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Villgro Fellowship 2015

Deadline: Deadline: Always Open20-Apr-2015
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AwardStipend, Accommodation, Travel, Learning Opportunity
Eligibility3 to 7 years Experience Young Professioanls
RegionAll India
Scholarship provider contact details

Head Office:

3rd Floor, IIT Madras Research Park, Kanagam Road, Taramani,
(Behind Tidel Park, on Old Mahabalipuram Road),
Chennai - 600113.
+91-44- 66630400

Bangalore: 638, 7th Cross, 11th Main, Indirananagar, Bangalore - 560008

What is Villgro Fellowship 2015?

Do you want to be a catalyst for change? Do you want to use your skills to help others? Do you want to build businesses for the poor?

The Villgro Fellowship gives you a unique opportunity to get started. We are looking for skilled professionals to work closely with social entrepreneurs who are building businesses for the poor. The Fellowship allows you to immerse yourself in a social enterprise and go through a leadership training program that exposes you to thought leaders, entrepreneurs and academics in the field to support your professional and personal growth.

How does a Fellow contribute to a social enterprise?

Social entrepreneurs use the power of innovative ideas - such as bee-keeping that increases farm yield or cost-effective anaemia testing machines that prevent maternal mortality - to change the world for the better. These social enterprises often face a shortage of talent in important areas like business development, product design, operations, finance, marketing among others.

After a month of training and induction, the Villgro Fellow will join one of Villgro's portfolio companies as a team member. You will work directly with the entrepreneur, get immersed in the day-to-day activities of building the business and gain first-hand exposure on addressing the needs of the poor.

Who can apply for this scholarship ?

Through our application and interview process, we assess our applicants' attributes and qualities.

Here is what we look for in our Fellows:

  • Work experience of at least three years in one or more of these functional areas: business development, sales, operations, finance, product design, marketing.
  • Passion and commitment to apply skills and knowledge to create social impact.
  • Curiosity to explore and understand social enterprise.
  • Experience with leadership and management functions.

How can you apply ?

The selection process for the Villgro Fellowship is highly competitive. Our Fellows come from diverse backgrounds but share a passion to apply their expertise to create social change.

Applicants progress through three application stages with eliminations after each phase. By the end of the selection process, we aim to select 10 Fellows. The 2015 Villgro Fellows will begin their Fellowship in July 2015 and continue until June 2016.

Step 1: Submit the application online

You can apply to the Villgro Fellowship through our online application. Our application form asks you to provide your personal information and a short background summary, and three references. To understand you better, we ask you to provide answers to some essay questions that will help you showcase your strengths, passion and commitment to the programme as well as your weaknesses.

At this stage, we ask you to indicate your interests in different sectors that Villgro's entrepreneurs work in. We also ask you to specify your work experience and functional expertise.

Please note that you will be able to log in and save your application at every stage. We do not accept offline applications.

Step 2: Telephone Interview

After reviewing your applications carefully, we will create our first shortlist. Roughly a quarter of applicants make it through to this stage.

All those shortlisted will be invited to a telephonic interview. This interview will help us understand you better and help us match you to a role that will suit your skills, interest and passion.

Step 3: Personal Interview

At this final stage, we will now shortlist applicants for specific roles and invite you to interview with us in person or via Skype. This interview will focus on the specific role you are being considered for. We will help you understand the role and the social enterprise and in turn assess your skills and abilities to fit into the role.

Step 4: References

We will have conversations with your referees to better understand your previous achievements and experience. Please make sure you list referees who know you well and whose contact details have been verified. We require both email addresses and telephone/mobile contact details of your references.

Step 5: Final Selection and Offer letters

Based on the above assessment, we will select the Fellowship cohort 2015.


Can I apply even if I have less than three years of work experience?

We have found that those with less than three years of full-time work experience often do not have the skills and experience required to handle the demands of early-stage startups.

Will part-time or internship experience count towards work experience?

While we value such experience, part time work or internships will count only once you clear the minimum requirement of three years full-time work experience that we look for.

Are you looking for individuals only with those specific functional areas mentioned on the selection page?

