Financial social innovation to engage the economically marginalized: insights from an Indian case study

Punita Bhatt, Ali J. Ahmad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


New sources of finance within the label of ‘impact investing’ have emerged as mechanisms to promote entrepreneurship within marginalized communities. Different vehicles for impact investment have emerged over the years; however, our understanding around their emergence, configuration and adoption is limited. Hence, the main purpose in this research is to study the role of the contextual drivers and conditions that gave rise to a unique form of impact investment in India, a financial social innovation–developmental venture capital (DVC). Through the lens of capital theories, insights from the case of India’s largest and oldest DVC firm along with three of its most prominent investees are presented. Findings highlight that the social entrepreneurs behind the case DVC wholly re-conceptualized silicon valley-style venture capital financing to suit small brick and mortar investments in rural India, developed mechanisms for deploying funding frugally, and created partnerships of equals between themselves and their investees. Investee founders leveraged human and social capital throughout the social innovation process via deep immersion in the socio-cultural milieu of India.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-413
Number of pages23
JournalEntrepreneurship and Regional Development
Issue number5-6
Early online date7 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2017


  • India
  • rural
  • social enterprise
  • social impact investment
  • Social innovation


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