May 31, 2018

17 Best Social Incubators in India for Startups


Social enterprises or start ups are the new wave in social sector and development sector. Let us see the existing social accelerators and social incubators in India for startups, early stage enterprises, for profit ventures and non profit trust, society and section 8 types. This post talks about what is social incubation including social incubator definition, best social incubators india, criteria for selection, how to avail social enterprise funding india and which are the social incubators that are helping social entrepreneurship startups in india.

What is social incubation

Social incubation centers helps early stage social entrepreneurs to launch their start ups by providing assistance and support including seed funding, mentoring, office space and contacts. The Social Enterprise Incubator in Vancouver Island is designed to support the launch of new social enterprises through a series of workshops.

In simple words, social incubators are the organizations that help the startups and other early-stage enterprises to overcome the obstacles they face, like lack of funding, and help them grow by providing them all that is needed for a startup. Below are some of the best social incubators and social accelerators, their eligibility criteria, the procedure to apply, and their contact information.

Best Social Incubators in India for Startups

Social incubator definition

Early business incubation centers were launched in the United States in 1950’s. In 1980’s, first Brazilian business incubators were started leading to the emergence of the first incubator of cooperatives, "Technological Incubator of Popular Cooperatives" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1995. Source: Developmentissues.

Most of the startups and entrepreneurs in India face many hurdles in their initial stages. Like lack of funding, lack of knowledge, less availability of manpower and resources and this list goes on and on. In such cases, these social incubators or social accelerators come to rescue these startups and entrepreneurs. These incubators help all types of startups, early-stage enterprises, for-profit ventures and non-profit organizations by providing them with the adequate funds, mentoring them, giving them proper advice and some office space too.

There are multiple definitions for social incubators. A social incubator offer existing and new entrepreneurs the tools to drive their entrepreneurial business and deliver social good according The Guardian.

Best Social Incubators in India for Startups

There are a couple of popular social incubators and social accelerators in India. Let us see what are these best social incubators india, criteria for selection, how to avail social enterprise funding india and which are the social incubators that are helping social entrepreneurship startups in india.

1. UnLtd India - A Launchpad for Social Entrepreneurs

UnLtd India is a social incubator that helps all types of for-profit and non-profit institutions. This incubator is helping startups since 2007. For every rupee they’ve invested, they have raised an additional financial backing of 78.9 rupees. Their incubation curriculum is designed in three stages as follows


•    Access to stage appropriate finance
•    160 hours of hands-on support from UnLtd India incubation associate
•    The venture is in the idea/concept stage with basic market research in place at the time of application
•    Application process: twice a year with one cycle opening in March and other in September
For TEST eligibility, individuals who are 18+ and are residents of India can apply. Individuals should have an idea or existing organization drive to make social change.


•    Access to stage appropriate finance
•    220 hours of hands-on support from UnLtd India incubation associate
•    The venture is in pilot/post-pilot stage some evidence of impact at the time of application
•    Application process: twice a year with one cycle opening in March and other in September
For BUILD qualification, individuals should be over the age of 18 and should be citizens of India can apply. Individuals should have an idea or existing organization drive to make social change. They should have a track record of early success in the enterprise, a clear plan for future and the full-time engagement in the project.


•    Access to stage appropriate finance
•    The venture is in scale stage with established model and looking to scale
•    Application process: twice a year with one cycle opening in March and other in September

Application process: for TEST and BUILD, eligibility form, interview, shortlisted candidates will attend a theory of change workshop, mock panel and final pitch

For GROWTH CHALLENGE, eligibility, screening, application, due diligence, mock panel and final pitch

Contact Details: Block no 1, Flat No 1&2, 
Baitul Karim building,
4 Boran Road, 
Bandra (W), Mumbai 400 050, 
Tel: +91 22 2643 4351 or +91 8655 008036

2. Vilgro - Largest social enterprise incubators in India

This social incubator is in the business for last 17 years and has over 150 developers. This incubator
has raised over 1270 million rupees investments. Villgro provides funds, mentors, and assets to the
early stage enterprises in sectors such as education, health, agriculture, and energy.


For-profit companies that have achieveable revenue and have potential to achieve financial
sustainability in long run. Companies that are in the process of developing their product/ services or
conducting pilots and have early customer traction.

Vilgro - Largest social enterprise incubators in India

Up to 65 lakh seed funding from Villgro
Up to 4 crore equity investment from Menterra Social Impact Fund.

