Livelihood Equity Connect (LEC)
Adarsh Kumar 2008 fellow
Enable businesses owned by or employing low-income producers to become commercially successful companies through the creation of a venture capital fund that will invest in these micro-entrepreneurs.
After growing up in India, Adarsh came to Washington, D.C. to pursue undergraduate study in Economics at Georgetown University. After graduating, he returned to India to work on development issues and eventually had the opportunity to lead the integrated rural development program of Urmul in 13 villages in Rajasthan. This project was his first experience living in rural India, and he still cites it as something that guided him down his current path.
After completing his studies at the Kennedy School of Government, Adarsh returned to India once again in 2000. It was then he noticed that certified trademarks like Australian wool and Italian glass were fetching top dollar in their respective home countries, while the products of incredibly skilled Indian craftsmen were severely undervalued. In response, Adarsh` founded the All India Artisans and Craftworkers Association (AIACA) to increase market access and enhance incomes of craft producers in India. AIACA worked to bring leading citizen organizations (COs) and private businesses together to tackle systemic constraints in the crafts sector, and through a collaboration with FabIndia, Adarsh helped conceptualize a model to help craft producer groups develop new product lines, connect to bulk buyers, and scale up through outside equity investments.
Over the last two years at AIACA, Adarsh has been developing and field testing the concepts that are at the foundation of LEC. Starting in December 2009, he has transitioned over to LEC and is working on it full-time.