SMEs in India to be funded by Soros, Omidyar, initiative

Mumbai: Billionaire investor George Soros and Google have pooled in $17 million in a venture with the Omidyar Network that will fund small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India, according to a statement.

The tripartite venture will make investments ranging between $500,000 and $3.5 million in those small and medium businesses in India that lack access to formal funding options.

The Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment arm of the founders of eBay. The Soros Economic Development Fund is a part of Soros' charitable is the philanthropic arm of Google Inc., which focuses on developing renewable energy cheaper than coal, acceleration of commercialisation of plug-in vehicles, initiatives to predict and prevent emerging threats such as infectious diseases and climate change, and fuel the growth of small and medium enterprises.

The statement quoted Neal DeLaurentis, vice president of the Soros Economic Development Fund as saying, "Long ignored by commercial capital markets, small and medium businesses are an attractive investment opportunity as well as an engine for economic growth."

An investment adviser will be located at the Indian School of Business (ISB) in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.