculture, Healthcare, Energy & Cleantech


Invention Based Enterprises create lasting solutions that have the potential to address challenges at different scales. Because these enterprises are developing unique, physical products, they often require a longer time to market. They require specific expertise in prototyping, manufacturing and go-to-market strategies. Villgro works to help scale such businesses and strengthen support systems that allow them to thrive.

Over the last ten years, Villgro has supported IBEs in
  • Neonatology & Late stage prenatal care
  • Screening & Detection for diabetes and cancer
  • Detection & management of infectious diseases
  • Diagnostics for skin & soft tissue infections
  • Assistive technologies for physical disabilities
  • Precision irrigation for smallholder farmers
  • Farm mechanisation solutions

Enabling IBEs to Scale

Villgro builds a nurturing environment for IBEs via high touch portfolio management, access to subject experts as mentors and technical assistance that builds long term value in – Product Design, Validation & Testing and Go-to-market Partnerships

The “Inventor’s Playbook”

We are building an open source business guide for invention based enterprises to help them grow from an idea into a sustainable business.

To know more or partner with us, write to us at

Applications to the program are open!

Powering Livelihoods (in partnership with CEEW)

Sectors: Cleantech


Powering Livelihoods, a CEEW-Villgro initiative launched in 2020, aims to boost India’s rural economy by scaling up the penetration of clean energy-powered appliances for livelihoods. Over three years, the initiative will support at least six enterprises to sustainably deploy at large scale. Villgro will also use the experience and evidence generated to add back and catalyse the sector. The initiative will also help these companies execute business strategies that are gender equitable and drive for a greater participation of women in the workforce.

Enabling Enterprises to Scale

Powering Livelihoods will meet the unique needs of each selected enterprise through dedicated financial, technical, and sectoral growth support. The program aims to achieve its objectives through the following key streams of activity:

Creating Impact at Scale

Our incubation efforts will be tailored for each company to ensure technical effectiveness, business growth and financial viability.

Capacity building

Access to technical assistance worth upto USD 100,000 to bridge enterprise specific need gaps, and delivered through strategic technology partners.


Funding of up to USD 250,000 for each enterprise to help in scaling up and commercialising their technologies.

Catalyzing the ecosystem

Funding for studies and research to generate evidence that can unlock additional support for similar enterprises. The program intends to build case studies and showcase business success to leverage greater interest and support for the sector.

Technologies for Collective Good in Agricultural Water Use

Sectors: Agriculture / Water


India’s water challenges are widespread and complex; and agriculture has a significant role to play in ensuring our water security. The program moves beyond farm level and local community-led institutions to identify innovative solutions that can scale sustainably.

Villgro will discover and build a cohort of ten innovative enterprises that are working on

  1. Water management solutions – groundwater and surface water; sustainable irrigation solutions for water intensive agriculture
  2. Farmer support technologies – land preparation, small farm applications, digital farm advisory
  3. Creating demand for water efficient use produce – market linkages for water responsible agriculture

The program also seeks to make social entrepreneurship more gender equitable by reserving funding and incubation support for women led enterprises and for those companies whose end beneficiaries are predominantly women.

Creating Impact at Scale

Our incubation efforts will include active facilitation of partnerships between social enterprises, grassroots organisations and public institutions.

Capacity building

Access to mentors and technical assistance to bridge enterprise specific need gaps, and delivered through strategic business and technology partners.


Seed funding that is adaptable to each enterprise depending on their ability and demonstration of scale up and commercialisation.

Catalyzing the ecosystem

Funding for studies and research to generate evidence that can unlock additional support for enterprises and foster partnerships. The program intends to highlight new ways to build partnerships and collaboration in a nascent entrepreneurial sector.

Applications to the program are open!

BIRAC-BioNest (in partnership with MSMF)

Sectors: Healthcare


BioNest is an initiative by BIRAC to foster the biotech innovation ecosystem in India. Villgro, in association with the Mazumdar Shaw Medical Foundation (MSMF) and Narayana Health (NH) has been selected to support and strengthen innovations in low-cost medical care.

