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.

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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

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Photos from International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in India

International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in India Banner

International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in India Banner - photo credit A. Mishra

Bert Cherian of MetaWorks, the Master of Ceremonies for the event

Bert Cherian of Meta Results, the Master of Ceremonies for the event - photo credit Sonia Rai

Delegates at the conference [photo credit Sonia Rai]

Delegates at the conference - photo credit Sonia Rai

Nachiket Mor, President, ICICI Foundation [photo credit Sonia Rai]

Nachiket Mor, President, ICICI Foundation - photo credit Sonia Rai

More details about the conference, which took place Dec 4-5 in Chennai, are coming from Aishwarya. Stay tuned!