The National Association for Social Enterprises, India (NASE) held its monthly meeting last Thursday at the Vaatsalya Training Centre in Bangalore. Founded earlier this year to serve as the “chamber of commerce” for the social enterprise industry, NASE fills the gap previously formed by the absence of a central representative body for social businesses. By bringing key stakeholders together under one umbrella, NASE aims to promote the development of the industry by facilitating communication amongst its players, implementation of conducive policies, progressive data collection and standardization, education, and outreach.On Thursday, NASE President Mr. Raju Bhatnagar led the meeting with a presentation about the organization, followed by a discussion with NASE members and social entrepreneurs interested in the organization. During the presentation, Mr. Bhatnagar outlined the four main objectives of NASE: Networks/Collaboration, Advocacy, Standardization, and Education.
As part of their network initiative, NASE provides its members with both virtual and physical outlets to connect with other members and players in the social enterprise space. Their online platform gives social enterprises up-to-date information via newsletters, case studies, online forums, etc. On top of the online networks, NASE will host and give access to various conferences, including an annual Apex Conference. Additionally, they will hold networking sessions and interactions among local chapters, award exemplary efforts in the social enterprise space, and facilitate interaction between the different verticals of social enterprise.
As a means of advocating social enterprise, NASE will be conducting research and constructing a database in order to produce a strategy paper for the industry. The paper will aim to quantify NASE members’ contribution to GDP and growth, and to analyze existing State and Central Government policies in terms of their implications on social enterprise. Through their research and outreach they will build relationships with relevant Special Interest Groups as well as Indian, multilateral, and International bodies.
Their standards initiative aims to establish and maintain benchmarks for social enterprise by developing social metrics, which will in turn be leveraged to create a “Social Enterprises Mark for India.” The initiative will also include standards for ethical business practices, and will create a system of “best practice sharing” that will allow members to crowd source certain areas of their businesses through which they have successfully and positively impacted common stakeholders.
For their final initiative, education, NASE aims to nurture and develop the social enterprise ecosystem by mentoring upcoming social entrepreneurs and laying a foundation for the student community and educational institutions to promote social enterprise and the triple bottom line, otherwise known as the 3 Ps: People, Planet, and Profit.Thus far, NASE has expanded membership by conducting six road shows across the country. They have begun talks regarding engagements and partnerships with both public and private institutions as part of their four outlined initiatives. Among the institutions included in the talks are Global Shapers (Karnataka), ONELeap, and Intellecap. NASE is also engaged in talks with Duke University as part of the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD), which is funded by the USAID.
In addition, NASE members currently have early access to apply for the India Inclusive Innovation Fund (IIIF). Open to social enterprises in the ideation, startup, or scaling stages, IIIF provides equity based on the principle that businesses serving the bottom of the pyramid can be profitable, scalable, and competitive.
Membership fees vary based on the applicant. For mature social enterprises, the membership fee is Rs. 50,000 per annum. Fees for Early Stage Enterprises and Associate Members (e.g. CSR divisions, NGOs, Non Profits, Consulting Companies, Academic institutions, etc.) are Rs. 25,000 per annum. Individual members interested in social entrepreneurship are charged Rs. 5,000 per annum.
Among other things, NASE members have access to an expansive network of social entrepreneurs, the ability to mentor or be mentored based on needs, access to credible data and research on industry trends, indirect access to funding and grants, and voting rights that enable direct participation in the operations of the organization. The creation of this sort of participatory industry body for social enterprise is not only a unique and promising opportunity for the growth of an individual business, but also, and more importantly, an important step for the industry as a whole. As NASE grows, it is likely we will see the creation of a more conducive business-environment for Indian social enterprises.
For more information about how to become a member, visit the NASE India website.