Be Trust

Be Trust was registered as a not-for-profit trust in India in 2010. The trust has launched a new initiative, the "Be! Fund", which seeks to encourage entrepreneurship among young men and women from low-income groups in India. Mission: To prove the viability - both social and financial - of investing in young entrepreneurs from low income groups to pioneer enterprises that create solutions for bottom-of-the-pyramid communities, their own communities. Be! Fund is India's first venture fund that will invest in young entrepreneurs, age 18-29, from low-income groups, 50% of the investments will be made in women. Be! Fund will provide investments upto USD 10,000 to young entrepreneur...
May 8, 2012

Be! Fund Entrepreneurs

Be! Fund is India's first risk capital fund for young people who live in poverty.

Our big Be! Movies just aired on national television in India. Each story is about a young entrepeneur who lives in poverty and one day decides to solve a problem by building a business. Every movie is a Bollywood epic, 22 minutes long and at the end we ask, "Do you have a business idea that solves a problem where you live? If so, please call the Be! Fund." Our movies aired on STAR and we received over 68,000 calls from young people who live in poverty and have business ideas to solve local social problems. There are still 200 young people going through the selection process, but the first round is in: please find their hero stories in the attached report, we hope you like reading their stories.

Be! Fund

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Feb 15, 2012

Be! Fund - Investing in women entrepreneurs who live in poverty to pioneer sustainable enterprises

Sharada
Sharada

Be! Fund is India’s first risk-capital fund for young people, ages 18-29, living in poverty to pioneer businesses that solve problems they face in their lives. From water to waste, energy to shelter, we believe that young people have enterprise solutions to the problems they face; they have just never been given the chance to solve them.

 

We believe that young women in particular have the potential to create jobs for other women and transform their communities. That’s why more than half our investments are in women’s businesses.


And that’s why we have partnered with NGOs that work specifically with women to arrange Be! Movie screenings and encourage women to become entrepreneurs. We are also running radio plays featuring stories of women entrepreneurs on several radio stations during their “women’s programming hour,” asking them to submit their ideas to the Be! Fund for investment.

 

Yet we also recognize that poor young women face many challenges in starting businesses. From limited education opportunities, to household and childcare responsibilities, to unsupported families and lack of confidence, the odds are stacked against them.

 

Matilda Pereira, Be! Fund Bangalore Manager, says “It is very difficult to find women entrepreneurs below the age of twenty-nine. Often young women will call with business ideas, but their parents or husbands will not allow them to attend the first round interview. If the woman is unmarried, their families say ‘she won’t be able to continue the business once she gets married.’ If she’s married, they say, ‘she won’t be able to continue the business once she has children.’”

 

Matilda adds, “But we have more success with women who are in their thirties. For example, Archana [Be! Fund entrepreneur] has been married for seven years so she has more power in her family, which would not have been the case if she were newly married.” 

 

Archana is one woman entrepreneur we are funding. She is starting a business of recycling areca leaves into tableware that will replace harmful plastic and she plans to eventually employ six low-income women.

 

Sharada is another Be! entrepreneur. She is starting a sanitary napkin making unit that will provide low-cost napkins that will solve health problems and allow thousands of women to work and go to school. She will hire two other young women to help her.


It is women like Archana and Sharada, who are beating the odds, to create jobs and solve problems in their communities.

 

We are going to tell Archana’s story and Sharada’s story on TV and in books that go into schools to inspire the next generation of women entrepreneurs—so that young girls, sitting in classrooms in Bihar, who have never been asked, “What business will you start when you grow up?” will finally have real hero entrepreneurs they can look up to. 

Mageshwari
Mageshwari
Archana
Archana

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Nov 29, 2011

Be! Fund - Round Two of Investments - Bangalore

Be! media on TV & radio and movie screenings organised by the Be! Fund team continued to encourage young people to apply to the Be! Fund.

This round of the media campaign was focused on women, to encourage young women to pioneer their own businesses for social change and submit their ideas to the Be! Fund.

As a result more young women applied to the Be! Fund, eight women are going through the three level selection process. Business plans for each of their ideas have been made and will be presented to the Investment Committe next m

In September, Be! Fund invested in four entrepreneurs in Karnataka in South India to start their own businesses to solve a problem where they live. For the second round – Be! media was aired on TV & radio and movie screenings were organized by the Be! Fund team to encourage young people to apply to the Be! Fund.

This round of the media campaign was focused on women, to encourage young women to pioneer their own businesses for social change and submit their ideas to the Be! Fund.

As a result more young women applied to the Be! Fund, eight women are going through the three level selection process. Business plans for each of their ideas have been made and will be presented to the Investment Committee next month when a decision on investing in them will be made. 

Two young men have also submitted their business ideas and are going through the selection process and will be presented to the Investment Committee.

Some of the businesses that Be! Fund will consider investing in are – 

  • Lakshmi’s Recycled Paper Bag Business
  • Mageshwari’s Solar Lights for Homes
  • Chandrakala’s Skills Training Business
  • Jayanti’s Candle Business to provide Employment to Women
  • Violet’s Play School

Two young men have also submitted their business ideas and are going through the selection process and will be presented to the Investment Committee.


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