MSMF-NH will support these enterprises with access to physical infrastructure including the use of high end equipment and testing facilities; apart from clinical expertise from the Narayana Health hospital and access to the network of industry experts from the Mazumdar Shaw Medical Foundation.


Applications to the program are open!


Sectors: Energy & Cleantech


The BIRAC Social Innovation Immersion Program will support a cohort of innovators to understand and discover problems in India and mentor them to create viable products and services to solve them. These “Social Innovators” are focused on the themes of Waste to Value and Combating Environmental Pollution. Villgro will help individual innovators identify needs & gaps within communities, help gain valuable market insights and enable them to convert these insights into a feasible solution.

In the first cycle which lasts 18 months, a group of 5 Social Innovators have been identified to work on the waste to value theme, which will be followed by the second cycle of 18 months where another 5 Fellows will work on “Combating environmental pollution”. The first 6 months will be focussed on immersion where they will understand the waste ecosystem in India by interacting with various stakeholders and perusing secondary research and followed by a 12 months product development phase where they will be supported in designing scalable products and services that can create value out of the waste.

The SIIP offers Social Innovators the opportunity to work uninterrupted and in a mission mode to find a solution to their chosen problem statement. This will involve,

  • Rural immersion to gain personal insights
  • Grants to enable product development and validation
  • Generous monthly stipend
  • Capacity building and knowledge sharing
  • Dedicated Mentorship

Past Programs

Villgro has worked with corporates, public institutions and the Govt. of India to run go-to-market and commercialisation accelerator programs

Agri-tech and cleantech startup-corporate innovation partnerships accelerator

Agribusiness scale up accelerator for the Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India and Invest India

Healthcare Accelerator Program supported by UBS Optimus Foundation

Sectors: Healthcare


UBS-Optimus Foundation & Villgro have partnered to launch an accelerator program in the healthcare sector to drive better outcomes among underserved communities in India. The program intends to support market ready, revenue stage, for-profit social enterprises and provide them with access to corporate partnerships; strong business advisory and a 100 day acceleration plan with a view to develop the healthcare ecosystem.

Focus Areas/ Problem Statements 

Scalable models that increase access to & quality of health services across the continuum of care – from community, to clinics, to hospitals & thus improve quality of healthcare systems through three entry points: 

Frontline Healthcare

  • Improve primary care access by building scalable community health worker (CHW) system
  • Capacity development of local health systems, paramedics and CHWs. Increase in number of CHWs trained and deployed
  • Tech. interventions for improving linkages to health facilities and improving supervisory support for CHWs
  • Increase and improve effectiveness of CHWs and different digital tools. Strengthen digitally-empowered CHWs
  • Facility-based interventions for improving healthcare, increase in primary health centers with improved standard of care & improved range of services

Safe Surgery

  • Increase no. of surgical, anesthetic and obstetric specialists
  • Tech. enabled early diagnosis of health issues by connecting surgeons to CHWs (tele-mentoring platform for CHWs)
  • Improve access to affordable surgical tools and technologies
  • Simplify protocols to reduce the mortality rate and improve surgery outcomes
  • Skill development of surgical workforce, developing and delivering competency-based training curricula & job aids
  • Improve access to safe C-sections for pregnant women. Improve access to a facility that can perform caesarean delivery, laparotomy and similar procedures quickly

Pediatric Cancer

  • Improve diagnosis of childhood cancers, improve access to low cost diagnostic equipment and services like imaging facilities
  • Increase access to treatment, strengthen specialized nursing skills and key sub-specialties (pathology, pediatric surgery)
  • Increase survival rates of cancer patients and reduce abandonment of treatment
  • Increase no. of pediatric oncologists, pathologists, primary care providers trained to recognize cancer warning signs
  • Improve access to non-medical supportive care, like nutrition, transport, hospitality, financial aid, ancillary medical care, immune system strengthening medications, blood supplies etc.

