Why am I fundraising?
I am fund raising to launch the six enterprises I have been incubating for the past 4 years. These are social enterprises headed by social entrepreneurs whom I am incubating. These entrepreneurs will float a social enterprise of their calling specifically in the field of connecting People to Plants. Each of these entrepreneurs are being made to explore within themselves what they truly are passionate about and how their passions could green the planet more in an enterprise mode. Following are the enterprises that are being incubated:
1. City Conservancy - An enterprise that aims to convert cities into Living Herbariums through
a) Urban Mali Network: Here Malis in the city are empowered to take on projects marketed for and won by City Conservancy (CC). They are made to sign an MoU with CC stating that they would use only native plants and will not use any exotics or chemical pesticides for plants. Malis get to earn twice the amount they used to earn and City Conservancy gets 10-15 projects in a month.
b) Empowering Garden Designs for larger campuses other than individual homes that uses only native and naturalised plants of each region, all the while bringing to people entertaining, informative values of these plants.
c) Sustainable Land Care Course that help to make Botany and Science graduate students open their minds to the possibility of becoming change agents who connect people to plants through social enterprise framework.
2. Growing In Nature (GRIN) - An enterprise that enables adults such as parents and educators to ensure that children aged between 8-14 are out in nature, bonding with it and getting immersed in it. GRIN enables facilitators to become GRIN facilitators who can in turn take on projects to enable bonding for children as well as train more facilitators. GRIN is also engaged in documenting impact and changes happening due to the intervention of GRIN in children's lives. This is hoped to go a long way in enabling policy change in education and curriculum, at a much later date at the government level.
3. Horticultural Therapy - A social enterprise that offers palliative care to patients from different backgrounds with varying issues. Three therapists have grown to take up projects of consulting and training other therapists on their own. These are small towners who have grown to become confident social entrepreneurs in a city like Bangalore. They have been chosen specially for the enterprise as they are more aware of plants and trees and more empathetic to patients than city bred people with similar background of qualification.
4. CityZen Farming - An enterprise that enables the urban citizen to become a Smart Urban Farmer using Natural Farming Techniques as propagated by Shri Subhash Palekar. The initiative also helps to set up food forests for urban farmers who have large tracts of land. Agri diploma holders are taken on as supervisors to manage such farms. In the process they learn to become social entrepreneurs themselves who will enable more of such ventures across the country.
An aspirant interested in music and conservation, now floats an enterprise where he creates music while communities are engaged in making seedballs. Another event is then planned where the seedballs made, get scattered for afforestation purposes in the dry regions of Chintamani. This is a very simple service offering that is however hugely appealing as it involves emotional bonding with music and making of seedballs where participants touch and feel soil. Scattering is a fun activity for most urban folks as it is done outdoors and the nobility attached to afforestation is infectious. Learning about native trees and plants during both kinds of events is automatic, deep and effortless. TerraTaala would work with volunteers interested in music and conservation and would enable these volunteers also to set up their service offerings in a similar manner, thus making more and more entrepreneurs who can help in conservation practices in the true and applicable sense. Documentation of the impact of scattered seedballs and impact on people who participate in such events would be recorded to show the final impact of creation of organisations like TerraTaala.6. Punarpoosam Health Care:
A Naturopath Doctor is the entrepreneur for this initiative. He wishes to use Naturopathy to make people change into healthier lifestyles. He is at present experimenting with conducting courses and workshops for doctors, civilians and patients. He would soon launch into another initiative involving people from poorer sectors who will become brand ambassadors for Yoga and Eating to Live.
Each of these social entrepreneurs would draw to themselves more social enterprise aspirants who have similar passions as themselves. They would mentor them and show by example how they could carry on similar business initiatives. This fractal would then grow into bigger fractals. Small returns for each parent fractal from the child fractal would create deep interest in such ventures, making it financially viable while making it a green movement.
At ArtyPlantz, we are different in the following manner:
1) We are engaged in breaking down barriers within each aspirant of social enterprise that stop the person from taking up being a leader for herself and for her society. Social enterprise is not just about a great green idea!
2) We are engaged in solving direct pain points for customers. We are not engaged in offering solutions that seem appealing to us primarily. We innovate to bring about solutions that remove pain points in the easiest and most appealing manner.
3) We are engaged in making a person take up an enterprise that follows their passion and yet connects people to plants. Hence ownership for the enterprise is absolutely safe-guarded.
