• Aimed at unlocking market potential in Rural India through multi-sectoral investments and solutions
• SoD can reduce the lab-to-market journey for social impact startups and help donors and investors to ensure their investments have maximum impact

Shell and Tata Trusts, under the India2022 Coalition, powered by Xynteo, launched the ‘Stages of Development (SoD) Framework’, a data-driven tool that aids start-ups, philanthropists and investors working in the rural development space to make informed decisions, identify relevant solutions and maximise social impact through an integrated, collaborative approach.

Ramanan Ramanathan, Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, launched the SoD Framework and said: “We need to convert a nation of challenges into a nation of opportunities and innovation and India is working towards becoming a nation of innovators and job creators so that the farthest reaches of the country benefit. The Stages of Development Framework is a unique tool that can help emerging startups and innovators to deliver solutions to the challenges and transform them into a million opportunities for development in rural India.”

The (SoD) framework: https://ruralcollaboration.in/ is a data-driven planning framework that reduces the lab to market journey for start-ups and helps them identify partnerships that will aid in integrated rural development. A tool for donors, philanthropists, and investors to design rural development programs and allocate funding and investments for maximum impact and social returns. According to the SoD Framework, a village is classified based on its performance against the socio-economic development indicators, into one of the four categories: Underserved, Nascent, Advancing and Rurban. Based on the stage in which the target village/area lies, the framework puts forth solutions and delivery models best suited to the target area, as well as synergies amongst the eight core sectors: Agriculture and livelihoods; water and sanitation; healthcare and nutrition; energy; finance; education and skill development; communication and digital inclusion; people and goods movement.

The Framework has been developed by Shell and Tata Trusts under the India2022 Coalition, set up by Xynteo. This multi-stakeholder partnership has been created in line with/keeping in mind the UN Sustainable Development Goals and supporting the Government of India’s strategic priorities.

Nitin Prasad, Chairman, Shell Companies in India, highlighted: “Access to reliable and affordable energy is critical to help unlock development across multiple sectors in Rural India. Similarly, access to finance, both for consumers and enterprises, can increase the uptake of several interventions, across different sectors. We are proud to be part of this collaboration with an aim to ensure that decentralised, fit-for-purpose and low carbon energy solutions are made available to all rural households and rural enterprises.”

Mr. Ganesh Neelam, Head – Central and East North Zone, Tata Trusts, and Executive Director, Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives, highlighted that “Rural and tribal villages need an overall development approach to make them resilient. The framework allows matching of needs of communities with appropriate interventions, based on a cross-sector approach, from all required stakeholders. We are happy to have contributed in the development of this framework basis Tata Trusts’ extensive understanding of the sector and hope it helps align stakeholders towards a common goal for the good of the community-at-large.”

The SoD framework could potentially be used by any stakeholder interested in understanding rural market needs and viable solutions. The major users and their potential objectives of using the SoD are outlined below:

• Private sector solution providers: Weigh various solutions required by the rural community. identify feasible delivery models; and find synergies with other solution providers. Includes start-ups, large sector players, and conglomerates
• Local Non-Profits/NGOs: Assess the interventions/solutions required at a rural community level and prioritise grant-based and market-based interventions
• Government bodies: Get better insights into the current state of economic development and the immediate socio-economic development needs of the rural area
• Social Enterprises: Identify the set of villages, where the product-market fit would work best for their solution and equally importantly, help in identifying criteria and reasons for not entering a particular rural area
• Philanthropy: Align with other stakeholders on the socio-economic need for the development of a village. This tool will allow them to use their philanthropic capital to leverage and unlock private capital, so that more beneficiaries can be positively impacted

Closing the event, Xynteo Founder and CEO Osvald Bjelland said: “The post COVID-19 world will be known as the Era of Collaboration. An era in which the private sector moved towards enabling social and environmental impact; NGOs adopted systemic interventions and embraced commercial partnerships; social enterprises and innovators moved beyond pilots towards commercially scalable models; and governments created enabling environments for all stakeholders.”