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MyRain's Momentum

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drip3.jpgBY JUSTIN MILLER

The MyRain train just keeps on rolling. A couple of weeks ago the Acara Challenge start-up was featured in Bloomberg Businessweek. Now the team has been named to the Fall 2013 Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI) online cohort at Santa Clara University Center for Science, Technology, and Society.
The program focuses on supporting start-ups that are already working in the trenches to put together a more formal business plan with an emphasis on strategy, planning and financials. The online program will help small businesses like MyRain further develop their business plans, refine their "elevator pitch" and, most of all, make the business idea something that is attractive to investors.

MyRain is a business that supplies drip irrigation to rural farmers in India. Co-founder and University of Minnesota alum Steele Lorenz has high hopes the GSBI program, which launches in October, will help double the business's dealer networks while helping to crystalize future expansion plans.

Steele_on_Field.jpg"It's a fantastic platform for social businesses with proven market value to work on scaling impact and operations. MyRain has demonstrated a strong need for our business in south India, and we are now gearing up for expansion beyond Tamil Nadu," says Lorenz.

Each of the 15 organizations accepted into the GSBI program will be teamed up with a Silicon Valley executive mentor and a local mentor. Through this mentoring, GSBI can create a learning experience that combines the value of a venture capital expert and a locally sourced expert. For MyRain, that could mean being teamed up with a Silicon Valley investment guru and an agribusiness expert in Madurai, India, where MyRain is currently operating.

The outlook for MyRain is certainly strong. Beyond the recent publicity and acceptance into the GSBI program, Lorenz has seen strong results on the ground over the past year. "We delivered one ton of drip laterals this month and are poised to significantly increase that rate every month for the coming years," says Lorenz. "It's incredibly rewarding to help small plot farmers become more profitable‚Ä® in their lands and more efficient with their resources."‚Ä®

Justin Miller is the student communications assistant for the Institute on the Environment. Photos of a drip irrigation field and Steele Lorenz courtesy of MyRain.

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