by Ricky Ozukum
Why leave the societal needs to the government? Everyone in the society can play a pivotal role to bring about a sweeping growth in our society through change makers or change agents. Who can be the change makers/change agents; it can be answered with the rise of social entrepreneurship. Now, don’t get confused with the term business entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs. There is a vast difference between these two. When business entrepreneurs are into profit motive, social entrepreneurs are into solving community problems. Social entrepreneurship is not a recent or modern phenomenon but there have been people or institutions that have been solely into creating positive changes in the society through their initiative. Let me make it clear what is social entrepreneurship or who are the social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurship is applying practical, innovative and sustainable approaches to benefit society in general, with emphasising on those who are ‘marginalised and poor’. Thus, social entrepreneurs are those who recognise a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change (a social venture). To be more precise, business entrepreneurs typically measures performance in profit and return whereas a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital. As a result, the main aim of social entrepreneurship is to advance social and environmental goals. Similarly, social enterprises are social mission driven organizations which apply market-based strategies to achieve a social purpose. The movement includes both non-profits that use business models to pursue their mission and for-profits whose primary purposes are social. Their aim is to accomplish targets that are social and/or environmental as well as financial: is often referred to as the triple bottom line. It can be seen that many commercial businesses would consider themselves to have social objectives, but social enterprises are distinctive because their social or environmental purpose remains central to their operation. Please remember that social entrepreneurship is neither an NGO nor is it a sole profit making initiative. Some examples of social entrepreneurship include microfinance institutions, educational programs, providing banking services in underserved areas and helping those in deplorable conditions. Thus, the main goal of social entrepreneurs is not to earn a profit but to implement widespread improvements in society. However, a social entrepreneur needs to be financially savvy to succeed in his or her cause.
Why does Nagaland need social entrepreneurship? We need people who are possessed by their ideas, who commit their lives to change. We need people who are both visionaries and ultimate realists, that are someone who can practically implement their vision. We need people who can solve the societal problem by changing the system, spreading the solution and persuading entire societies to take the new leaps. And so, let me tell you, each social entrepreneur presents ideas that are user-friendly, understandable, ethical, and engage widespread support in order to maximize the number of local people that will stand up, seize their idea, and implement with it. In other words, every leading social entrepreneur is a mass recruiter of local change makers, role model proving that citizens who channel their passion into action can do almost anything. For too long, we have been just thinkers and speakers for social changes. Very few have ventured to become change makers. It is high time our society has many social entrepreneurs who will feel that in serving one another we serve ourselves and the whole humanity.
Maybe a few stories about some Indian social entrepreneurs might inspire and make it more concrete the need for such in our state. These are excerpt from Rashmi Bansal’s book ‘I have a dream’ who wrote astonishing stories of 20 social entrepreneurs who found new ways to solve old problems.
Anand Kumar, founder of JEE coaching classes Super 30, was born in Patna and studied at Bihar National College. He excelled in mathematics, and sold papads for a while to earn a living. He started coaching classes for IIT aspirants, along with support from a like-minded police officer. Super 30 was formed as a special annual batch for poor but talented students, all of whom eventually got admission in 2008. Though attacked by the coaching class mafia, Kumar went on to replicate his model as a community-backed initiative.
Anshu Gupta, founder of used clothing recycler Goonj, grew up in a middle class family in UP. He studied media, and an internship led him to discover the needs of rural poor for good clothing. He founded Goonj to take used clothing from city dwellers, sort them, mend them and distribute them to needy poor. Relief efforts during the Gujarat earthquake and Tamil Nadu tsunami highlighted their work. Some clothes are also re-made into bags and sanitary napkins for the poor.
Dhruv Lakra, founder of Mirakle Couriers which hires only deaf people, grew up in a business family in Jammu. He went to study at HR College in Delhi, worked in Merrill Lynch, and then at an NGO called Dasra in Mumbai. His interest in social enterprise led him to higher studies at Oxford, and he hit on the idea for Mirakle Couriers when he signed a courier package at home and realised there was no verbal communication needed. With support from Thermax and awards funds, he launched Mirakle Couriers and now hopes to hire blind people as well in the back-office.
Saloni Malhotra, founder of rural BPO Desi Crew, grew up in Delhi and joined the Leo Club in college, which inspired her to do work in the development space. She worked with interactive ad agency WebChutney, and a talk on rural technology by Prof. Ashok Jhunjunwalla of IIT Madras motivated her to pursue rural IT and BPO work via the IIT incubator. It took a while to understand local challenges and identify working models, and finally settle on digitisation and content work. The rural BPO has opened up new opportunities for rural youth, especially girls. Now larger Indian IT firms are also adopting rural BPO strategies.