NABARD announces support to Srijan Microfinance Business Plan Competition 2008

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Mumbai, May 27 (ANI/Business Wire India): National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) reaffirmed its commitment towards microfinance in India by announcing its sponsorship support for the annual Srijan Microfinance Business Plan Competition 2008, the only microfinance-focused business plan competition in India.

Organized annually by Intellecap, this year the competition is co-organized by Aavishkaar Goodwell and The Financial Express. Srijan ( plays a unique role of injecting entrepreneurial energy into this fast-growing sector for the past two years.

Srijan 2008 seeks to address three priority areas for the microfinance sector: lack of risk capital, knowledge asymmetry, and application of technological innovation for business efficiency. Srijan brings 'mentoring capital' to entrepreneurs and recognizes those capable of building institutions that will accelerate delivery of financial services to the poor. A

s a platform it helps investors and ideas work together towards creating the desired multiple bottom line impact.

As an integral part of this support, NABARD will sponsor part of the operational costs associated with the event.

It will also involve its senior staff as mentors and guides to microfinance entrepreneurs. A senior representative from NABARD would be on the Jury for the Final Award Event.

Supporting the initiative, A Ramanathan, Chief General Manager, NABARD said, "NABARD has always been at the forefront of encouraging innovations in the microfinance sector. Having spearheaded the SHG-Bank Linkage Programme, the largest Microfinance Programme in the world, NABARD is constantly looking for new initiatives to take the sector further. We try to identify and support new partners in our endeavor. Intellecap has organized Srijan, an innovative Microfinance Business Plan Competition successfully for the last two years. NABARD has decided to support Srijan Microfinance Business Plan Competition 2008 to help identify and showcase successful microfinance business initiatives in the country."

"Through initiatives like Srijan, Intellecap aims to offer a unique value proposition to social entrepreneurs and those with fledgling multiple bottom-line businesses. NABARD's support to Srijan is the first step in a relationship that we hope will go a long way in supporting entrepreneurial businesses in microfinance sector," said Aparajita Agrawal, Vice President at Intellecap welcoming NABARD's support.

"As an active sponsor of Srijan 2008, we believe that NABARD will bring forward a macro-perspective and unparalleled regulatory insights to the participants," she added.

The competition closed its first round of submissions on April 19, 2008. 20 short-listed participants shall develop their plans further to compete for the Final Round. Meanwhile, Srijan would bring in mentors and experts from the sector to help the participants refine and improve their business ideas.

The Final Award Ceremony will be held in July 2008.

The competition boasts of a total prize money of INR 12 Lakhs and is supported by Standard Chartered Bank and International Finance Corporation, 'Online media' partners like, 'Outreach Partners' like the Solution Exchange and 'Print Media Partners' like The Financial Express and Microfinance Insights.

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