Head Held High raises Rs.2.5 crore to fund schemes for rural youth

    By IANS,

    Bangalore: Head Held High Services Ltd, a city-based social enterprise, raised Rs.2.5 crore (Rs.25 million) from leading Indian and overseas angel investors to fund its various social activities to unleash the power of rural youth, the company said Monday.

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    “Our mission is to unleash the power of Rubans, defined as rural youth with raw talent, entrepreneurial spirit, aspirations and access to technology, through multiple platforms,” company’s executive chairman Madan Padaki said in a statement here.

    Among the investors are Unilazer Ventures and five angels from Intellecap Imapct Investment Network, including Pravin Gandhi, Jayash Parkeh, Reena Mithal and Sanjeev Shah and US-based investor Kartik Kilachand.

    The first round of investment will be deployed over the next 12 months to refine the model, ink critical partnerships and build processes/technology for scale.

    Head Held High Foundation trustee Anand Sudarshan, former chief executive of Manipal Education, is a major shareholder of the services enterprise.

    “Our objective is to build rural ecosystems of talent, entrepreneurs, consumers and communities and create opportunity platforms for economic growth,” Sudarshan said in the statement.

    The one-year-old company has trained about 800 youth in three districts — Koppal and Gadag in north Karnataka and Anantapur in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, generating jobs for 90 percent of its trainees.

    “We have also launched the Ruban Entrepreneur Forum, Gadag chapter, which is working with 50 rural entrepreneurs in exploring business opportunities,” said co-founder Rajesh Bhat.

    “Our target is to be present in 100 districts across the country by 2018 and enable two-million rural youth live with their heads held high, over the next 10 years,” Sudarshan said.

    The company’s three platforms are RubanShakti, where rural youth undergo a residential five-month programme to transform them into English-speaking, computer-literate and knowledge-economy professionals.

    The second platform is RubanSource,which enables them to deliver services like BPO (business process outsourcing), market surveys and other info-services from non-urban locations in diverse sectors such as agriculture, health, financial inclusion, consumer and education.

    The third platform is Ruban Entrepreneur Forum that builds capacity in rural entrepreneurs and enables them to provide last-mile capability across sectors.

    “Unless income levels of the rural people, who constitute 70 percent of the population, increase substantially, India won’t find its place in the top three economies of the world. We are looking at investment opportunities that create large-scale impact and have the potential to contribute to India’s growth story,” Unilazer managing director Amit Banka said.