Social Business Learning and Innovation Fund (SBLIF)

Social Business Learning and Innovation Fund (SBLIF) has been created to encourage innovative enterprises to undertake social businesses. SBLIF intends to support Social business models through learning by doing approach on a pilot basis. Successful and tested models can gradually be scaled up and replicated. The proposed modes of funding these social businesses include: project financing, equity financing, working capital financing, joint‐venture or 100% Grameen Telecom Trust (GTT) ownership etc.


Under social business model, innovation is not invention! Here, innovation rather refers to applying already existing knowledge and activities in a powerful and effective new way in terms of process improvement / technology, organization, product and/or market positioning etc. GTT considers those enterprises as innovative which take creative steps in benefiting its clients, with a social objective of broadening opportunities, for instance, through ensuring wage employment or increased income or offering affordable products and services. These entrepreneurial activities eventually improve socio‐economic condition of the target clients as a whole, following the principles of social business.


Projects and businesses that GTT looks forward to partnering with must strive for:

  • Economic innovation – financial / non‐financial provisioning to ensure range of benefits to the target group in terms of employment, income and improvement of quality of life;
  • Enterprise‐led innovation – creating employment of the target group through buy‐back on ‘best price’ and
    Social innovation ‐ provisioning for social benefits to specific segments of the target group.
  • The target group includes‐ poor, ultra poor, dalits, underprivileged ethnicities and minorities, economically and socially marginalized and disadvantaged people, single women headed households, micro entrepreneurs, unemployed youth etc.

Criteria for Social Business Project under SBLIF

> Projects must have a ‘key focus’. Such as:

  • Creation of market linkage to ensure impoverished producers / geographically and economically isolated communities get the “best price” for their products;
  • Revival or promotion of a potential industry/sector/value chain that will lead to employment generation through skill enhancement, design improvement, technological up‐gradation, new market access etc;
  • Promotion of national heritage (e.g. tourism, sports, events) and traditional products (e.g. food items, pottery, handloom products)through greater public awareness, new market opportunities (e.g. corporate gift / event items; Promotion and support of grassroots’ entrepreneurship (e.g. rural marketing of affordable products);
  • Promotion of climate change adaptation and mitigation mechanisms (e.g. introducing salinity and/or drought resistant crop varieties, drinking water supply in the salinated coastal areas, early warning mechanism to cope with disaster);
  • Addressing social issues (e.g. education, health, rights and empowerment), green energy (e.g. solar energy, bio‐gas energy) and business development services through access to training, market linkage, value chain analysis and value added financial services (e.g. micro‐insurance covering health, life and assets).

> Projects must be feasible and sustainable in terms of i) replication and/or scaling up; or at least ii) possibility of knowledge transfer into future social ventures.

>  Projects  must  be  environmentally  friendly  through  reduced  emission,  reduced  toxic  level,  energy  efficiency  and/or  waste  control  (e.g. eco‐toilet, improved cooking stoves) by product and process improvements;

> Projects should directly or indirectly benefit the disadvantaged or marginalized communities through financial and social inclusiveness.

SBLIF Projects of GTT at a Glance