Social entrepreneurs, often referred as the, “Agents of Change” are committed to formulate innovative solutions for the most pressing problems in the world. These problems can be broadly classified into the areas related to education, health-care, environment and livelihood opportunities. In West, they are often termed as Philanthropreneures, wherein work is combined with philanthropy through sustainable and innovative solutions for gearing up the structural changes in the economy.
Interestingly, they also cater to the most intractable social problems. For example, an organization that aims to provide livelihood opportunities to the victims of acid attack may open up a restaurant for employing them and also raise funds creating awareness about such issues in the society. The major industries comprising social entrepreneurs include entertainment, nutrition, sanitation, communication, livelihood, education, transportation, training and financial inclusion.
Social entrepreneurship is a growing phenomenon in emerging economies as they are already battling a large number of social issues like lack of healthcare facilities, increasing pollution and wastage, lack of education and infrastructure, sanitation, poverty etc. Hence, the world is witnessing an upsurge in social entrepreneurs building innovative business models integrated with social causes for addressing the sustainability needs of our planet. “Social entrepreneurs are mad scientists in the lab,” says Pamela Hartigan, director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University. “They’re harbingers of new ways of doing business.”
Hence, Fiinovation believes that understanding the opportunity, an increasing number of social entrepreneurs in diverse arenas are putting in efforts to lessen the burden of government, expedite the development process and eradicate the social issues hindering societal growth.
The emerging economies comprises almost 60% of the global GDP. They have also contributed towards more than 80% of the global growth, since the global economy has been hit by financial crisis in 2008. Hence, social entrepreneurs are playing an important role in providing sustainable solutions and livelihood opportunities to the vulnerable sections of the society.
The “Clean and Green India 2016” conference which was recently held in New Delhi highlighted the plethora of opportunities available for social enterprises in diverse sectors like waste management, water management, eco-friendly infrastructure and deep cleaning services as a part of the Swachh Bharat Campaign.
In past few years, a large number of investors have devised innovative technologies and resources for founding and supporting social entrepreneurship. For example, Jeff Skoll, the co-founder of eBay created a foundation and donated 4.4 million pounds for establishing a research center dedicated for social entrepreneurship. Similarly, the social enterprise Ashoka which was founded by Bill Drayton in 1980 was founded to fund the budding social entrepreneurs. Such kinds of investments are known as Impact Investment and was coined at The Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center.
India is the pioneer of social entrepreneurship and homes eminent social entrepreneurs like Mahatma Gandhi (father of nation), Dr. Verghese Kurien (father of the Milk Revolution in India), Sanjit “Bunker” Roy (founder of Barefoot College), Dr. G. Venkataswamy (founder of Aravind Eye Hospital) amongst many, committed to embark change in the society through their social initiatives.
The current central government is also in full support of entrepreneurs and the Start Up India scheme was launched in January 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for promoting entrepreneurship and encouraging young minds to come up with innovative ideas for finding solutions to the most daunting problems of the country. Additionally, he also launched the Stand Up India initiative in April 2016 for promoting entrepreneurship among the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Women through nationalised banks. The initiative will encourage them by facilitating loans between Rs. 10 lacs to Rs. 100 lacs.
Addressing the inaugural session, PM Modi has said, “Stand up India aims to empower every Indian and enable them to stand on their own feet. Today’s job seekers will be job creators of tomorrow.”
Social Entreprenuership is no longer limited to social activities rather it has become a worldwide phenomenon. In today’s date, it plays an important role in providing growth and employment opportunities to the vulnerable sections of the society through sustainable business solutions. Hence, the possibility of revolutionizing the business practices and integrating them with the social impact is gaining momentum.
“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” ― Bill Drayton, Leading Social Entreprenuers Changing the World
(Manisha Bhatia is a management graduate comprising enriching experience in the Content and Communication domain. She is associated with Fiinovation as Manager Editorials and churns out content on the issues related to social development.)
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