3rd Floor, IIT Madras Research Park, Kanagam Road, Taramani,(Behind Tidel Park, on Old Mahabalipuram Road), Chennai – 600113.
+91-44-666 30400
638, 7th Cross, 11th Main, Indira Nagar, Bangalore – 560038
+91-80-4163 1523

3. Action for India

Action for India mostly helps those social enterprises which are in the field of technology by giving
them access to technology, investors, mentorship, government agencies, local partners and business
development support. To enable the flow of resources and technical expertise, action for India has
tied-up with NASSCOM. Silicon valley challenge is a countrywide programme conducted by the
action for India. This challenge selects top social entrepreneurs all across India for an all expenditure
paid 10-day trip to silicon valley, California.

New Delhi Office:
S-6, Second Floor, DDA Shopping Complex,
Mayur Vihar Phase-I
Near Jeevan Anmol Hospital,
Bangalore Office:
Prestige Loka
G 01, 7/1 Brunton Road,
Bangalore 560 025
Email: info[at]

4. Deshpande Foundation - Social Incubators in India for Startups

This foundation was established in 1996 by Dr. Gururaj and jaishree Deshpande in the US which later
on also started in India. This institution has started many programmes for startups and business
tycoons such as entrepreneurship for all, the Hubli sandbox, the Indus entrepreneurs and many

Ek soch sandbox is another incubation center in Varanasi led by Deshpande foundation for building
an ecosystem that brings up conception and entrepreneurship.

Organisations or startups looking to scale to other geographies can apply for this programme. High
dormant ideas, yet to be piloted or have been piloted in India, startups which are driven by the
amorous and ardent team, which are committed to creating social change in their community, which
are innovative can also apply for this programme

Who can apply?
Organizations / Social Enterprises looking to scale to other geographies 

For queries
Call: +91-99000 35213 or Email: samvidha[at]

5. RTBI – Rural Technology and Business Incubator in India

RTBI is an incubation center at IIT Madras which was established in 2006 whose aim is to incubate
startups which focuses to improvise rural parts of India. This incubator lends an interest-free loan up
to 5 lakhs which has a repayment period of five years. An entrepreneur is expected to contribute at
least 20% of total project cost funds to be used for nurturing ICT based solutions with possibilities of
intellectual property formation.

Application process: online application template (in PPT form) expression of interest for incubation,
RTBI, internal review, meeting with the management of RTBI, presentation with incubation
committee and incubation agreement sign off.

RTBI – Rural Technology and Business Incubator in India


Seed Capital

Interest free loan up to 5 lakhs
Repayment period up to 5 years

Application Process

Online application Template(in PPT form) Expression of Interest for Incubation, RTBI, internal review, meeting with the Management of RTBI, presentation with Incubation Committee and Incubation Agreement sign off.

Contact Address :I Floor IITM Research Park, Chennai - 600 113 Phone : +91 44 66469872 Fax : +91 44 66469872 Email : info[at]

6. Dasra | Catalyst for Social Change

Dasra is in the business for last 15 years and is India's one of the foremost philanthropy foundation. Dasra has affected lives of over 20 million people, 800+ social organizations equipped with administritation expertise to scale and USD 60 million mobilized into the social sector. Adolescents, governance, sanitation, education, health etc. are the areas of focus of dasra.

Dasra has not mentioned any specific details about eligibility benchmark or selection process or how
to apply, however, you can contact dasra on the below-given details. There is no specific details on the website on how an individual or organisation can apply for funding. Dasra may be selecting organisations internally. 

Contact Address:  
Dasra India, F1, 1st Floor, Opposite G5A, Laxmi Woollen Mills Estate, Shakti Mills Lane, Off Dr. E. Moses Road, Jacob Circle, Mahalaxmi (West), Mumbai 400011, Maharashtra 
Phone: +91 22 6120 0400
Email: info[at]

7. Upaya Social Ventures - Best Incubator in India for Startups

Upaya is a nonprofit organization that builds corporations to create jobs and amends the quality of
the lives of the people living in extreme destitution. Upaya provides business development support
and investment capital to entrepreneurs with the potential to create or improve needed jobs.

Application criteria:
For-profit: your enterprise must be legally incorporated as a for-profit business in India.
Early stage: you must have an early stage business, less than 5 years old, that has created some
revenue generating customers.

No prior funding: you haven’t received any institutional funding, but are looking to do so in 6-8

Program benefits
  • • Access to upaya funding ( up to $50000 equity investment in each company). Upaya selects 1-3
  • enterprises for investment from each cohort’
  • • Additional access to investors through pitch and networking technology to bring as on co-
  • investors
  • • Provide access to the network of experts, mentors, and investors
  • • The 4-month long program involves three classroom seminars focussing on helping companies
  • develope their business model in three functions- finance, marketing, and sales &organisational
  • development
  • • Support in helping companies cultivate their business plan, pitch deck, and financial model
Ennovent is an Vienna (Austria) based firm which ties-up with the private, public and third sector to
take business ideas to markets of developing countries. This firm is the business from the year 2008.
Till now, ennovent has accelerated over 250 innovations in 15 countries.

