Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Equal Innovation Consulting (EIC) and its team collaborates with governments, companies, startups, universities and accelerators to help commercialize research, promote innovation, support entrepreneurs and scale up ideas into mature organizations. Its conducts research and provides innovative analytical insights and programs to assist organizations in these areas.
Startup Accelerator: Planning and Management
A consortium of academic institutions, research labs and venture funds were looking to set up several regionally connected startup accelerators that combined education, accelerator programs and seed funding.
EIC worked with the consortium to design and implement all components of the program. We have educated the consortium about global trends in entrepreneurship and conducted research to identify which entrepreneurship and accelerator model is best suited to the client’s region.
Moving forward, we launch and manage multiple accelerators and social innovation projects across the region for the consortium. With EIC's help, the accelerator launch has moved quicker than with larger, better-known consultants.
A leading regional accelerator program in the United States was seeking to connect with policy makers and the media in order to share its story and provide thought leadership around entrepreneurship in smaller cities.
Equal Innovation Consulting worked with the accelerator to connect to senior officials of the Obama Administration, and leading members of the U.S. House and Senate. It also organized visits by senior political appointees, venture capitalists and policy makers to the region.
Due to the work by EIC, the region is much better known as a hub for entrepreneurship, and a model for spurring entrepreneurship away from the coasts.
A large, East-Coast foundation was looking to spur economic
development in a small Northeast City crippled by the loss of
EIC designed, organized and launched the initiative with
the foundation by sourcing the non-profits that the foundation
would fund, the universities that the foundation would partner
with, and the leadership programs that the foundation would
run to train small business owners, non-profits and entrepreneurs.
The project is now used a national model by the U.S. government
and some of the country’s largest accelerator’s and non-profits
for revitalizing America’s industrial cities.
Economic Development through Innovation & Entrepreneurship
A large foundation was looking to boost social innovation in the developing world by bringing the best practices of Silicon Valley to spur innovation and scale startups and NGOs.
We helped the foundation to design, organize and implement the strategy, which resulted in the funding of over 50 NGOs from around the world, leadership programs for over 1000 people, and accelerators for non-profit and for-profit startups.
The model is widely recognized as the best model in the world to spur innovation and entrepreneurship for economic growth and societal benefit.
A U.S. Cabinet Secretary was seeking to create a federal program that spurred innovation commercialization at universities and research labs around the United States – particularly in economically distressed areas.
We worked to design and implement the program, which provided guidance to universities about the best practices for innovation and research commercialization, and seed grants to launch commercialization proof of concept centers.
The program has become a cornerstone of US federal programs to support entrepreneurship.
Corporate Innovation & Accelerators
A multi-national supply chain and logistics company was seeking to launch a startup accelerator but had no experience with innovation, product development or startups.
Equal Innovation Consulting has been working with the company to design and implement all components of the program. We have educated the company about other corporate accelerators and conducted research to identify which accelerator model is best suited to the company’s culture and business.
The company plans to launch the accelerator in collaboration with Equal Innovation Consulting.
A popular U.S.-based crowdfunding site was looking
to expand to an emerging market where there was a
large market for its products. It needed financial assistance
and access to a variety of people and organizations.
We organized seed funding for the site and connected
its leadership with key officials in the central bank,
government and investment partners.
The site now has a thriving e-commerce business
in the largest market for its products in the world.
A leading American research university was seeking to replicate the entrepreneurship and proof of concept centers at MIT and increase the number of startups spinning out of the university.
We created programs for them that replicated best practices in proof of concept commercialization – for a university of their level of research. We created a platform for all faculty to participate, a stable of mentors and advisors to work with the researchers, and brought investors to look at the innovations and technologies being developed on campus.
The university has tripled the number of startups receiving private capital over the last two years.
Base of the Pyramid Innovation
An innovative technology for supply chain and logistics management for the developing world was looking for ways to beta-test, and then launch its products.
We organized funding for the startup, assisted it with legal and administrative part of setting up the company, and identified collaboration partners in several development countries.
The company has now scaled to work in seven countries worldwide. It works with multilateral funding agencies of the United Nations and has raised private capital from leading venture capitalists.
A leading impact investor was seeking assistance to create IT and BPO centers in Tier II and Tier III cities in India. The investor wanted to create back-office IT jobs outside of the larger metropolitan areas.
We worked closely with the company to identify entrepreneurs and managers who could lead the effort in one of India’s Tier II cities, and designed training programs for them to find staff.
The company has grown steadily since then.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) & Philanthropy
We work with companies, universities and foundations to design and implement their corporate social responsibility and philanthropy programs. We have helped foundations identify their objectives and goals, design programs, and often, implement them for the companies and foundations until they are in a position to manage themselves.
Innovation through CSR and philanthropy
A leading corporate foundation was looking to transform its CSR programming to ensure that the NGOs in its grant portfolio achieve scale and impact millions of Indian children.
We worked closely with the corporate foundation and the NGO to support innovation within the NGO, and to identify the programs that were most suited to scale. We further helped the NGO to connect to the stakeholders it needs to scale up its programs, including donors and government officials. We also worked closely with the corporate foundation to utilize its executives, employees and corporate locations across India to assist the NGO.
