In this edition, we are happy to share with you a brief report from Ennovent on a nationwide baseline study they conducted titled “Surveying Social Enterprises in India” which was commissioned by the British Council. On November 30th 2015, Ennovent presented and discussed the interim findings of the study specifically focusing on the eastern region of the country at IIM Calcutta to an audience of social entrepreneurs, academics, and other partner organizations working in the social entrepreneurship sector. Do watch this space for more updates on this report.
We have interesting stories from budding social enterprises such as Okhai and Buddy4Study, along with our regular updates on the Thinking Social seminars and upcoming events.
Do read, and do write to us.
By Juhi Natu - Ennovent
Ennovent is a global innovation company working with a range of clients – including entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, foundations, development agencies, CSR departments, NGOs and companies since 2008. They recently conducted a discussion to disseminate the interim findings of a nationwide baseline study “Surveying Social Enterprises in India” commissioned by the British Council, conducted by Ennovent. The baseline aims to contribute to the evaluation of the British Council’s Global Social Enterprise programme’s future impact and track the development of the sector. This study will also contribute to the overall improvement of the social enterprise ecosystem by giving stakeholders a clear picture of the existing scenario and helping them identify areas in which their intervention is most needed. The discussion aimed at seeking feedback and insights from a diverse group of stakeholders. About 30 stakeholders comprising of eminent social entrepreneurs, academicians, network organisations and senior corporate executives working extensively in the social entrepreneurship space, delved on the research findings and identified gaps prevailing in the findings in order to strengthen the study.
Ennovent presented the interim findings of the study specifically focussing on the eastern region of the country. The findings clearly show social enterprises are primarily involved in providing services to the bottom of the pyramid and largely focus on delivering financial services and skill development in the eastern region of the country. About 10% of the social enterprises in eastern India are being led by women and almost 3% are co-founders of social businesses. The figures are impressive in the east region when compared to the other regions of the country which total up to 21% of women-led social businesses. The five key barriers that hinder the growth of social enterprises in the eastern region include – inadequate grant and capital (debt/equity) funding, inadequate number of investors in the region, lack of access to advisory and technical support and shortage of technical and managerial skills.
The experts highlighted presence of innovative models that usually go unnoticed as these are the models which haven’t received enough coverage by various studies and communication channels. A general consensus was to do a survey for study in regional languages which will ensure larger participation of regional level social businesses that engage with BoP even more deeply. One of the key barriers that were identified in the discussion was that social enterprises lack the understanding of investor needs and possess inadequate knowledge of the application process, and the documentations involved in receiving financing from these investors. Gitali Thakur, founder Maitri Livelihood Services Pvt Ltd. highlighted lack of skilled manpower and training institutes as one of the key challenges that social businesses face. The experts also felt that some of the issues are specific to an enterprise’s vintage and suggested categorising barriers based on what stage the enterprise is currently at.
The discussion ended with an overview of feedback and commitments from the stakeholders on supporting the study on outreach and review for strengthening the findings of the study which will help identifying gaps in the sector and building an ecosystem for innovative ideas and models to scale.
Tata Social Enterprise Challenge (TSEC) – a joint initiative of the Tata group and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) held the fourth seminar series, ‘Thinking Social’, at Shiv Nadar University (SNU), Greater Noida on 27th February 2016. The day-long seminar sought to introduce students from top professional colleges in India to the spirit of social entrepreneurship in a rapidly evolving global economy and addressed the concerns of young, budding entrepreneurs belonging to reputed institutes in Delhi NCR. The speakers for the day comprised eminent social entrepreneurs, academicians and senior corporate executives working extensively in the Indian social entrepreneurship space.
The Seminar was formally inaugurated by Dr. Subhro Sen – Director of School of Management and Entrepreneurship & School of Extended Education and Professional Development, Shiv Nadar University. In his opening address, Dr. Sen emphasized on the importance and significance of social entrepreneurship in current times for the balanced development of all sections of society. He thanked the participants for their presence at the event and encouraged them to imbibe the rich knowledge that comes through experience, which was to be shared by an interesting ensemble of practicing social entrepreneurs, academicians and industry thought-leaders.
