Social Enterprises in India: Context
One of the enduring purposes of social entrepreneurship is to propel economic prosperity, wealth creations, improve environmental sustainability and ultimately social well-being of people, community or a region. By connecting their socially driven mission coupled with market forces, social enterprises become powerful vehicles for a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
India is a diverse country with unique and complex socio-economic and environmental challenges. A population who inhabits different levels of the social ladder have diverse sets of issues. These issues are very different from those of other developed countries and hence need a different approach to address the same. Social Enterprises are extremely relevant in today’s world to tackle these socio-economic concerns and to find solutions, particularly in a country like India.
India is currently home to 40,000+ start-ups and social enterprises.
There is no dearth of enterprising youth in India. Neither is there any dearth of passionate, empathetic minds who want to challenge the status quo. The problems of the society inspire them to take it upon themselves to find a solution. While they have the vision and zest to pave their own path ahead, they need experts to hold their hands in the initial stages and give them a road-map. The idea is to remove as many roadblocks as possible to take them closer to their destination. Here’s where SAP, with its ecosystem of partners, customers, and employees, steps in to guide and upskill these social enterprises, and connect them with relevant stakeholders in the ecosystem. Thus, emanates our mission to focus on “Powering Best-run NGOs & Social Enterprises”
It cannot be put any more aptly than Bill McDermott, SAP CEO: “The essence of a purpose-driven economy is not what we achieve. It is to whom we dedicate ourselves. We dedicate SAP to improving people’s lives, to lifting up new generations of innovators, to bypassing the limits of polarization, in favor of a shared future.”
SAP partners with IIM Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) with a vision to propel the ‘Best Run Social Enterprise’ and dries social enterprise accelerator. The aim was to foster a regional entrepreneurship ecosystem in tier 2 & 3 cities of India – not just to promote the entrepreneurship ecosystem, but also to foster a much needed socio-economic growth. A multi-pronged model was imperative to validate a tech-enabled scalable model which not just fosters innovations, but also helps build investible startups. This would not only catalyze the entrepreneurship ecosystem but also lead to the creation of more jobs, thus addressing the socio-economic needs of a region and the people residing there.
This collaboration led to the development of very unique ‘Innocity’ – a demand drive incubation / accelerator model for supporting and building capacity of startups. This addresses the challenges faced by entrepreneurs hailing from tier 2 & 3 cities by building a tech-driven, on-demand model for incubation & mentorship. Innocity enables entrepreneurs to get customized support, guidance, and mentorship from relevant subject experts, professionals, mentors, etc. It not only provides a holistic support system for budding entrepreneurs, but also strengthens their network by connecting them to industry leaders, investors, mentors, and other social entrepreneurs etc. This has paved the path for growth in the socio-economic environment of India while boosting startup culture as well as creating newer job opportunities.
- Aditya Shukla (Founder, Recycler) talks about his struggles in the initial days and how it all came to an end. Funds for setting up an infrastructure and the lack of experience to run a business were huge hurdles for him. Last year, he attended the Accelerator programme popularly known as SAP-CIIE Social Enterprise Programme. Attending the week-long programme not only helped him strategize better, but the Accelerator Programme also provided the initial seed funding which enabled him to set up a pilot manufacturing unit to complete an advanced work order.
SAP-ISB Accelerator – Jump-start Social Enterprise (JSE)
It is an initiative to support entrepreneurial prodigies in areas such as education, healthcare, agriculture, technology, food (alleviate hunger & provide nutritious food), among others. The initiative is quite stronger in terms of engaging professors, ecosystem players, impact investors through a pedagogy of class room and real business scenario based problem solving. unique part of the initiative is the strong focus on business model alignment, re-alignment and mitigation adverse risks.
Deepak M, CEO, Scraptap, has been a part of SAP ISB JSE. It helped him pitch investors and also to reach out to the market and evangelize about his products. Moreover, SAP solutions like SAP Ariba, SAP rural sourcing management, etc. help social enterprises get access to the market.
Socio-economic Development through Social Enterprise
SAP leverages its core assets e.g. business expertise, innovation, human resources to catalyse social entrepreneurship ecosystem. Through authentic partnerships with social enterprises, their incubators and intermediaries, SAP is in a unique position to influence and impact this sector now, and in times to come. The success of social enterprises can be measured not just by the profits reaped, but by the social impact they create and the number of lives they affect.
To address the socio-economic issues in India and to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, SAP’s strategic partnerships and collaborations are crucial. Indian startups have truly left footprints on a global scale and the social entrepreneurship landscape is steadily transforming in India. Creativity, a passion to perform, and the fire to push boundaries in innovation is definitely something that needs support and encouragement. A country like India needs more young minds fostering Social Entrepreneurship with a focus to address and solve real-world social and environmental problems.