Intl. Conf. on Social Entrepreneurship in India – Day 2

Day 2

The second day started off by getting down to business immediately. Madhav Chavan of Pratham was the first speaker and his mandate was to enlighten the gathering on “How to scale up an organization?”. It really was a treat listening to him. During the course of his talk, he touched upon many other topics related to Social Entrepreneurship. Pratham, as Mr Chavan confessed, was a “monstrous” organization now, and there were special challenges that it faced in its functioning. He reminded us on how increase in scale led to decrease in quality and loss of efficiency. He also opined that scale is not necessarily something that every organization should aspire for. There are organizations that operate in niche sectors. The “one size fits all” policy cannot be applied when it comes to scaling up for social organizations because their scaling up depends on a number of factors that are unique to the organizations area and field of operations. Organizations need to mature by institutionalizing. However, this exercise should be followed without falling in the trap of bureaucracy.

Madhav Chavan photo credit Sonia Rai
Madhav Chavan photo credit Sonia Rai

Mr Chavan’s speech was invigorating and insightful at the same time.

His talk was followed by Open Space, a platform provided by the organizers for the participants to discuss topics of their interest. Participants were asked to suggest topics they wanted to be discussed and others could join any of the proposed forums. Some of the topics that emerged :

  • Cooperative health financing model – an alternative to conventional corporate insurance based health financing. 
  • Social venture philanthropy- Replicating successful business model in development Sector
  • Capital connect – an online marketplace dead end equity of social enterprises 
  • How do we get NGOs to collaborate with each other to deliver maximum impact to the community.
  • Realizing value by streamlining collaboration and communication.

It was an amazing sight to see groups ranging from 15 to 2 people (I was part  of such a 2 member group 🙂 ) discussing various topics in a shed or under a tree.

Open Space photo credit Sonia Rai
Open Space photo credit Sonia Rai
photo credit Sonia Rai
photo credit Sonia Rai

The final activity for the day was a session named “Future of Social Entrepreneurship – Meeting Young Heroes”. The session sought to put the participants face to face with three young and budding social entrepreneurs who made the choice to make a difference. The panelists were Ashok Rathod of Oscar, S Iyappan of Arunodayam and Anirban Gupta of Dhriiti. The discussion was moderated by Anshu Gupta of Goonj. The stories of all three panelists were inspiring and evoked a positive and laudatory response from the audience.

Ashok, with his innocent demeanor, went about explaining how he was able to instill confidence and inculcate values in a group of youngsters through the medium of sports (Football to be precise).  Anirban explained how Dhriiti started and gave information on the kind of work they were doing to promote Small Scale Industries.

Anshu Gupta, Ashok Rathod, Anirban Gupta photo credit A Mishra
Anshu Gupta, Ashok Rathod, Anirban Gupta     photo credit A Mishra

S Iyappan’s effort was heart rendering and commendable. After going through a tragic personal loss, he took up the task of creating a home for children who either mentally retarded or spastic and abandoned by their family. Iyappan’s determined efforts in the face of prevailing attitudes towards such children paid dividends in the form of better facilities for the children at Sri Arunodayam and increased sensitivity in people about such issues.

The conference ended on a positive note with everyone present exuding confidence in the prospects of social development sector in India.

My personal feelings: I was inspired and confident. I was inspired because there were so many young people who had made a conscious choice to work in the development sector and, belying their age, had showed a level of maturity befitting senior level executives. I was confident because there is a growing tribe of such social entrepreneurs in our country who will try their best to ensure that the development in our country is holistic and inclusive.

As mentioned earlier, in subsequent posts, we will follow up with people and organizations we came in contact with. We will also carry posts on some topics that were discussed during the conference. Congrats to the conference organizers for a job well done.

photo credit A Mishra
photo credit A Mishra
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