Aspire Impact, a social enterprise focused on impact leadership and ecosystem development in the social and environmental impact space, today announced its collaboration with Impact Hub, world’s leading network focused on building entrepreneurial communities for impact at scale. They launched the Impact Startup Support (ISS) initiative in India as they unveiled their inaugural survey report titled ‘India – An Impact Start Up Nation’ highlighting the key challenges and opportunities for impact focused start-ups in the current ecosystem, at the Resurgence TiECon Delhi-NCR event. The ISS is a first-of-its-kind program for India, which will offer training and support to hundreds of incubators and accelerators, giving the impact start-up ecosystem the much-needed impetus especially, in challenging times post-Covid.

Amit Bhatia, Founder of Aspire Impact and Aspire Circle, spoke about the ‘much-needed’ collaboration saying, “Our partnership with Impact Hub will add capabilities and resilience to India’s 500+ incubators and accelerators, connecting them with a global peer network in 100+ cities across 60+ countries, world-class impact training and infrastructure, impact measurement, and, access to impact finance, transforming India into an Impact Startup nation.”

“We are delighted to partner Aspire Impact to bring our locally rooted and globally connected network of 16,500+ change driven entrepreneurs in 100+communities, 450 incubation, acceleration and scaling programs, across 60 countries to India,” said Gabriela Gandel, Executive Director, Impact Hub.

Impact Hub is present in 60 countries already and has delivered over 450 incubation, acceleration and scaling programs to impact-driven entrepreneurs last year alone. With its foray in India, which is a high-priority market for them, they are committed to building a more robust training and support network to propel India’s journey to be an impact startup nation.

The Indian impact incubation and acceleration sector has seen noticeable growth in the last few years but is still marred by many challenges. The inaugural research and study report gathered insights from 55 leading impact focused organizations (70% incubators & 30% accelerators) to help understand the existing ecosystem, the challenges faced and provide a baseline to course-correct for the future.

Some of the key findings of the report – India – An Impact Start Up Nation are:

  1. While impact start-ups are expected to rise post-Covid, the majority of the respondents felt that 40%-60% start-ups could perish without additional support, due to the challenging environment.
  2. 46% of the survey respondents felt that a globally accepted Impact-measurement framework tailored to India’s ecosystem is essential & urgently required.
  3. 34% of the survey respondents said that policies such as FCRA (with recent changes), certain State regulations should be amended to help them better achieve their business objectives.
  4. Majority of the respondents agreed that mentorship, technological inputs, R&D Support and market knowledge from the private sector is as important to a start-up as access to funds.
  5. The major challenges identified by these 54 respondents were lack of idea-driven incubation and understanding of the ecosystem, lack of performance measurement, absence of structured programs for incubation and acceleration with minimal training /mentoring and a dearth of talent.

The report also listed out eight key recommendations to address these challenges. Some of them included structured early-stage programs, establishment of peer-to-peer learning networks and building capacity of incubation managers, integration of globally accepted impact accounting and measurement benchmarks, partnering with the government to scale and support and reviewing policies such as FCRA to ease philanthropic start-up grants and technical assistance.

The post-COVID ‘new normal’ has accelerated the focus on impact globally and the Indian start-up ecosystem is not far behind in catching up to the trend. The foray of a leading global player like Impact Hub, coupled with the foundation set by Aspire Impact will create the support network and ecosystem needed to catalyse and shape the future of enterprise support in India.

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