Accelerating Replication among Ashoka Fellows in India

India is a hotbed for inclusive business activity – there are more successful inclusive business entrepreneurs than ever operating in the country. However, many of these businesses remain isolated in their reach and efforts to overcome challenges. To address this crucial issue, Ashoka brought together 21 of India’s top Ashoka Fellows for the 3-day Ashoka Globalizer conference in Chennai, designed to accelerate the scale of leading business innovation. This first day was open to ecosystem actors as well as the Ashoka fellows.

Clara Perón, a senior consultant with Endeva, was invited to present the findings from Endeva’s upcoming study on replicating inclusive business models. The report addresses actors in the ecosystem of inclusive businesses, providing recommendations for how they can support replication. It was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Clara presented alongside leading social entrepreneurs, such as Jack Sim (Founder, World Toilet Organization, Singapore), Sam Goldman (Founder, D.Light, Canada) and Paul Basil (Founder, Villgro, India). The one-day gathering emphasized collaboration and shared solutions: identifying common burdens that inclusive businesses face, discussing key characteristics of the ecosystem in which they operate, and finding concerted solutions to overcome barriers and improve the overall inclusive business environment.

GIZ announced at the launch of the event that it and the Ebay Foundation would award 4 $25,000 grants for innovative solutions addressing the many ecosystem barriers inclusive businesses face. Applicants must apply for financing from the GIZ-Ebay Foundation Economic Inclusion Ecosystem Grant Fund by April 1.

“Sharing the findings of our study with entrepreneurs and other actors really helped to further validate our recommendations.” Clara said, “But the best part was that afterward, my presentation went into action mode. Inspired by the study’s findings, inclusive business entrepreneurs, donors, MNCs, impact investors, and foundations brainstormed solutions to overcoming replication barriers. We all walked away with a better understanding of challenges faced and concrete ideas on how to overcome them. That’s what I call a conference with real results – and with help from the GIZ grant financing – tangible impact.”