Mr. Sujoy Sen from IIM Calcutta Innovation Park shared with the audience IIMC’s key contribution of promoting social entrepreneurs through their incubation cell, the vision that the organization has for the promotion of social entrepreneurship and the evolution of TSEC. He also stressed on the importance of serving the bottom of the pyramid and the significance of boosting these sections of society.
Ms. Kirti Poonia, Head – Okhai, Tata Chemicals gave the audience an overview of the Tata Chemicals Rural Entrepreneurship Development Programme and Tata Steel’s Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Programme. She spoke about the Okhai Model for Women Empowerment in rural India and the training imparted to tribal women in their historic crafts such appliqué, embroidery and stiching. She shared with the students the learnings she could draw from her experience with Okhai. Besides, “Working in a social enterprise is not a purely selfless job, for you will gain leadership qualities that you can apply in any business – including realizing the importance of empathy, on the ground experience and business efficiencies – and find your passion.” In her concluding remarks she motivated the students by telling them about Jamsetji’s ethos of nation building and giving back to society, while running perfectly efficient businesses, and to “think social” before making every business decision.
Prof. Devi Vijay of IIM Calcutta gave an overview about social entrepreneurship. She spoke about the Social Entrepreneurship Academic Programme being conducted at IIM Calcutta which gives the students an opportunity to understand and solve challenges in this space. Prof. Devi Vijay spoke about engagements between academic institutions, students and social enterprises. She explained how student groups work with different social organizations to solve live problems while applying concepts learnt during their tenure at IIMC.
Ms. Sumita Ghose , Founder – Rangsutra which is a social enterprise connecting more than 2000 women artisans, emphasized the importance of persistent efforts in order to pursue the cause that you deeply and firmly believe in. Citing examples from the evolution of her company, she stressed the importance of helping women to find their self-confidence and financial independence. She also stressed the importance of involving the people at the base level in the decision making process, as this allows them to be in control in deciding the course of the business.
The next speaker was Mr. Rustam Sengupta, founder and CEO – Boond. In an electrifying speech, Mr Sengupta shared with the audience how he started his entrepreneurship journey after quitting his high-paying corporate job. The audience thoroughly enjoyed listening to his story of developing his “just a dream” into a sustainable high impact enterprise.
Two budding entrepreneurs, Prantik Sinha and Ashutosh Burnwal, whose enterprises – Agasthya Buoyant Pvt Ltd and Buddy4Study which are proposed for incubation at IIM Calcutta innovation Park demonstrated how an idea can be transformed into a viable business venture. Through the story of becoming entrepreneurs they demonstrated that it is the presence of sheer passion and commitment that will help achieve the impact on society that you wish to create.
The final session was handled by Ms. Manisha Gupta, Founder and CEO -StartUp! She cited social entrepreneurs as visionary individuals who identify a social interactive problem and figure out an innovative solution that enables a change to happen. Manisha emphasized the importance of value creation and the pursuit of happiness as fundamental building blocks for any social entrepreneur trying to make a difference.
Concluding the event, Prof. Partha Sarathi Roy of SNU thanked the speakers for sharing their inspiring stories with the students. A sentiment that was a commonly shared among the participants and the speakers was the innate requirement for social entrepreneurs and the change that they can bring to society, and that such seminars are a vital platform in ushering in that change.
By Kirti Poonia, Head – Okhai
Okhai is an artisan led fashion and lifestyle brand that makes handcrafted work wear for women. A social business, Okhai’s focus is on women empowerment through capacity building and livelihood generation.
Okhai’s artisans create contemporary products while protecting the traditional crafts of mirror work, embroidery and applique. These crafts are unique to the Okhamandal region of Gujarat and hence the name Okhai which translates into “from Okha”
Products for working woman by working women
The lack of Indian corporate wear in the market, motivated Okhai to create kurtas for the working women. Today, Okhai offers hand-crafted apparel for work and play and certain home décor products. Working women buy these products to wear to work while supporting their rural counterparts.
To suit the modern needs, Okhai apparels are made from soft fabrics, have light hand embroidery, small block prints, smart yokes, intricate applique work and are available in neutral and vibrant colours.
Products are sold on-line through Okhai’s website www.okhai.org and retail outlets in Chennai, Ahemedabad, Bengaluru, Jamshedpur, Mithapur and Pune.
