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Social Entrepreneurship in India

  • 16 Sep 2022
  • 8 min read

For Prelims: Social Entrepreneurs, Poverty, ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing

For Mains: Social Entrepreneurship in India, Significance of Social Entrepreneurs, Issues Relating to Development, Growth & Development

Why in News?

In order for businesses and governments to make informed decisions about global socioeconomic and environmental issues, social entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly important.

Who are Social Entrepreneurs?

  • About:
    • It is a construct that blends the idea of a commercial enterprise with the tenets of a charitable nonprofit organization.
    • It is about creating business models revolving around low-cost products and services to resolve social inequities.
    • It helps to succeed in economic initiatives, and all the investment focuses on the social and environmental mission.
    • Social entrepreneurs are also called social innovators as they are the agents of change and create significant change using innovative ideas.
      • They identify the problems and build the difference by their plan.
    • Social entrepreneurship is a growing trend alongside Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing.
  • Examples:
    • Educational programs, providing banking services in underserved areas and helping children orphaned by epidemic disease.

What is the Significance of Social Entrepreneurs?

  • Focus on Social Problems: Social Entrepreneurs mainly focus on social problems. They initiate innovation by mobilizing the resources available to build social arrangements in response to social problems.
  • Change Agent in Social Sector: Social Entrepreneurs act as change makers in society who in turn influence others to contribute to the development of mankind.
    • They work not only as a strong catalyst in society, but as change agents in the social sector.
  • Bring the Changes: They adopt a mission to create and sustain social value; recognizing and rigidly pursuing new opportunities, engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation and learning.
  • Increased Accountability: They act boldly without being limited by resources in hand and exhibit heightened accountability to the constituencies.
  • Improve People’s Lives: People are attracted to social entrepreneurs like the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus for many of the same reasons that they find business entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs so compelling – these extraordinary people come up with brilliant ideas and against all the odds succeed at creating new products and services that dramatically improve people’s lives.
  • Help in Achieving Inclusive Society: They are also playing a pivotal role in the inclusive recovery and rebuilding of communities at the grassroots level.

How can Social Entrepreneurs Contribute to India's Growth Story?

  • No more Not for Profit:
    • India’s development sector has undergone a rapid transformation including the creation of social enterprises that are purely for-profit companies and no longer restricted to “no-profit” or “low-profit” ventures.
      • These for-profit social enterprises can generate enough funds to run their operations without donations or grants.
  • Social Impact Investing:
    • The country’s social entrepreneurs are being nurtured, encouraged and hailed for being able to meet India’s most challenging developmental demands.
    • According to the Impact Investors Council (IIC), around 600 impact enterprises in India now affect 500 million lives, attracting over USD 9 billion in capital.
      • Impact Investors Council (IIC) is the leading national industry association of Impact Investors in India.
      • Its mission is to encourage private capital to bridge the social investment gap in the country while developing an impact investment asset class.
  • Deepening Social Innovation Movement:
    • Today’s social entrepreneurs have become elemental innovators and dynamic problem-solvers contributing to India’s development.
    • These enterprises are looking for strategic collaborations, both domestic and international, to innovatively solve unique problems.
    • Extensive use of technology and rapid digitalisation initiatives by the government have further facilitated their innovation streak.
  • Support of Government:
    • Government support for startups along with the announcement and impending launch of the Social Stock Exchange has paved the way for a more positive atmosphere for social entrepreneurship in India.
    • The Securities and Exchange Board of India has recently released the framework for a Social Stock Exchange, making it possible for social entrepreneurs to raise more funds and expand their impact and reach exponentially.
  • Sustainability and a Multi-Dimensional Approach:
    • Both businesses and governments are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability.
    • Social entrepreneurs and their business models have always been working on the sustainability framework.
    • The government and corporate firms are not only willing to take inspiration from their business models and incorporate those learnings, but also to help these enterprises scale up.
    • Additionally, in order to bridge the socioeconomic gaps prevalent in society, one needs to adopt a multidimensional approach.
      • For example, beyond the lack of financial resources, poverty also has cultural, social, psychological and emotional dimensions, which manifest in the form of discrimination, exclusion, insecurity, vulnerability, powerlessness and rejection.
      • Social entrepreneurial models offer customisation for each problem, hence addressing all the dimensions of an issue.

Way Forward

  • In the Amrit Kaal (the 25-year period to 2047), these enthusiasts of social causes — driven by purpose, vision, value, and ethos to create a sizeable socioeconomic impact — can be trusted to shoulder more responsibility and be given a significant share of the economy.
    • For over a decade, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister organisation of the World Economic Forum, and the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation have nurtured social entrepreneurship in India through their annual Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) India Award. SEOY Award India-2022 is the 13th edition of the award.
    • The high-impact finalists of this year’s award mirror the above indications perfectly and reassure us that in the next 25 years, when India celebrates its 100th year of Independence, social enterprises will be playing a much more pivotal role in the country.
  • The need of the hour is a nourishing ecosystem for social entrepreneurs to take up programmes, bridge pandemic-induced gaps, scale-up existing initiatives, and be part of the mainstream response system.

Source: HT

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