Toolbox: leverage our innovation acceleration expertise

Funds: get access to a diversity of financial resources through our planetary network of investors to
enable the incubation of a new business unit.

Community: collaborate with their community of 200+ mentors, investors, mentors, and vendors to
amplify your reach across Asia, Africa, and America.

Dasra | Catalyst for Social Change

There are no specific details about the application process. Better to contact them directly.

Contact Address: office.india[at]

9.  Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE)

IIM Ahmedabad center for innovation, incubation, and entrepreneurship helps entrepreneurs turn
ideas/concepts into viable business. This incubator has multiple divisions across the country. This
incubator helps startups which tend to grow in the sectors of fine tech, agriculture, energy, health

CIIE provides equity-linked backing of up to INR 1 Cr. To technology startups with innovative ideas
CIIE also supports for-profit social entrepreneurs in eight low-income states of India. CIIE provides
prototyping and market validation grants along with soft capital to startups in order to mitigate the
risk associated with the elementary stages and make them investment ready.

10. Khosla Ventures

Khosla Ventures is an American firm bottomed by Vinod Khosla which concentrates on early-stage
companies in the internet, computing, mobile, silicon technology, biotechnology and clean
technology sectors.

Some companies funded by Khosla ventures include, bloom energy, DB networks, Eco
motors, Great point energy, impossible foods, Instacart, Neverware, and robotics. Khosla Ventures is headquartered in Menlo Park, California. They offer seed fund and main fund.

Application Process

To be considered for funding, please email a full business plan to kv[at]

Here is a sample business plan you can start of with.

Contact Details: 2128 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Phone: 650-376-8500
Fax: 650-926-9590

11. Infuse Ventures

Infuse Ventures is an early stage enterprise capital fund and ecosystem focused on the sustainability
and clean energy sector in India. This incubator is a part of CIIE housed at IIM Ahmedabad. This
incubator provides entrepreneurs with hands-on business and mentoring support, a world-class
system of Indian and global partners, and seed and early-stage capital.

This incubator mainly targets the areas like renewable energy, energy effectiveness, water and
waste, green buildings, sustainable transport, green IT and clean web.

While applying you can include points like the purpose of the enterprise, complications faced your
customers that you are trying to solve, what you are offering (products/services) to your customers,
and some details about your team.

Business Model - How will your venture make money? What are the revenue and cost drivers?
Team - Brief profile of founders, advisors and key management.

Contact: admin[at]

12. Marico Innovation Foundation

It is a nonprofit organization in India accomplishing the corporate social responsibility for the parent company Marico limited. MIF’s vision is to comprehend the innovation ecosystem in India. MIF
believe that innovation can spur creation and sustenance of successful and enduring Indian brands.
That will enable India to reposition itself as a global economic superpower.

1 any Indian allied or government body, educational institutions, for-profit and nonprofit social
2 the innovation should be beyond the prototype stage and must have shown proof of concept.
Paper ideas will not be accepted
3 the organization should be for profit
4 organization should have been incorporated after 1st July 2012
5 the income of the organization should not have crossed INR 10 crores in any of the previous five

Khosla Ventures Social Incubators in India

There are three categories under which you can apply:

a) Business

b) Social

c) Start-Up

Contact Details

Marico Innovation Foundation
C/o: Marico Limited, 7th Floor, Grande Palladium,
175, CST Road, Kalina, Santacruz East, Mumbai 400098

022 6648 0480


IInnocity pitch is super particular regarding their selection process, only 5-10 % of the startups
that apply have been selected. Again, this incubator is housed in CIIE at IIM Ahmedabad, if you are
lucky enough to get selected, then you can get up to 20 lakhs of donation, fundraising support from
startup clinics.

Up to 20 lakhs of grants to a maximum of 3 startups.
One day long pitch practice
Pitch desk design
Fundraising support by indiabizforsale
One free startup clinic for selected startups.

Program Benefits

Upto Rs. 20L of grants to a maximum of 3 startups
ONE Day long Pitch Practice (one week prior to the pitch day) - Optional, FREE
Pitch Deck Design (Optional, Paid)
Fundraising support by IndiaBizForSale (fund raising fee applicable)
ONE FREE Startup Clinic (optional)

Submit Your Idea through Online Application Form.