The brand functions through 40 self help groups which comprise of over 500 women artisans who work from their homes. The women collaborate with a panel of esteemed designers and frequently visit cities to keep themselves abreast with the latest trends, colors and fashions.
Women artisans of Okhmandal feel a sense of identity and pride because they run Okhai. They have become self-reliant, confident and the income helps them educate their kids and run homes for their family.
By Ashutosh Burnwal, Founder & CEO - Buddy4study.com
The Indian education system is under transformation. We have an exponential increase in college-level students’ enrolment. To make education affordable to needy students and encourage their talent, every year billions of rupees worth scholarships are provided by governments, foundations and corporations.
Needless to say, a scholarship is a life changer. It is a validation of a student’s merit and talent. It provides financial support to students from under-privileged sections to pursue their dreams. However, students are often unaware about scholarships that may be eligible for, and how they could apply. There are scholarship funds which are not being utilized properly. There is often no clear communication between providers and students. It is also difficult to verify students and monitor their performances. The intent of Buddy4Study is to solve this chaos and provide a unified solution to best connect students and scholarship providers. Our two primary objectives are:
Buddy4Study, which started way back in IMT Ghaziabad campus in 2011, has now evolved as an end to end scholarship solution platform. The vision is to create an ecosystem to empower deserving students, nurture their merit and talent through existing scholarships.
In its present stage, Buddy4Study is providing the services mentioned below:
From its humble beginnings, Buddy4Study has been a pioneer in this field and become synonymous with a transparent, dynamic and successful venture catering to needs of over 100,000 active students on our board and has helped 800 students receive scholarship worth more than 2 crores INR.
In its journey, Buddy4Study has become India’s largest scholarship search engine portal and has been first to launch a mobile app with more than 6000 downloads. It has been recognised, applauded and supported by national and international academia. Below are some of our key achievements:
We are on a mission to help 1 crore students to receive scholarships. If you know any student who you think needs scholarship support, please go to Buddy4Study and create her account or email us with students’ details at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are scholarships for her and we can definitely help.
Sankalp Global Summit (20 – 22 April 2016)
Sankalp Global Summit is one of the largest events in the world, connecting high-impact enterprises with key players across the value chain to help them reach scale.
To know more about the event visit: http://global2016.sankalpforum.com/
Unitus Seed Fund & Sylvant Advisors present the fourth edition of the StartEdu program!
This program is designed to identify the most innovative and scalable education companies enabled by technology. Apply now for an opportunity to attend a bootcamp, get mentored by representatives from S. Chand or Pearson Affordable Learning Fund, and win an opportunity to pitch for an investment of upto INR 3cr.
StartHealth Competition-3 is a pan India challenge that aims to find, nurture and fund startups that are driving inclusive healthcare solutions through innovation. The winner will receive cash prize of INR 10 lakhs. The winner will receive cash prize of INR 10 lakhs and both the winner and the runner-up will get an opportunity to pitch for a direct entry to Unitus
Seed Fund StartHealth Investment Program. Program partners include Pfizer, Manipal Hospitals, Narayana Health, PATH.
To Apply Here: http://bit.ly/Unitus_SHC3
StartupWave Demo Day: 20 April 2016
StartupWave Demo Days have been launched to showcase promising startups to investors, corporates, mentors, and others who can offer advisory and funding support to them. Startups who present at our Demo Day are given intensive preparatory support in refining their business models and creating their pitches. The first StartupWave Demo Day was held on December 4, 2015 in Mumbai. A diverse group of 8 startups pitched to 35+ investors, corporates, and potential partners. 4 fundraising conversations resulted from the Demo Day and are currently on-going.
The April 20th Demo Day will specifically focus on technology and product startups with prototypes or proofs of concept in place. The focus of this Demo Day is to bring highpotential technology and product startups face to face with corporates and investors with a 3-fold agenda:
To know get in touch with: email@example.com
Ankur Capital hosts – “Investors from Mars, Entrepreneurs from Venus? Making it Work”
Ankur Capital and Artha Initiative are hosting an interactive discussion at Sankalp Global Summit to chalk out what can be done to bring the two forces together for the greater good.
Discussion Zone D (studio 2), Sankalp Global Summit, JW Marriott Sahar, Andheri (E), Mumbai
To know more about the event write to: firstname.lastname@example.org