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Academic year: 2023



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Document Overview

Charter and Focus

  • Program Charter
  • Case Studies of Corporate- Incubator Partnerships
  • Sourcing and Selection of Corporates and Incubators
    • Corporate Scan
    • Formation of a Consortium
    • Onboarding of a TBI
  • Defining Focus Areas
  • Value Proposition to Social Startups

The aim of the program was to bring in several profitable social impact startups from across India and help them scale through a rapid process of exposure to knowledge, capital and industry connections. The first step in creating such a program was to identify corporations interested in engaging with for-profit social impact startups. The idea of ​​engaging with for-profit social impact startups was at first for most and they were willing to take smaller bets with their CSR funds.

Citrix, HARMAN and Zinnov each brought a nominal $10,000 from their CSR funds to the table.

Program Design

Organisation Structure

  • Governance Council
  • Key Stakeholders

The SIGMA leader was responsible for the accelerator and managed all day-to-day operations, made key decisions and brought in external and internal help when needed. These stakeholders played a significant role in ensuring smooth operations and the success of the program. Functional leads ensured the timely execution of all pending requests within the program for smooth operation of the accelerator and provided on-demand assistance to the SIGMA leader for events or activities.

Plan and execute logistics for the launch event in collaboration with the event management team. The mentor is a disciple of the Socratic Approach: she/he does not force an opinion, but rather asks thoughtful questions and allows the team to find solutions on their own. The mentor dives deep into the product, business, customer and financial aspects of the company.

The mentor engages personally and professionally with the founders from the start to understand all aspects of the business. The SIGMA team was identified by the SIGMA leader and worked with him to identify the operational team. This team interacted with internal teams like functional leaders, the SIGMA leader, mentors as well as the startups for the execution of all daily functions and activities.

They were also responsible for running all activities from providing website suggestions to the marketing team during the pre-launch phase to demo day at the end of the accelerator program. Discuss press conference content and social media with communications, PR and marketing teams.

SIGMA Offerings

Scope of Program

Program Launch

  • Launch Planning
  • Pre-Launch
  • Soft-Launch
  • Program Launch
  • Post-Launch

Event Management Agency Closing: The marketing team at Zinnov helped implement a vendor selection policy to identify the most suitable and reliable event management agency among existing and known vendors for the launch of the program. The launch of the program was a significant milestone for the accelerator and was planned with careful consideration of all relevant touch points. The announcement released details about the accelerator, launch date, goals, vision, highlights, mentors and benefits of the program.

Sending collateral communications that highlight SIGMA's mission and value to all partners and include information about the upcoming launch of the program. Including the vision, objectives and program details for the promotion of SIGMA to internal stakeholders. The section includes the various activities that are carried out to ensure a successful final launch of the program.

This phase was integral to the program as it caught the attention of the right set of target audiences and creates a huge branding opportunity for SIGMA. Media outreach for the press conference: A press release containing relevant details of the program was shared with the media and press personnel. Capturing the launch of the program: Aspects of the event were captured through video and photos to be published on SIGMA's digital platforms such as the program's website and social media platforms.

Program Launch Announcement: An official announcement was made to herald the launch of the program, articulate its objectives, and call for applications on the website. After the launch of the program, all social media platforms created for the program were regularly updated to keep the startups interested in the accelerator program.

Application Processing

Screening of Applications

Interviews with Initial Shortlisted Applicants

Shark Tank


  • Documentation Requirements
  • Background Verification
  • Contract Signature
  • Identification of Mentors
  • Boot Camp

Two weeks prior to onboarding and boot camp, startups were informed of the documentation requirements, including forms, proof of identity and other information to be submitted as part of the onboarding process. Intellectual Property Rights: Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the intellect for which a monopoly is granted to designated owners by law. It is essential to understand the stage and needs of startups before scouting for mentors.

Note: A mentor can contribute to a startup for the initial 2 months of the program and continue to lead another startup that needs the mentor's specific skill and experience. The SIGMA team conducted a 30-minute induction of mentors to all the startups in attendance and educated them on the mentors' experience and areas of expertise. The SIGMA team compiled a list of the startup mentor preferences and connected it with the mentors for their approval.