4) We hand hold the entrepreneurs until they succeed financially and have a holistic and robust blue print for business offerings.
The main Social Problem ArtyPlantz is trying to solve:
We are all aware of the huge issues related to global warming. The only solution to all ills of global warming is greening of the planet. Greening cannot happen if minds are distanced from nature and specifically from trees and plants on the planet.
Other problems ArtyPlantz wishes to solve:
1) Every human being is potentially a change inducing social entrepreneur. But seldom does each person realise that. If sometimes a person is encourgaed to become an entpreneur seldom do they become a socially or environmentally sensitised entrepreneurs.
2) Most people work only for economic benefits and they will seldom have passion to anchor a movement within society for the better. Only those with passion and whose passion is a part of their daily work, will sustain an enterprise or movement and pass it along to others as well. But this rarely happens!
3) Some movements, activism or enterprises are conceived with good intentions but are not tailor-made to create a following from the masses. This is because they do not address pain points of customers directly.
ArtyPlantz was therefore started to solve these four problems. It has been conceived to create a multiplicity effect of inducing change of healing lands and minds by incubating social entrepreneurs who took up to drive innovative enterprises that would in turn create more social entrepreneurs.
My spread strategy is this: I would create viable and sustainable green businesses that bring awareness to the public about plants in such a manner, that each business house would in turn create more such business homes. Every entrepreneur would create multiple entrepreneurs.
In 10 years time, ArtyPlantz would have created at least 20 social entrepreneurs who would have in turn created 150 to 300 entrepreneurs like themselves at a minimum level.To do this, I have so far invested my own money. I would need money for 3 more years after which the incubated busniess houses will start paying me back. I have to enable these entrepreneurs until then and I need working capital to do the same. While I can pay monthly returns on loan, I no longer have bigger funds to invest in very important milestones like marketing right now. I have tried banks and other lending institutions. All of them seek collaterals of charge very high interest. Spreading the word about ourselves is very important. We need to invest big time in Cause Marketing and documenting our work for furture legacy.
What do I plan to do with the funds?
In a sense, every initiative is sustainable at the present moment. We are earning to pay our expenses but the momentum rests solely on the effort and money we can afford to invest. Empowering Garden Designs bring in more revenue and helps to sustain other smaller initiatives, though with scaling up, each of the initiatives would be able to stand on its own. When such a momentum is reached, all initiatives will be spun off as separate social enterprises. It is to be noted that every initiative is being planned to be spun off in ways by which scalability and replicability are taken care of with diligence and innovative thinking. The idea is to spread the goodness instead of being looked upon as just pioneers.
With the present momentum we could build the organization to reach its peak in slower measures. If there were some funds available, the effort that we could put in for marketing and readying some infrastructure would propel the businesses into the orbit faster. Following are some of the strategies we know could do this:
- Conduct all marketing on a Cause Marketing Basis
- Build brand through relationship marketing
- Set up evangelists with identities like branding uniforms and kits
- Market our services through online and offline forums
- Perform online – content marketing, online marketing, videos, audios and digital marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, mobile marketing
- Perform offline – Create high quality brochures and collaterals
- Create alliance partners
- Employ Telemarketing people
- Employ one more architect, botanist, event manager, agriculture expert, financial manager, Naturopathy doctors and 2 executive assistants.
- Set up a proper marketing team – diverse group, in India and UAE and in a few years in SE Asian countries as well. (We chose UAE as it is one of the most unsustainable regions in the world.)
- Conduct events and campaigns on a regular basis, as promotional events
- Participate in international landscape architecture and healthcare trade shows
- Set up model gardens/kits/farms for people to understand the value we bring to the table
- Register with forums like TiE, WEConnect, Health Forums and eMERGE to be able to connect to corporate offices better
- Buy more licensed software of ZW CAD (for 5 users) and Practo
- Buy more licensed version of Photoshop, Coreldraw, 3D max and Illustrator
- We use hired furniture and computers now, which is drawing up our finances steadily over the last 3 years. So, strategise to buy computers and furniture for at least 10 people.
- Buy good books and periodicals to keep up with latest trends.
1. How would you pay back your monthly return of loan?Each initiative is engaged in doing projects even during the incubation stage. The earnings from such projects is sufficient to pay back monthly instalments.
2. Do you have any collaterals?