‘Creation has to go hand in hand with social justice’ - 150 inspiring quotes of 2016 on social entrepreneurship


From a wide range of social entrepreneurship stories in 2016, we present you 150 inspiring quotes from social entrepreneurs, activists and NGOs! See also our 2015 compilation here, and the 2016 collection of quotes on women and entrepreneurship. From improving environment and education to overcoming social stigmas and political barriers, the changemakers in this compilation have memorable words for us all.

These social entrepreneurs motivate us on with the progress they have made – but also remind us that the proverbial glass is still half-empty and there is much work ahead. We hope these quotes and linked stories inspire you as well to do your bit (and more!) to make India and the world a better place.

Inspiration, perspective, facts, perseverance, humility, empathy and courage – these 150 quotes capture them all. YourStory wishes our readers all the very best for the holiday season and a year of successes and progress ahead in 2017!


It’s important to dream big and be ambitious, but over-ambitious and over-bloated ideas are hard to take off. - Manil Gupta, The Creative Indians

As people are getting richer, it is no secret that there is more wastage happening, more dumping happening. - Jaideep Sajdeh, Texool

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. – Franklin Roosevelt

What we need is not monetary contributions, but just the time and compassion of our fellow citizens. - Sarah Afridi, Robin Hood Army

A crowdfunding platform broadens the funding market and allows investors to finance the project irrespective of location. - Prisiliya Madan, Cyclists for Change

Creation has to go hand in hand with social justice. - Shekar Prabhakar, Hasiru Dala

Both acting and charity keep me going. Through one I make money and the other I spend all the money! - Evelyn Sharma, Seams for Dreams

Happiness increases by sharing. The more you share, the more you get. - Satwik Mishra, Gram Vikas

There are very few funds in India, which are focussed on livelihoods or are impact funds. Most are focussed on health, education, water, financial inclusion and energy. - Neelam Chhiber, Industree

All entrepreneurs should build institutions, which is what makes great countries and people. - Sridhar Pinnapureddy, CTRLS

Today’s water problems cannot be solved by science and technology alone. They are instead human problems of governance, policy, leadership, and social resilience. - Rajendra Singh

Too often, in the hurry to scale up, we miss the joy of remaining small. And sometimes, small is good. - Navya Agarwal, I Value Every Idea (IVEI)

Happy people usually don’t have big goals; we find joy in the little things of life. - Geetanjali Dhar, The Indian Terrain Nature Club

It is never too late to follow your heart and chase your dreams. Remember age is just a number. - Chhavi Dang, Comm Sutra

Multiplying the celebrations at the grassroots is the first step to making innovation truly accessible. - Amit Balooni

There are enough individuals in our nation who are thinking about the prosperity of their villages, but have little support. - Umesh Malhotra, Hippocampus

Political tyranny is nothing compared to the social tyranny and a reformer who defies society is a more courageous man than a politician who defies Government. - Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar

In India, only one room in 250 rooms is allocated in hotels for people with disabilities, whereas internationally the ratio is 1:50. - Javed Abidi, NCPEDP

Farmers are capable of contributing to the growth of the economy like anyone else. - GNS Reddy, Akshayakalpa Farms

A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation. - Gustavo Petro, economist

Slum dwellers are not criminals or beggars. They too have skills, dreams, and ambitions. - Megha Gupta, DharaviMarket.com

We need great teachers to grow great minds, or we will never solve the world’s most pressing problems. - Sunny Varkey, Varkey Foundation

We need to build a world where every person has access to everything. – Shilpi Kapoor, Barrier Break

Being physically challenged doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything. Disability is only a state of mind. – Sarita Dwivedi, artist

There is a vast difference between appreciating beauty and reducing a living, breathing person to an inanimate object. - Pritham Raja, Tofu Clothing

Someone has to clean up the system. - Manish Kumar, SEED Schools

I am always humbled by indomitable spirit of India. - Gordon Sanhera, Oxford Nanopore Tech

Unless everybody is on board, waste management will continue to haunt the city. - Mansoor Ahmed

You are an education entrepreneur because you care about the outcome, not the income! - Vrunda Bansode, Cloud Mentor

