On April 20, leading industrialist, thought leader and chairman of Hero Enterprise, Sunil Kant Munjal announced an investment of INR 100 Crore in Aavishkaar’s new fund, the Aavishkaar Bharat Fund. The investment reflects Munjal’s commitment to address the key challenges faced by the country today in terms of employment, education and skills, environment, healthcare and financial inclusion. This is also his endorsement of Aavishkaar’s entrepreneurship-based approach in tackling these issues with sustainable solutions.
Explaining the rationale for the investment, Munjal said, “At this stage in India’s evolution, it is clear that for the entire country to develop, rural areas and underprivileged citizens must become part of the economic miracle, not through charity, but through real opportunities. Currently, most of India’s development has taken place in urban areas and in medium and large enterprises. So it is heartening that a number of small and brave entrepreneurs are getting into projects aimed at the Indian heartland. It is our turn to step in, provide support, and help create prosperity at the bottom of the pyramid.’’
Speaking about the investment, Vineet Rai, founder & CEO of Aavishkaar, said, “We know that Mr Sunil Munjal does not normally make announcements of his investments, unless there is a compliance or a market requirement. But in this case, he agreed with us that this is something that needs to be encouraged, especially among other corporates. With this investment we can continue to build and scale enterprises that are working at the grassroots, whilst simultaneously multiplying their impact outcomes.”
Hero Enterprise is a widely diversified group that has a legacy of global scale enterprises in multiple areas, including bicycles, motorcycles, auto components and a host of service businesses. It is now growing and consolidating businesses like insurance distribution, training and cold rolled steel-making. The company is also investing in thoughtful real estate projects that seek to dramatically improve the quality of living for India’s middle class.
In addition, Hero Enterprise recently invested in a host of start-ups and select e-commerce ventures that aim to capitalise on India’s rapidly evolving demographics as well as the entrepreneurial energy of the youth. These investments are based on Munjal’s vision of building businesses and ventures that can become global in scale, promote entrepreneurship, are sustainable, have innovative business models and technologies, and embed principles of inclusive growth.
Munjal has also set up Serendipity Arts Foundation, which is tasked with promoting the arts, crafts and culture. This is being done by organising festivals across multiple disciplines, and undertaking residency and education programmes in multiple arts disciplines. An attempt is also being made to help create lakhs of livelihoods by helping artisans with their craft, and connecting them with markets. The interests of the Aavishkaar Fund converge with a number of these areas.
Aavishkaar, a part of the Aavishkaar-Intellecap Group, is one of the global pioneers in impact investing. Since its incorporation in 2002, Aavishkaar has made more than 50 investments, across sectors and geographies including the low income states. It has raised five funds, delivering commercial returns with a total of close to INR 1300 Crore under management.
While Aavishkaar’s unique approach has resulted in its invested enterprises impacting over 70 million lives and creating over 150,000 jobs and livelihoods, Hero Enterprise too has been involved in promoting and supporting a large number of projects aimed at healthcare, community transportation, skill development, promoting women entrepreneurs, digital learning and holistic education for children, among others.
For his contribution to affordable health care, Munjal has been honoured by Royal Society of Medicine in London. Similarly, Aavishkaar is the only Indian fund to be featured as a case study by the Stanford Business School.
Hero Enterprise seeks to carry forward the legacy of Brijmohan Lall Munjal, who built a diversified conglomerate worth several billion dollars through win-win partnerships, and sustainable relationships with multiple stakeholders based on mutual respect.
Aavishkaar Bharat Fund is Aavishkaar’s sixth fund, and is a SEBI registered Category II Alternative Investment Fund.