Staying true to its promise of helping entrepreneurs, as well as the society, create value, TiE Global Summit featured back-to-back sessions where prominent Indian social entrepreneurs discussed how social impact startups can scale fast and contribute to larger sections of the society.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t end at funding, consumers, markets and economy. The impact of a budding startup ecosystem goes beyond financial and economic benefits. Entrepreneurship can inspire social change. Today, Social Entrepreneurship has become a whole new field where many flourishing startups are contributing to India’s social transformation. TiE, being a non-profit, social enterprise brought about not one but two sessions where leading social entrepreneurs deliberated on how young entrepreneurship can drive change.
Watch: TiE Global Summit 2020 – Day 2
Speed, Scale and Sustainability
The first session saw the Head of TiE Social Entrepreneurship-SIG committee, Smitha Siddanthi indulges in dialogue with Rohini Nilekani, a stalwart in social entrepreneurship. Siddanthi started the session by introducing the TiE social enterprise model before going on to discuss with Nilekani what it takes to become a successful social entrepreneur.
Rohini Nilekani, a noted writer, author and philanthropist, is the founder-chairperson of Arghyam Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on water and sanitation issues. She has chaired the Akshara Foundation, which focuses on elementary education and serves as the co-founder and director of non-profit education platform, EkStep.
Nilekani highlighted speed, scale and sustainability as the three keys to social entrepreneurship. She spoke at length about her experience in bringing change and shared her learnings which will be valuable to anyone starting out. Nilekani said, “A strong collaboration between Samaj (Society), Bazar (Market) and Sarkar (Government) is required to bring about real social change in India.”
Collaborating to Contribute
The spirit of collaboration, as underlined by Nilekani and Siddanthi, was carried on in the next session headed by Viiveck Verma, a Hyderabad-based VC and Board Member of TiE. The panellists included Dr Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman of 5F World; Co-founder of Global Talent Track and CAIA- Centre for AI and Advanced Analytics; Ramon Magsaysay Award-winning Indian Social Entrepreneur and the founder of Goonj, Anshu Gupta; and Mayukh Choudhury, founder of Milaap.org.
Choudhury, whose platform Milaap helps people in crowdfunding money for medical emergencies, explained the importance of scale in social entrepreneurship. He emphasised the need of defining scales according to your platform as they help you understand the sustainability of your organisation. Personalisation is the key to Choudhury’s journey as a social entrepreneur. He advises young entrepreneurs to choose their preferred method of funding which suits their ideas and style.
The panel discussion was filled with tips for fresh entrepreneurs. Adding on Choudhury’s advice, Dr Natarajan gave a guide to building a successful social enterprise which begins from setting a scale looking at the scope of the company. He focused on the need for a good business model and the power of a good team. He also highlighted the need to inculcate technology in social entrepreneurship, highlighting the essential role that connection and collaboration play in the social sector.
How to drive Change
Gupta, a well-known social entrepreneur, shared his wisdom on how entrepreneurs can go forward once they have built a social enterprise. Gupta believes social entrepreneurship is about giving what is needed, explaining his enriching thought process, ‘We give what we have, we don’t give what people need’. Gupta further stated that charity creates a donor and beneficiary, which creates a hierarchy. He said, “This hierarchy between the donor and the beneficiary takes away the dignity of the person being helped. Therefore, any social change needs to be brought on by stakeholders at an equal level.”
Dr Natrajan also mulled on how skill development programs initiated by the government can give what the society needs. He said, “They (government’s skill development programs) need to be executed in such a way that they give young people the agency and training to dream.”
Lastly, Gupta encouraged social entrepreneurs in the audience highlighting the importance and beauty of collaboration in the social sector. He said, “It’s important to come together as no single human being can solve a problem alone. Collaboration is the key to successful social change.”
The vastly enriching sessions on Social Entrepreneurship at the TiE Global Summit concentrated on both the technical and value aspects of social entrepreneurship which is a valuable asset to society.