UPAYA INVEST IN SAMRIDHI AGRIPRODUCTS
“Upaya is thrilled to be working with Lokesh Singh and his team as we believe their innovative model, experience with the local dairy industry, and passion for creating sustainable change will ensure Samridhi’s success,” said Sachi Shenoy, Executive Director of Upaya Social Ventures. “With the majority of Uttar Pradesh’s ultra-poor dependent on farming as their main occupation, these dairies have the potential to bring stability and prosperity to the communities where they are needed most,” Shenoy said.
Samridhi is the first partner to join Upaya’s Life-changing Interventions for the Ultra Poor (LiftUP) Project, a 24-36 month social business accelerator program that provides seed funding and strategic guidance for the development and growth of early-stage, ultra poor-focused social enterprises.
“The dairy industry in Uttar Pradesh is largely driven by small-holder farmers who account for a significant portion of the region’s total milk production but have no control over pricing,” said Lokesh Singh, Co-Founder, and Promotor of Samridhi. “As our first investor, Upaya is giving us the opportunity to create dairy industry jobs for hundreds of women in poor communities and improve the market for local farmers,” said Singh.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, Shenoy confirmed that the equity investment is within the parameters Upaya has established for its LiftUP Project partnerships.
Each of Samridhi’s initial dairy units will create 93 jobs, and every job will provide a woman with a guaranteed paycheck. Employees will also receive training and participate in all stages of the production process including collection, quality testing, cooling, and distribution. Singh estimates that, even without additional funding, Samridhi can open up five dairy units in the next three years.
“Samridhi is a perfect example of a great business idea with a reasonable capital need and the potential to create real change in the lives of the ultra-poor,” said Shenoy. “This is why Upaya created the LiftUP Project, to support social entrepreneurs with new ideas that could improve the quality of life for the 1.4 billion worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day.”