By Kiran Verma, Founder, Simply Blood
As innovation and entrepreneurship are rapidly changing the face of business, social entrepreneurship is emerging as the change agent for society. Social entrepreneurs are coming up with new solutions to social problems and are implementing them on a large scale. Unlike other countries like the UK, Italy, Korea and Singapore where the agenda is being driven by government and large private enterprises (especially Korea), India’s journey into the world of social entrepreneurship has been led by the vision and energy of outstanding individuals.
India is one of the world’s most populous nations. Despite India’s influence on the global economy and innovation sector, the country’s public and private sectors continue to work on challenges to bring in the nation’s almost 180 million residents currently under the poverty line to a healthy and safe way of life. The ground realities of running a social enterprise continue to remain intimidating, but a high level of participation from various domains is pointing to a bright future for India’s social entrepreneurship scene. Read TribesForGOOD – A Unique Experiential Summer Program for High School Kids on Social Entrepreneurship & Leadership.
There are hundreds or thousands of problems related to people around us, which neither can be solved overnight by the government or system. That is where a social entrepreneur sees an opportunity to take initiative and solve the issue.
Social entrepreneurs are innovators who create change
Social Entrepreneurs are the people who vision the change within the society. Most of them might have faced set-back or have gone through some real life challenges which forced them to start their social entrepreneurship journey. Problems faced due to lack of ideas or inability to solve a problem pushes a social entrepreneur to think new, that makes them innovators. Continuous improvement and regular assessment ensures the success of the social start up or social entrepreneur.
It’s very important for a social entrepreneur to understand that the step taken is not a casual way forward. It needs commitment, conviction, dedication, empathy, self-motivation, focus and mostly patience. It takes time for people to understand and believe in your idea. In many cases people quit early just because they don’t get what they expected before starting.
Scalability is imperative as benefits should reach in large scale
Social entrepreneurship has the potential for scaling social and environmental solutions profitably throughout the business sector. But for that we need to find a whole new way to it. It so happens that when you are generating money out of your venture there is a high possibility that you may get distracted from you main motto. The main purpose of the initiative should be intact. Scaling is anyway needed because any good initiative should benefit the largest possible segment of the public.
Social entrepreneurship in India deserves better recognition
Social entrepreneurship in India is not an easy task. If we see the start-up culture, most of the people talk about what funding raised, sustainability of the business, profits in books, potential to become a Unicorn etc (which is fine) but there are few initiatives which has been created for a larger benefit. We often tend to ignore the social entrepreneurs.
Also, creating and running a platform which is not for profit is a tough task, due to lack of credibility, funds, getting the right team etc. VCs, Angel investors do not invest in such venture as there is no ROI, taking loan is also not viable due to repayment issues. Very few options are there to get funding like Government Aid (which takes a lot of time), or else Crowd funding. However, things are changing and since last couple of years, especially after the CSR Act came. Large corporate houses are now tracking new ideas as their investments are going to get them public trust and add credibility.
Collective effort needed in making social entrepreneurship more effective in India
The key to promote any social enterprise is the participation of people. All the stake holders should be engaged to ensure that the right message is spread all across the society the way it should be. Once aware, people who are capable to help will surely come to support the cause. Sustaining a non-profit organisation is very difficult so getting sustainability is also very important.
We, at Simply Blood saw a huge potential to save thousands of lives saved using the platform. We started with a humble target of saving few hundred lives but when people started engaging with it, we were forced to scale it. Now, sustainability is the issue and I am sure this is going to be solved as soon as more people get involved with us.