In India, with more than 1.4 million schools and 440 million school-going children, 80 percent children lack access to experiential learning. - Lewitt Somarajan, Life Labs

Every year about 1,00,000 women are trafficked in India and only about three to four per cent are rescued. - Pritham Raja, Tofu Clothing

Rural issues have less than two percent coverage in mainstream media. - Jessica Mayberry, Video Volunteers

You’re meant to leave an impact on the world. - Saksham Karwal, SeenIt

Only if we engage our best, brightest, and most innovative minds in solving the problems of our poor, will we create the just and equitable society we deserve. - PR Ganapathy, Villgro

We have to reimagine beyond the traditional processes of business and enable micro-entrepreneurs to leverage the potential usage of technology. - Kris Gopalakrishnan, Infosys

I want to use my fame to help struggling artists and inventors get recognition across the world. - Wajid Khan, artist

Your life derives meaning out of the things you do daily. – Sunitha Thampi, Asymmetrique

The most important thing is to keep your intention focussed on the bigger picture. - Cheelu Chandran, DeBox

You have to know your community really well. If you don’t love them, then you can’t serve them. - Zarina Screwvala, Swades Foundation

Spending time in knowing influencers and social entrepreneurs is important. These are folks who will help scale, save time reinventing the wheel, and solve common challenges through shared learning. - Ketan Deshpande, Fuel

Working towards social development and conservation of natural resources is not ‘charity’. - Amitha Pai, One Good Step

India continues to be the country with the highest number of people practicing open defecation: around 600 million people or nearly half of the population. - 2015 JMP Report

Everybody should have the right to experience life to the fullest. - Rudrani Chettri, Transgender Model Agency

Solar energy will bring a renewed revival to India in the forefront of electricity. - Amit Shah, Solgen

Walk alone, do what you have to... people will follow when they are ready. - Bittu Sahgal, Sanctuary Asia

It’s not our place to decide if remote communities should live undisturbed or interact with the outside world. That right is held solely by the community in question. - Rajiv Rathod, Batti Project

Volunteering is a great way to travel and experience life with locals. - Saurabh Sabharwal, Volunteer Solutions

If you wish to stay in the business for the long haul, opt for sustainable growth. - Ambarish Gupta, Knowlarity

Even as a small team, you can now be co-dependent with small teams all over the world. So, when you win, they win. - Kahran Singh, VidyaNext

Sadly, in spite of the education and awareness around AIDS, a lot of stigma is attached to the disease. - Abhishek Dwivedi, Alternacare

For mountain children, the current education system is doubly painful and irrelevant. - Sonam Wangchuk, SECMOL

The problem with Indian healthcare at present is access to credit, which hampers quality treatment to be given to individuals. - Bala Srinivasa, Kalaari Capital

The war against black money has not started yet. Demonetisation is only a war cry that declares the start of a war. - Hardik Harsora, EFFEX Business Solutions

The concept of social ride sharing gives you the opportunity to share a ride with people you’re comfortable with. – Anand Subramanian, Ola

While you may lure investors easily for for-profit ventures, it’s a herculean task to establish a non-profit venture and make it self-sustainable. - Apurva Bhandari, SankalpTaru

If you are working for a good cause, there is a divine force backing you. - Madhurita Gupta, MyVets Charitable Trust

We need more entrepreneurs who are committed to improving the quality of education for students from low-income households. - Kavita Rajagopalan, Villgro

If someone says I can’t do something, then I have to do it. - Deepak Yatri, Gandhi Fellow

Don’t let boundaries stop you. - Aafreen Ansari, MyChild app

Every year 3,000–4,000 victims are rescued from sex trafficking racket in the country. We want to reach them all. - Pritham Raja, ToFu

Memorials force you to think, while museums speak AND make you think. - Rama Lakshmi, Remember Bhopal Museum

If everyone cared for nature as we do for our children, we will be able to protect and conserve Mother Earth for them. - Ratna Prabha Rajkumar, BlueMadeGreen

India has a huge opportunity to leapfrog from other forms of energy to clean forms of energy. - Nikesh Arora, SoftBank