Incentives for startups

Partnerships with corporates, hospitals and others for pilot opportunities and business support
Technical Assistance for business growth
Access to learning labs for understanding key business concepts
Investment readiness support; Pitch deck preparation
Support in outreach to funders and investors with an aim of securing funding for development plans

Who should apply

  • For-profit, market-ready, revenue stage enterprises
  • Enterprises with Technology Readiness Level 6 (TRL 6) & above
  • Ability to demonstrate success in handling corporate partnerships
  • Enterprises that can measure and demonstrate social returns
  • Enterprises working on market-based models in low-income settings
  • Enterprises enabling innovations around focus areas
  • Enterprises based outside with a solution that is applicable for the Indian population

Program timeline:

  • Call for applications: 15 March ’21 – 15 Apr ’21
  • Application screening and pitch presentations: 15 Apr ’21 – 25 Apr ’21
  • 100 days of core acceleration: 25 May ’21 – 5 Aug ’21
  • Investment Evaluation & Graduation: 5 Aug ’21 – 15 Aug ’21

Ecosystem Partners

Media Partner

FPAI- Villgro Innovation Challenge

Sectors: Healthcare


Villgro and The Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) partnered to launch an innovation challenge to discover innovative technical solutions in the Sexual, Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) space. The “Innovation Challenge” will identify startups or individuals with innovative solutions across five problem areas in the SRHR space and provide a cohort of 15 selected innovators with a month long immersion support. The best solutions will receive a cash award of upto INR 3.5 lakhs and get the opportunity to showcase their solutions to a global audience.

The identified problem areas include:

  • Technology-driven providing multilingual comprehensive sex education to youth
  • Affordable, easy to use solutions for early diagnosis of pregnancy
  • Low cost, eco-friendly, easy to use solutions for dispensing and disposing of sanitary napkins
  • Easy and non-invasive diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) among young girls
  • Affordable and multiparameter, ovulation monitoring and management solutions

Program timeline:

  • Call for applications: 9th Oct to 30th Oct, ’20.
  • Immersion program: 5th Nov to 15th Nov, ’20.
  • Rapid prototyping and virtual pitches: 16th Nov to 28th Nov, ’20.
  • Virtual Pitches and Presentation of final cash award: 29th Nov to 3rd Dec, ’20.

Immersion Program

Apart from dedicated mentorship from healthcare professionals & youth volunteers of FPAI, shortlisted innovators were connected with relevant incubators and received rapid prototyping support for building a pilot Proof of Concept (POC).


INVENT (Innovative Ventures and Technologies for Development)

Sectors: Agriculture, Healthcare, Energy & Cleantech, Education, Livelihoods

The Innovative Ventures and Technologies for Development (INVENT) program was conceived in 2016 by Technology Development Board (TDB), and the Government of India in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID), UK.

Villgro played the role of the Lead Incubator and supported four incubators with the goal of incubating hundreds of innovative social enterprises in 8 low-income States (LIS) – Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh & West Bengal; thereby catalyzing social entrepreneurship in underdeveloped markets.

In three years, INVENT has incubated 161 startups. 72 startups have gone on to raise follow on funding of INR 1407 million. Follow on funding partners include both government and non-government bodies like Intellecap, Omnivore, IAN Fund, AgFunder, Zomato, Social Alpha (TATA Trust), Info Edge, Ankur Capital, Gray Matters Capital, Yes Bank, HDFC, Vijaya, SBI, Angel Investors etc.

Creating Impact at Scale

The INVENT Program offers Social Enterprises:

Seed funding
Capacity building and Knowledge sharing
Dedicated Mentorship
Credible Networks
Downstream Investment
Support Services

Partner Incubators

SIDBI Innovation & Incubation Centre (SIIC), IIT Kanpur

Focus StatesUttar Pradesh | Chhattisgarh

Apply at

IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP)

Focus StatesWest Bengal | Bihar

Apply at

Startup Oasis

Focus StatesRajasthan | Madhya Pradesh

Apply at


Focus StatesOdisha, Jharkhand

Apply at