The USAID-FICCI Millennium Alliance was launched on Tuesday in New Delhi as 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 base of the pyramid populations in India and around the world.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is contributing $7.7 million to the Millennium Alliance (MA), which is being matched by FICCI. During US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's visit to India in May this year, the Government of India's Technology Development Board pledged $5 million to the MA.
USAID's and FICCI's goal is to raise an additional $35 million for the MA by mid-2013, bringing the total amount leveraged to at least $50 million. 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.
In her address, US ambassador Nancy J. 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. The progress both our nations have made in the last six decades is a testament to our strong partnership. We hope to add a new chapter to that partnership, as we work together to confront some of the greatest development challenges of our time.""
In addition to Ambassador Powell, Dr Rajiv Kumar, secretary general, FICCI), Dr T Ramasami, secretary, Government of India (GOI) Department of Science and Technology, Saurabh Srivastava, Member, National Innovation Council, and Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission and National Innovation Council, also helped kick off this event for the Alliance.