Your dreams, even the smallest ones, can be a big source of resilience and motivation. - Nandita Venkatesan

Giving need not mean money, but also time, warmth and love. Joy of giving does not depend on giving when you have plenty. - Vinod Rawat

The inner human world is a universe which is more wide and deep than the simple cosmos. - Vladimir Kazanevsky, cartoonist

When we live close to nature and live simple, our entire lives and personalities changes for better. - Shashi Bhushan, Madman’s Farm

We will go to Naxalite affected areas and all other difficult areas of India because it is our country and if we don’t, who will? - Shashank Mani, Jagriti Yatra

Not all riches are worth chasing. - Jayanth Jagadeesh, Raksha SafeDrive

Diversity is India’s biggest strength, but the forces of identity can turn it into the biggest curse. – Ashutosh, Aam Aadmi Party

All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming. – Helen Keller

A single household in India wastes close to 100 kg of paper every year. - Kapil Bajaj, Kabadiexpress

What a nudge can do a push can’t. - Atul Satija, The/Nudge

Don’t start because the whole world is doing it. Do it because you LOVE it. Trust me, it will love you back. - Parama Ghosh, Parama

The human spirit is stronger than everything that happens to it. - Girish Gogia, Mission Positive Earth

Youth must learn to embody the important values of empathy, creativity, leadership, and teamwork skills to really make a difference. - Yashveer Singh, Ashoka Innovators

It is our responsibility to reduce carbon emissions. Cycling is not only fun but it also will make you healthy. - Serene Banergee, HSR Cyclist Group

The educated should take up the responsibility of solving the country’s pressing problems. - Mahesh RV, Spirulina Foundation

We have to accept that above-ground water conservation has failed and time has come to adopt underground rain water harvesting for water security. - Vijay Kedia, BITS Pilani

BOP market is significantly different to a general mass market and socents have inherent advantage over big corporates when selling to them. - Rohan Potdar, RCM

Phones can help increase financial inclusion. - Umesh Sachdev, Uniphore

India cannot afford to follow the Western model of inequitable growth or the Chinese ‘grow now, pay later’ model. - Benedict Paramanand, ‘SustainabilityNext’

Composting your kitchen waste cuts down your garbage disposal by about 95%. - Sohini Mukherjee, Chumbak

We humans have destroyed this planet and we are the only species who can fix it. - Mike Pandey

With only 24 million students enrolled out of the potential 120 million, the current brick-and-mortar higher education system is facing major challenges. – Kris Gopalakrishnan, Avagmah

By 2020, 94 percent of [Bengaluru] landscape will be under concrete. That is an unrealistic and tragic growth. - TV Ramachandra, IISc

A doctor’s education never ends with a degree. - Hitesh Ganjoo, Buzz4Health

I have always believed that the real history is made by ordinary people. – Mahashweta Devi

To know that you saved a life is an overwhelming feeling. - Sushant Ajnikar, Paws of India

The internet must be made multilingual to reach the majority users in India. - Vivekanand Pani, Reverie Language Technologies

Child security is one of the key issues which our nation is struggling with. - Shilpa Mahna Bhatnagar, Evoxyz Technologies

People have become busy with the modern lifestyle and most young people don’t know how to weave. The handloom industry is dying. - Daisy Nath, Assam Silk Shopping

Our society as a whole is lacking only in one thing, i.e., accepting the fact that disability is physical, not social. - Suvarna Raj, para-athelete

If everyone across the country becomes part of the solution, we could avoid the garbage dumps in the city, we could improve the quality of the air. - Manish Advani, MSSG

The joy of making a positive impact on someone’s life is incomparable. - Amisha Sethi, author

Dealing with the government does not mean you have to give a bribe. - Gautam Adani

The only thing that matters is creating impact with your work. - Laukik Bothara, ‘The Violet’

When you get detached from money entirely, magic happens. - Abhimanyu Grover, Test Collab

Career pursuits and changing lifestyle have been disrupting the life of senior citizens as their sons and daughters leave them behind. - Bharatbhai Patel, Anubhandana Foundation

