The Status of Social Entrepreneurship in India

An INSEAD article reflecting on social entrepreneurship after the International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in India highlights some key challenges and trends for the field.  Some interesting points I picked up:

  • The legal, political, and social environment is important to social entrepreneurship.

A policy and regulatory framework within which social entrepreneurs can obtain status without compromising their objectives is also very important.

  • Space for collaboration is needed

“It would be good to have a collaborative network to be used among social entrepreneurs that enables them to share ideas and spread innovations, ideally linked to an academic institution interested in, and committed to, promoting awareness and creating knowledge and insight into the best functioning of social enterprises,” [Hans Wahl, executive director of INSEAD’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiative] adds.

  • The need for social entrepreneurship will grow in the next five to ten years

“Social entrepreneurship and social businesses will be mainstreamed substantially, so we will have many opting to follow the course of one or the other which will hopefully impact society positively.” (Devashri Mukherjee, director of Ashoka’s Venture Programme)

Beyond these predictions, Deval Sanghavi of Dasra points out that social entrepreneurship exists because the government has not been able to meet the needs of citizens.   Mr Sanghavi points out to INSEAD that “the government is very keen on promoting social entrepreneurship – not necessarily by funding it or by advising on it or enabling it. What they do do, is not disable it.”  In India, the ability to create social enterprises is not hindered by government (although, as pointed out, it is not helped either).

For further predictions on the field of social entrepreneurship in general, check out the countdown for the top trends at Change.org’s Social Entrepreneurship blog.

Advertisements

Intl. Conf. on Social Entrepreneurship in India – Day 1

I had the opportunity to attend the International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in India on the 4th and 5th of December. In this post I will try to narrate my experience at the conference. In the posts following this one, I will talk about people and organizations I got in touch with, and most importantly discuss some issues that came up for discussion during the conference.

photo credit Sonia Rai

photo credit Sonia Rai

The theme of the event – Inspiring|Connecting|Sharing – set the right expectations for the attendees and, to be sure, lived up to it. The event was organized by UnLtd India and Center for Social Initiative and Management(CSIM).

The conference was spread over two days and events were well planned to facilitate formal as well informal discussions and networking. It was eye-opening and engaging in many ways. Participants from almost all parts of India, and with interests ranging from micro-lending to rural tourism, attended.

Day 1

Proceedings were kicked off by Bert Cherian of Meta Results setting the tone with his humour and energy. The ball was set rolling by an interaction with Nachiket Mor of ICICI Foundation, facilitated by Neera Nundy of Dasra. Nachiket talked about his personal experiences that shaped up the path to his current position as President at ICICI Foundation. He narrated how people in rural areas are not exactly used to the apathy and standard of living prevalent in urban areas. He also talked about evolution of ICICI Foundation. Answering to a question, Nachiket questioned the value of experience as the only source of answers to problems. In his opinion, many a times a fresh look at things from a total outsider can give us out-of-box solutions. On a related note he said that the ability to pay or finance an initiative is not always a plus point. Many an innovative idea has come out in crunch times.

Nachiket Mor photo credit Sonia Rai

Nachiket Mor photo credit Sonia Rai

Nachiket was of the view that the term “Social Entrepreneurship” should not have been a groundbreaking term or concept at all. Enterprises should be socially conscious and socially motivated by default. Talking about scaling up organizations, he cited example of Starbucks which had to operate in centers which were poles apart in their culture.

As you have seen, Nachiket gave us some really interesting perspectives of social entrepreneurship.

Continue reading