Also published on Medium.
One of the core goals of OSA Impact from the beginning has been to support innovative social entrepreneurs in Odisha with seed capital and advisory services in effort to help them prove their business models and create a clear path towards achieving impact at scale. In February of this year, we announced our first grant:
“So while we have been releasing newsletters on a biweekly basis since August of 2017, we’ve also been working since October of 2016 behind the scenes to build our network in Odisha, to develop partnerships with entrepreneurs, NGO’s, and government organizations. We’ve leveraged some of these connections, and after raising money from many of you, members of the Odisha Society of America, we have officially given our first OSA Impact Innovation Grant.”
You can read the full announcement here. The social enterprise we chose was Krushaco, an AgTech company helping farmers become data-driven and connecting them to markets for inputs and outputs. Since providing seed capital to Krushaco, the firm has begun its pilot phase. It has defined the villages that it will focus on, worked to strengthen partnerships with suppliers, and gained trust with farmers.
Krushaco’s service model is layered. At the most basic level, it works to provide complimentary support to farmers by bringing in academic experts who volunteer as agricultural consultants. Next, it directs inputs from suppliers to farmers and outputs from farmers to markets where Krushaco captures a small slice of the value created. Finally, as part of improving usage of inputs and thereby increasing the quality, quantity, and reliability of output, Krushaco offers value added services like soil testing and precision agriculture.
Just in the past two to three months, Krushaco has meaningfully engaged with approximately 20% of the farmers in their three key blocks of Buguda, Bhanjanagar, and Odagaon which have a total of 800 or so farmers. Krushaco has also successfully acted as an intermediary for products, not only offering access but also achieving a 7% price reduction by buying in bulk on behalf of a number of farmers.
In the coming months, there are several goals that we believe are crucial and that we will update the OSA community on. In particular, we believe the integration of the eKutir technology platform into Krushaco operations will be critical, as will strengthening and fully formalizing partnerships with suppliers and downstream market participants. Another key goal will be solidifying relationships and value to the farmers; we’ll track repeat purchases, as well as, actual impact of specific products on output over the coming months.
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