In conversation with Ms. Anshu Bhartia, CEO, UnLtd India

By auther pic. CSRBOX

April 1, 2019

Anshu is the CEO of UnLtd India, an organisation which finds, supports and grows early-stage social entrepreneurs. She has over 25 years of experience working seamlessly in non-profit and for-profit global organisations. Prior to UnLtd India, Anshu was the CEO of Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture Network (RRAN), Friends of WWB, a leading financial services organization, and a VP at American Express. Anshu started her career with a management consulting firm and in the last 8 years has provided strategic advisory guidance to promoters of social enterprises.


Introducing UnLtd India, Ms. Bhartia says that it was started with a vision that there are loads of changemakers in the economy and they don’t find the right supportive ecosystem and hence, face failure. UnLtd’s idea is to find fund and support entrepreneurs, providing them with stipend kind of funding from a year up to 4 years of incubation support. The idea is that, with mentoring, creating a supportive ecosystem within the cohorts itself, which takes quite a bit of leverage off and provide the entrepreneurs with connections to mentors, funders; providing them a way forward. More than anything, the aim is to provide them with moral support.


She adds- Life of an entrepreneur is a very lonely journey. They may call you in the middle of the night saying that they are shutting down their business. The point is ‘Can we guide them through the challenges and the problems? How can we support them through this phase?’ UnLtd India provides a very comprehensive support package – Moral support, technical support, connections which will hopefully help them upscale. Till now, the organization has supported 200 entrepreneurs and 88% of them have continued to do what they started. Some have scaled, some haven’t, but they continue to do what they started.


UnLtd India works with for-profits and not-for-profits, as it believes that the solution of change can come from both.


Talking about the flagship initiative, Ms. Bhartia says Incubation is the only initiative. UnLtd India started 10 years back when there were no incubators. It is among the first few incubators that started, and very entrepreneur centric and the main focus of the organization remains on providing support.


Commenting on how the social incubation sector evolved in the CSR ecosystem, Ms. Bhartia says that the Incubation ecosystem has evolved extensively. It’s now the buzzword. There are for-profit, not-for-profit incubators; there are more for-profit incubators which provide seed capital and mentoring but not-for-profit do not have the same luck. But it is evolving; support is starting to be shown for the non-for-profit incubators too. The CSR bill accepting incubators as one of the grantees is a big step. It is very heartening to see CSR coming on board, the transition has been a difficult one. Earlier, when having a conversation about the CSR with the company heads, they provided non-conforming support to the entrepreneurs.


Speaking about a forum like India CSR Summit, Ms. Bhartia says- ‘There are very few marketplaces for CSR, Entrepreneurs, and stakeholders to come together. There’s a need for more forums like this and it is a big initiative in itself.’


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