We are looking for skilled and committed individuals with strong business experience. The areas we have mentioned under our criteria such as, operations, finance, marketing, sales, HR, and design are functional areas that an enterprise typically requires support in. However, if you have substantive experience in other areas, please do not hesitate to apply. If your skills and interests match what one of our enterprises or programs need, we would be happy to accept you.

Is the program open to only Indian citizens or do you welcome foreign applicants?

Villgro seeks Fellows who will bring diverse backgrounds and experience to create a dynamic team environment. While our preference is for Indian applicants and applicants of Indian origin, in keeping with the mission of the fellowship program, we welcome applicants of other nationalities. We are prepared to do what is possible and reasonable, within the guidelines of Indian law, to address Fellows' visa and immigration needs in order to ensure that we include the most promising future leaders. Villgro Fellows must, however, be reasonably fluent in English.

Is this a good way to gain a first immersion abroad?

The most successful Villgro Fellows have already spent a certain amount of time abroad in developing or emerging economies when they begin their fellowship. As this is a deep immersion experience, cultural comfort and adaptability are key to a fellow's positive experience. Prior experience generally leads to a fellow having an easier time adjusting to cultural differences and diving right into the work. For first-hand accounts of life in the field, the Fellows blog would be a good place to start.

Is there an age or education requirement for the program?

There is no specific age or degree requirement for the program. However, we typically seek individuals with 3-7 years of work experience.

Will the stipend be sufficient to cover accommodation and expenses?

Villgro provides Fellows with a stipend that covers reasonable monthly living costs for the duration of the year- long program. The stipend is designed to cover only the costs typically associated with, and incurred during, the program. You should not expect to save any money during this year or to have money left over to cover previous expenses (e.g. repay student loans). During the induction program in Chennai, Fellows will be provided with housing. Stipend amounts are designed to cover the basic costs associated with safe yet frugal living.

Can I participate for fewer than 12 months?

No. Both Villgro and its incubatees feel strongly that an assignment of at least 10 months is required for both the Fellow and the enterprise to have a substantive engagement.

What is the mission of the Villgro Fellowship?

The mission of the Villgro Fellowship is to build a pipeline of leaders for the social enterprise sector in India. We expect our Fellows to combine their skills with their passion and commitment to create solutions to poverty while filling a critical talent gap in young social enterprises in India.

How is the Fellowship program structured?

Villgro's year-long fellowship will begin in mid-June with four weeks of intensive multidisciplinary induction and training, both online and at our Chennai headquarters. This will serve as an orientaion into social enterprise as a concept and expose you to business models in the sector. Training will explore issues related to our investment sectors and target demographics. Following induction, Fellows begin their 11-month field placements with our incubatee companies. Each Fellow is assigned to a role where they support senior management in tackling critical business issues — market expansion, business plan refinement, supply chain improvements, or even leading a new business initiative. Over the months, Fellows learn and apply skills while enjoying an unusual level of responsibility. Fellows also convene for two Leadership Development workshops, a week-long each, to reconnect, share lessons, and support each other in navigating challenges in the field. At the end of field assignment, the Fellows return to Chennai for a week in July for an off-boarding program to share experiences and lessons learned, and to focus on their next steps.

I have limited access to the Internet. Can you mail me an application or can I download a copy off your website? Instead of using your format, may I mail you my own format?

No, you must submit your application using our online application form. You can save the application form at every stage; this will allow you the flexibility to prepare your answers and fill them out carefully. We will not accept or review any other documents in lieu of the online application.

Terms and Conditions

What the Fellowship offers you

  • An opportunity to work closely with a social entrepreneur and learn how to build a business to address the needs of the poor.
  • A year round leadership development program where you engage with leading experts and thought leaders
  • A stipend of Rs. 25000
  • A Mentor from within Villgro’s network to support your professional growth
  • Access to some of the premier social enterprise conferences in India
  • A community of like-minded Fellows and social entrepreneurs, including the Villgro Fellows network of 43 alumni working all over the world

Important Dates:

  • March 4, 2015: Applications open
  • April 12, 2015: Applications close
  • April 16, 2015: First shortlist announced
  • May 5th, 2015: Second shortlist announced
  • May 14th, 2015: Final offers made
  • June 22, 2015: Villgro Fellows 2015-16 begin Induction


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