The NGO is now one of India’s largest education NGOs in terms of reach and impact.
A leading global NGO was seeking growth capital to build its organizational infrastructure, develop its global fundraising capabilities and understand the issues it works on in greater depth.
We work closely with the organization to hire senior development professionals and create a strategy for global fundraising. In addition, we were integral to the NGO raising significant donations and grants abroad in its first year by organizing fundraising events and connecting to foundations.
The organization has developed the capacity to raise millions of dollars abroad annually from a variety of donors and is regarded as one of the best NGOs in the world.
CSR Strategy Development and Implementation
A Fortune 50 company was looking for ways
to leverage its products, technology and employees
to improve the performance of NGOs worldwide
Equal Innovation Consulting researched the technology tools currently
being used by NGOs in the developing world, and
identified which of the company’s products were
most useful. It then designed a training program for
the NGOs and the company, and managed the systems
integration of the technology products into the NGO
The tools are now widely used by most leading NGOs
in several countries where this company has a larger presence.
In 2014, India mandated that larger corporations must give 2% of net profits towards CSR and philanthropy. Most multinationals and Indian companies struggle with compliance.
EIC has created a series of reporting tools to spur compliance. These tools include reports on the best organizations to fund, to measure and evaluate grants, and to engage employees, vendors and stakeholders.
Companies are using the tools to improve the CSR programs.
One of the world’s best known impact investors was looking to launch an impact investment product for diaspora communities.
Equal Innovation Consulting is working with the fund to develop and implement a marketing plan to raise capital from the diaspora and to connect with social enterprises in the development world.
The product is currently the only fixed-income impact investment product that is available through retail channels.
Social Enterprise and Double-Bottom-Line Companies
A startup social enterprise was looking for mentorship and support in securing capital, customers and board members
We worked closely with the startup to craft its business plan, raise capital and recruit senior executives and board members.
In 2015, only a few years after launch, the company’s flagship product is available at two major American retailers.
Today, at leading American accelerator programs, roughly 20% of the startups are focused on solutions for the developing world. All of these startups need assistance to launch their products in the developing country they are targeting.
Equal Innovation Consulting has provided support to over 15 startups in this category. It provides them with business planning assistance to understand the nuances of being a startup in the developing world, or one with a social impact mission. EIC also works with them to connect them to potential investors or funders, customers and to recruit staff, advisors and board members.
Several of the startups mentored by Equal Innovation Consulting are now privately funded, have established offices and launched products in the developing world.
International development strategies
Despite the dedicated work of brilliant people and billions of dollars in aid, many problems in the developing world stubbornly refuse to go away. Billions of people are denied the opportunity to be productive due to a lack of quality education, health care of economic opportunities.
Years ago, we helped launch one of the most innovative programs for regional development – one that focused on innovation to find new solutions and business models for agriculture, health, education, water, sanitation and the environment. This was tied to building the capacity of the non-profit and startup sector, and scaling up the best performing ideas and leaders.
This approach, called the “Sandbox” has become one of the most closely watched international development projects.
One of the challenges facing NGOs in the developing world is the lack of local philanthropic organizations. Often, there are no funding intermediaries or community foundations that can raise money from local citizens for local causes.
In India, we participated in the launch of the United Way movement. We helped raise capital for the United Way to expand to India and launch an additional seven chapters in major Indian cities. The United Way plays the same role in India as in the United States and elsewhere – to raise capital from corporations, their employees and the general public to support local non-profits, and to provide thought leadership on the major issues of the day.
The United Way is today growing in membership across India to include the Fortune 500 and many of India’s largest companies.
Family Philanthropy Development
When high net worth families decide to engage in philanthropy, they often have trouble deciding where to start. While there are investment managers and law firms to help them organize the foundation, there is often no direction on the values or mission of the foundation.
EIC has recently worked with two families on the Forbes billionaire’s list to organize a strategy and set of values for their family foundation. We have furthermore worked with the families to determine the areas where they will focus their philanthropy, how they will manage grant making, foundation governance, and grantee relations.
Both foundations have now hired professional staff and begun grant-making.
Public Policy & Government Relations
A consortium of American universities is seeking to enter India to provide programs, degrees and continuing education. They require assistance from the U.S. government and the Government of India.
Equal Innovation Consulting is working closely with the consortium and the individual universities to achieve two goals. First, to identify the specific programs of the university that would be well-received in India, and to identify other intangible assets of the university – such as its model, the region in which its based or its unique history, that could be of value to India. Secondly, we are working with the U.S. and Indian governments to change policies that may prevent American universities from offering courses, degrees and programs to Indian students.
A consortium of American universities is looking for the U.S. government to provide more grant funding for research commercialization. In addition, the universities would like more flexibility on federal regulations to allow innovation to be privately capitalized.
Equal Innovation Consulting is working with the consortium to promote legislation to create a commercialization fund for federally-funded research. In addition, the legislation would allow researchers to use a small fraction of their funds for entrepreneurship and creating economic value.
The legislation has been introduced in Congress, but has not yet become law.