As a precursor to the cohort kick-off, the SIGMA team organized a two-day boot camp for startups to complete the necessary documentation, formally introduce themselves, get an overview of the program and the sessions that are part of understand the curriculum. The SIGMA team organized the boot camp and the participants were: startups, mentors and advisors. These sessions were crucial because they gave the startups an overview of the standard curriculum.

The SIGMA team worked with facilitators to ensure that all course content was prepared well in advance, reviewed and set as part of the agenda. The boot camp started with startups formally introducing themselves to other boot camp participants.


  • Curriculum Design
    • Course Content
  • Mentoring
  • Startup Roadmap
  • Day-to-Day Operations and Fortnightly Reviews
  • Pitch Coaching & Demo Day

The curriculum calendar was planned and created by the SIGMA leader in collaboration with the SIGMA team prior to the start of the program. Systematically detail and highlight all broad topics that are part of curriculum design to help tutors and facilitators plan lessons more effectively. It describes the network of suppliers and partners that make the startup's business model work.

One of the strongest approaches to come out of the technology industry is the Agile development model. The operating plan forms part of the business strategy and describes the methods and practices to be implemented during the program, the workflow from inputs to final results and all the key resources to be used to scale the success of the start-ups. How lean UX can help with continuous learning and continuous innovation of the product and service.

It is jointly developed by the startup, mentors and the SIGMA head at the start of the program. Demo Day is a culmination of the tremendous entrepreneurial effort of the IBs during the six months of the support program. Demo Day: Demo Day is a culmination of the tremendous entrepreneurial effort of the startups during the six months of the accelerator program.

The SIGMA team and corporate sponsors finalized the theme of the demo day to speed up the planning and execution of the event. The event management agency was finalized based on past credentials, quotes, team size, capabilities, suggested theme ideas, and cost to execute the entire event.

Post Program

Feedback Collection

Mentor & Course Facilitator Review How effective were you? find the mentorship offered by the program. On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, please rate the accelerator program on the following parameters:. Your response may include suggestions about using new tools or technologies for training the cohort or fine-tuning the course content).

Key Learnings and Conclusion

The emergence of new models such as convertible notes, venture loans and quasi-equity are promising for social startups and may prove to be the push they need to remain viable. SIGMA now stands as proof that corporations can provide the necessary support to social startups through their CSR initiatives. The activities in the CSR policy in the CSR policy must be linked to Annex VII, but the entries in the Annex can be interpreted liberally, "as the items listed are broad-based and intended to cover a wide range of activities" .

CSR policy should indicate the specific activities to be carried out by the company, which should be in line with the items in Annex VII. Ensure that in each financial year (FY), at least 2% of the average net profit during the 3 preceding FYs is spent. If company aligns its CSR activities with its own business interests, ensure compliance with Rule 4(1) - the CSR activities are not undertaken in terms of the ordinary course of business.

Tech for Impact is revolutionizing sanitation by targeting operational inefficiencies, lack of engagement and lack of revenue channels in the sanitation space. It engages rural youth by setting up affordable home-based education so they can earn money in the process. It sets up mini-servers to host a local digital library, which carries resources in the form of videos, audio tapes and notes for teachers and parents.

They have partnered with a European refrigerator company and are exploring the supply chain for vaccines in India to run PoCs. The social startup landscape - across all fields (healthcare, smart agriculture, education, etc.) was an important lesson.


Chart on procedure for CSR expenditure

TBI need not be located in an academic institution if approved by the Department of Science & Technology (comes under point (ii) of Schedule VII). Any overspent amount cannot be carried over to subsequent years and set off against the CSR expenditure of that year.

SIGMA Stakeholders and Sponsors

Startups of SIGMA

Sascan has developed an affordable point-of-care screening device for the detection of oral and cervical cancer based on non-invasive multi-spectral imaging technology that combines tissue fluorescence, diffuse reflectance and absorption. As of January 2018, Sascan has partnered with HCG, Trivandrum Dental College and ICMR for clinical trials and has been shortlisted for Villgro iPitch. The resources can be downloaded and stored offline on a device and the content helps empower teachers and parents to be better learning facilitators for the children.

Coolar has developed a cooling system that allows refrigerators to operate at a lower temperature (around 60°C) instead of electricity.

Sample Application Form for Startups

Event Agendas

Feedback from Startups and Partners


Snapshots from the Demo Day


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