Nilima’s high energy pushes her to do extraordinary work, challenging the status quo and charting new paths.
She is a very useful leader in projects and initiatives which require fresh thinking and bold execution.
— Paul Basil, Founder of Villgro Innovations Foundation
 

I have spent the last decade on the cutting edge of the social enterprise movement:

  • I have innovated in the trenches of entrepreneurship - I founded a social venture in India (ranked as the #1 most difficult country in which to do business!) that has brought transformative gender and sexuality education to 15,000 classrooms across the country.
  • I have built programs that re-design social entrepreneurship - I conceptualized and ran a seed stage incubation program for social entrepreneurs, which had a 75% success rate in ventures' raising seed capital, and formed the basis for all future methodology at the incubator.
  • I deeply understand business and market dynamics - I developed 15+ MBA case studies for Kellogg School of Management and Ross School of Business.
  • And finally, I have spent time interviewing hundreds of marginalized people in 4 languages, and putting the "human" back into human-centered design.

Through my work, one thing has become abundantly clear: we must re-design every sector in existence, starting with those that matter the most: education, food systems, transportation systems, and more. Here's more on my methodology.


founder, Iesha Learning

Pioneered India's first and only private provider of comprehensive adolescent sexuality and gender education.

Changed core behaviors of pre-teens across low and high income schools on topics such as consent, through a fun, positive, taboo-free, and interactive course on puberty, sex, and gender.

Used technology for standardization and scale: Any teacher or facilitator can run the course with minimal training.

Piloted multiple business models, incl. selling to ed-tech companies, schools, parents, and NGOs.

Soon available in 15,000 classrooms through our partner Tata Class Edge. Content under evaluation for Indian national sex ed curriculum, Ministry of Health. Adopted by leading sexual rights NGO Pathfinder International.

TABOO-BREAKING SEX EDUCATION REACHING 15,000 CLASSROOMS ACROSS INDIA

Before, I used to think that I should get the girl at any cost, by forcing her or doing anything. But after you taught us, my mind changed completely. Now if a girl says “no,” I will not feel sad, and I will not force her. I will accept it and move on.
— 13-year-old boy, Mumbai
 

case writer for ross/kellogg

Developed full-length business case studies for top-tier MBA programs, including research, interfacing with top company executives and leading business professors, and writing and publishing cases, for Ross School of Business and Kellogg School of Management.

Specialized in emerging markets, financial technology, and social enterprise cases. 

Winner of 2015 EFMD International Case Writing Competition in African Business Cases Category, for M-Changa case featured on Harvard Business Review. 

15+ MBA CASE STUDIES DEVELOPED FOR TOP-TIER PROGRAMS 

WINNER OF 2015 EFMD INTERNATIONAL CASE WRITING COMPETITION, €2,000 PRIZE

 

program director, indiafrica 

Built and directed week-long IndiAfrica Young Visionary bootcamp, sponsored by the Government of India, for the top 20 entrepreneurs from India and Africa.

Developed programming and secured top CEOs and investors as speakers, including the CEO of e-commerce platform Jabong, Managing Editor of Business Today, the High Commissioner of Rwanda, and Founder of tech accelerator GSF and Indian Angel Network. 

Resulted in four business collaborations between Indian and African entrepreneurs.

CREATED AND RAN BOOTCAMP FOR TOP 20 AFRICAN AND INDIAN ENTREPRENEURS

 

CO-FOUNDER, NATIONAL CONVENING ON MENSTRUATION

Co-founded, organized, and ran first annual national event Bejhijhak 2014, Global Menstrual Hygiene Day, a convening of multi-lateral agencies (e.g. UNICEF, World Bank, Water Aid), government officials, corporations (e.g. Johnson and Johnson), and NGOs (e.g. Azadi, PATH, WASH United) to discuss menstruation education and hygiene in India. 

Organizer and facilitator of half-day Consultation with 40 top experts in the field of menstrual hygiene management.

CONVENED 40+ INDUSTRY LEADERS INCL. WORLD BANK, UNICEF, JOHNSON & JOHNSON

 

Executive producer, seed

Conceptualized and led SEED, the first structured incubation program for social entrepreneurs at Villgro Innovations Foundation, India's oldest social enterprise incubator.

Accelerated 11 high-potential social enterprises across education, agriculture, technology, financial inclusion, and livelihoods; 75% of SEED enterprises raised funding.

Secured $150,000 in funding from Rockefeller Foundation.

Built selection process, program methodology (Business Model Canvas, design thinking, Lean Startup).

Recruited seasoned mentors and ex-CEOs to donate 2 hours/week for 8 months to mentor SEED ventures.

Secured multi-year partnerships with impact investors in India (e.g. Unitus Seed Fund, Accion Venture Lab) and global social enterprise leaders (IDEO, Intuit, D-REV). Partner Global Social Benefit Incubator at Santa Clara University sent Silicon Valley CEOs to India as mentors.

SEED formed the basis for all future incubation programming at Villgro.

75% OF SOCIAL VENTURES RAISED FUNDING AFTER SEED

SEED far exceeded our expectations. The mentorship was extremely hands-on, thoughtful, and very high touch. Going into SEED, one issue was that we had an extremely long sales cycle. With our mentor, we were able to reduce it from several months to less than a week.
— SEED participant, Kavita Nehemiah from Artoo
 

EDITOR AND WRITER, NEXTBILLION

Frequent contributor and editor of NextBillion, the leading global social enterprise forum and thought leader, receiving more than 45,000 unique visitors per month.  

Founded, judged, and served as chief editor of international Nextbilion Case Writing Competition, now held annually.

Authored most-read articles of Nov 2010, Feb 2013, and June 2013.

AUTHORED 45+ THOUGHT PIECES ON SOCIAL INNOVATION

 

Kiva fellow in bolivia

1 of 25 Kiva Fellows (selected from 150 applicants) sent independently to microfinance institutions across the world.

Trained six branches of host microfinance institution on process improvements for interfacing with Kiva, in Spanish.

Conducted hundreds of borrower interviews  in Spanish.

Received positive feedback on "journal updates," sent to up to 50,000 Kiva lenders.

RANKED #1 OF FELLOWS COHORT IN LENDER ENGAGEMENT

RANKED #2 OF FELLOWS COHORT IN VOLUME OF INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED

Nilima demonstrated superb leadership, emotional maturity, and an impressive sensitivity to the culture in which she was immersed, which allowed her to skillfully implement long-lasting process improvements that were integral to her host organization’s success with Kiva.

Nilima’s communication pieces were among the best in her cohort - Nilima received the highest number of both recommendations and comments of any Kiva Fellow at that time: she earned over 2,000 journal recommendations - 1,000 more than the second-ranked Fellow.
— Michelle Kreger, former manager of Kiva's portfolio in the Americas