FICCI, USAID Announces Innovative Millennium Alliance in India

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New Delhi – Both India and the United States joined hands with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to launch the Millennium Alliance (MA) last week in New Delhi. It will be an inclusive platform bringing together social impact funds, venture capitalists, corporate foundations, early investors, donors, and others to support and scale innovative solutions to development challenges that affect the base of the pyramid populations in India and around the world.

FICCI and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a contribution of $7.7 million each, together with $5 million from the Technology Development Board of the Government of India, to fund an initiative along the lines of a public-private partnership mode.

USAID’s and FICCI’s goal is to raise an additional $35 million for the MA by the middle of 2013, bringing the total amount leveraged to at least $50 million.

Addressing the audience at the launch, US Ambassador Nancy Powell said, “With this partnership, we hope to foster generations of innovative thinkers and leaders who will contribute to improving the lives of people everywhere.”

Describing the joint venture as a “testament to our strong partnership,” Powell hoped to “add a new chapter to the progress both our nations have made in the last six decades,” adding, “We work together to confront some of the greatest development challenges of our time.”

At the inaugural event, FICCI unveiled the program website and announced the first call for applications inviting Indian innovators to apply for grant funding to develop and scale their innovations.

“The Millennium Alliance will provide social innovators with essential resources such as seed funding, business incubation services, networking opportunities and technical assistance, and will facilitate their access to equity, debt, and other capital,” the official document noted.

In addition to Ambassador Powell, Rajiv Kumar, Secretary General, FICCI; T. Ramasami, Secretary, Government of India (GOI,) Department of Science and Technology (DST); Saurabh Srivastava, member, National Innovation Council; and Arun Maira, member, Planning Commission and National Innovation Council, graced the occasion for the launch of the Alliance. (IATNS)

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