In the lead up to Sociopreneurship 2010, this year’s flagship event for social entrepreneurs, we at YourStory spoke to Gauravjeet Singh of Unitus Capital to get his perspective on the scope of social entrepreneurship and whether this dream run will continue to last.
As someone who understands the nitty-gritties of the microfinance sector, Gaurav didn’t see any reason why social enterprises cannot continue to be present and even, prosper. He dismissed talk of social entrepreneurship being a flash-in-the-pan type of scenario and held the stance that with over 70% of India still categorized as rural, the potential is huge.
In a view characterized by much pragmatism and deep understanding, Gaurav argued that rural India has needs and wants as well and that it is simply about making it easier to service these needs and wants, be it in terms of infrastructure or distribution. He spoke about his firm belief in the fact that once the basics are in place, the sector will shrug its humble roots and take off massively.
We also took this chance to ask Gaurav about the merits and demerits of the microfinance sector leading the charge for social enterprises. His viewpoint was that it is natural for providers of capital (MFIs) to pilot the flight in a scenario where availability of capital is the largest bottleneck for rural entrepreneurs and their ‘startups’. He supported this stance with the background that banks are finding it too hard (read expensive) to operate in the hinterland.
Gaurav cited the example of Amul, a multi-billion dollar rural enterprise that is the envy of many large corporations today, to illustrate the potential of social enterprises. With initiatives like CSCs (Common Service Centers) being rolled out as a part of the National e-Governance plan, he predicted that the barriers to operate, sell and be profitable would soon dwindle.
After our chat with Gaurav, we’re more convinced than ever that there cannot be a better time for an event like Sociopreneurship to occur. Check out the Sociopreneurship 2010 website (http://www.sociopreneurship.com/) and watch this space for other interesting perspectives on social entrepreneurship. Do feel free to write to us with your feedback and comments.
Sriram Mohan | YourStory | 12th November 2010 | Bangalore