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Tata Group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, along with a clutch of investors, has picked a minority stake in Grameen Capital India (GCI). According to a statement, Ratan Tata, along with Dempo Group chairman Shrinivas Dempo, former investment banking head at Credit Suisse Vikram Gandhi, and existing investors - Amit Patni and Arihant Patni, invested an undisclosed amount in GCI's social venture fund. GCI, started in 2007 as a social business providing investment advisory services to the impact sector, has facilitated more than $160 million of both equity and debt capital for social enterprises.
GCI is also in advanced discussions with two institutional investors to provide additional equity capital to the debt vehicle to meet its targeted initial raise of $10 million.
Royston Braganza, Chief Executive Officer, GCI said, "Traditional sources of debt, in many cases, are neither adequate, affordable nor timely, hence forcing social enterprises to end up using equity for working capital.
We hope that our debt vehicle will help, in some modest manner, attract attention and debt capital to the base of the pyramid." By using its own balance sheet as well as syndication, GCI's debt vehicle aims at providing timely infusion to capital for these enterprises to scale sustainably. The initial focus sectors will be financial inclusion, agriculture, affordable health and affordable education, stated a release here. In 2007, Grameen Capital was launched as as a joint venture between Grameen Foundation, Citicorp Finance and IFMR Trust while Amit Patni and Arihant Patni joined into the company by acquiring IFMR Trust's stake in In 2012 .
According to market estimates, there is almost a $ 200 billion gap in debt capital available to micro, small and medium enterprises in India.