Soros, Omidyar, Google.org set up India venture

MUMBAI Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:36am EST

George Soros, founder of the Open Society Institute, listens to a questin following his keynote address at the InterAction 2007 forum in Washington, April 18, 2007. The philanthropic units of billionaire investor Soros and Google have put $17 million into a venture with the Omidyar network to fund small and medium enterprises in India, they said in a statement. REUTERS/Jason Reed

George Soros, founder of the Open Society Institute, listens to a questin following his keynote address at the InterAction 2007 forum in Washington, April 18, 2007. The philanthropic units of billionaire investor Soros and Google have put $17 million into a venture with the Omidyar network to fund small and medium enterprises in India, they said in a statement.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The philanthropic units of billionaire investor George Soros and Google have put $17 million into a venture with the Omidyar network to fund small and medium enterprises in India, they said in a statement.

The Soros Economic Development Fund, the Omidyar Network and Google.org said the venture would make investments of between $500,000 and $3.5 million in small and medium businesses in India that lacked access to formal funding options.

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

The company's investment adviser will be located at the Indian School of Business in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.

The Soros Economic Development Fund is a part of Soros' charitable foundations, and the Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm of the founders of eBay.

Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google Inc, focuses on areas such as alternative energy and climate change.

(Reporting by Rina Chandran; Editing by John Mair)

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