Contact: C/o CIIE Initiatives
IIM New Campus
Ahmedabad 380015 Gujarat, India

Email: info[at]

14. Startup Oasis -Social Incubator

Startup oasis contributes incubation support to entrepreneurs with ingenious ideas and business
plans. Incubation support includes business and technical advice, mentoring support, access to
expert networks, and facilitation of seed and early age funding.

Startups working in social impact fields like agriculture, skills, and livelihood, health, sustainability,
education, micro-entrepreneurship, animal husbandry, energy, and water can apply. Selected
startups will be given funding up to INR 20 lakhs, proper mentoring and advice and access to the
networks of experts.

Application process is online in the website.

15. Start up Oasis - Social Accelarator

Social Accelerator support the social impact start-ups working in social-impact domain, like but not limited to Agriculture, Skills and Livelihood, Health, Sustainability, Education, Micro Entrepreneurship, Animal Husbandry, Energy and Water.

Start-ups registered in or having operations in Gujarat OR Start-ups registered in Rajasthan / Madhya Pradesh or having or planning to begin operations in either or both of these two states.

Get an opportunity to get a grant of up to INR 25 lakhs from SAP.

Apply via Google Form.

Contact: social-accelerator[at]

16. Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

Michael & Susan Dell Foundation seek to fund projects that directly serve or impact children living in urban poverty, particularly in the areas of education, childhood health and family economic stability (including microfinance).

Check Your Eligibility to get funding here

To complete the application, you will also need:
  • the amount you are requesting
  • your project budget
  • the number of children your project will reach
  • a problem statement (500 character limit)
  • a project description (1500 character limit)
  • a brief description of how the requested funding will be used (500 character limit)
  • a brief description of proposed success metrics (500 character limit)
You can apply for grant by going to the website.

14. N/Core, an incubator exclusively for nonprofits

N/core is a social incubator that is entirely for non-profit organizations. This incubator helps
enterprises which work in the field of agriculture, health care, hunger and nutrition, gender equality,
water and sanitation, financial inclusion, land and property, energy, employability, education,
nonprofit ecosystem and more.

For applying, your enterprise should not be more than 3 years old. If choosen, you can get funds up
to 10 lakhs, mentoring by N/core partners and access to N/core’s network of selector stalwarts,
entrepreneurs, and CRS council

Focus areas

Access to finance | Affordable housing | Urban homelessness | Land titling and records |  Legal aid |  Problems affecting women and marginal farmers.

You have to submit your idea in the first round. Once that is selected, to proceed to the next phase, they will invite you to submit your startup plan. for details on what should be part of your startup plan, please refer to this document. Selected applicants from this round will then be invited for a video call with few of the jury members.

15. Startup Village

Startup Village  is India's first incubator which is funded in partner by the public and the private
sector. Startup Village is a technology business incubator and mostly funds startups which are in the
sector of e-commerce, mobile computing, and technology product startups. The boosters and
backers of startup village are the department of science and technology, the government of India,
Technopark, Trivandrum and MobME wireless.

This incubator has a special program for students studying in college and has some basic knowledge
about coding.

16. NSRCEL Social Ventures Incubation

NSRCEL Social Ventures Incubation based on IIM Banglore and been offering incubation for social enterprises. There is a preincubation program for selected start up and they offer office space and seed funding.

Round 1: Submit your idea online
Round 2: As a part of the selection process, you are required to submit a Slide Deck and a Pitch Video.

The details are as follows:

1.   The Video should cover :  (strictly LIMIT the duration of the video to  2 minutes )
  • What is the purpose of your organization
  • What is the specific need /opportunity that you are addressing
  • What is the change that you are trying to influence
  • With reference to the above what have you accomplished so far
  • What support do you need from NSRCEL Social Ventures Incubation Program
2.  The PPT should cover:
  • Your Core team profile ( Name of founder, Mobile number, Email, City and complete residential address)
  • Company registration number (for-profit)/FCRA number (not for profit)
  • Organizational presence ( where all in India are you located )
  • What all activities do you do in each of the above places
  • What have you achieved so far ( impact ) 
  • What do you wish to achieve in the next 3 years
  • How are you currently financing your organization

17. Zone Startups

ZOne startps is a Mumbai based social accelarator providing networking, peer to peer meeting services, mentorship, partnerships with CSR and other companies, access to cloud credits and work space.

You can apply through the website online.

Other Resources

Start up India list of Incubators can be accessed from here - Ministry of Commerce and Industry

Startup India list of Accelerators can be accessed from here - Startup India Hub

Check the list of Startup India Schemes here - 50+ Startup Schemes By The Indian Government That Startups Should Know About

There are other incubators all around the World which you can read from Quora.

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