Are the entrepreneurial minds developing something to address crime? - Nikita Bhatia, VenturEasy

People at large need to be educated about conserving water and reducing dependence on borewells. - Andaleeb Wajid, novelist

Ecology and economics are two sides of the same coin. – Lief Johansson, Ericsson

An ordinary life cannot give extraordinary results. - Tanay Sukumar, News That Matters Not

Ambition alone doesn’t work. Missions do. - Kunal Shah, FreeCharge

In a country where 20 percent of the population is undernourished, post-harvest losses are a substantial avoidable waste. – Varun Khurana, Cro Farm

Hearing loss is the second largest disability in the country that affects more than 120 million lives with majority sufferers over the age of 60. - Neeraj Dotel, Quadio Devices

Home developers and builders have started to realise that building green helps attract more customers and investors. - Prashant Kapoor, IFC Climate Business Group

In India, they say that rivers are the birthplaces of civilisation – and civilisation the graveyard for rivers. – John Thackara, ‘Designing Tomorrow’s World Today’

Dharavi isn’t a subset of Mumbai; nor does it exists in isolation. It works in tandem with the nation’s financial capital and must be viewed as such. – Joseph Bird, Reality Tours

Happiness is a mysterious thing, to be found somewhere between too little and too much. – Ruskin Bond

99.9% of India’s consumers are unaware of where and how the fruits and vegetables they buy are grown. – S. Madhusudhan, Back2Basics

Art stands tall over all the conformist and orthodox ideas of forged borders. - Tina Vachani, Routes2Roots

While innovations have drastically improved for the visually impaired, there hasn’t been much progress for the deaf. - Dhruv Lakra, Mirakle Couriers

Underprivileged children from rural areas end up missing on opportunities, not because of capability but money. – Vivek Pawar, Sankalp Semiconductors

No one owns this world. Everyone does. Everyone shares equally in this world. Just try to offer respect, an ear, and a chance. - Marlee Matlin, deaf actress

Cities need to understand that the slum dwellers service the city. – Shabana Azmi

Engaging in social activities needs time, not money. - Sneha Chandrashekhar, Merit 360

Remember that there is only one planet for us to live in and that planet is now becoming endangered. – Narayana Murthy, Infosys

Every child has a right to be a child, and every child has the right to ask for his or her rights responsibly. – Shyamalee Roy, Mitsuko Trust

Unless digital gaps are bridged, existing socio-economic inequalities will be even more exacerbated. – Depinder Singh, DeITY

Just be grateful for the food on the table. All of us owe a part of our existence to the farmer. – Raghav Raghunathan, RamRahim

What’s the point of migrating to cities? Why can’t we create jobs in rural India? –Murali Vullaganti, RuralShores

We want children and youth to know their rights and get access to them. – Ajay Pandit, Synergy Sansthan

My biggest success is when someone returns from the city to start farming again. –Madhuchandan C, Organic Mandya

The dropout rate in India for students between Classes VIII and X is as high as 47.4 percent. – Jaideep Rao, Mentor India

I know that our whole country can’t become clean in one go, but we have to start somewhere. – Chitiz Agarwal, Scrapos

A one-time good deed, as noble as it is, has limited impact unless it is sustainable. –Subhajit Mandal, Assist The Needy

India, Australia, and Malaysia have recently seen regulatory action or governmental support for promoting board diversity. - Navnit Singh, Korn Ferry International

77% of Indian urban clusters exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for respirable suspended particulate matter (PM10). - Central Pollution Control Board

80 people die each day owing to air pollution, making it the fifth leading cause of premature deaths in India. - World Health Organisation report

When it comes to legally recognising social enterprises, India is still at a nascent stage. - Vijay Yagnamurthy, Tata Trusts

Ability and disability are just human perceptions. - Gota Satish Kumar

There are no problems, only challenges. - Arun Nagpal, Mrida

P2P lending will become one of the most profitable investment classes in coming years. - Vinay Mathews, Faircent

There is need for collective action towards bolstering growth for our cottage industry. - Parul Mehta, Ishanya Foundation

India has more than 250 million students enrolled in government and private schools. Unfortunately, more than 70 percent of children never complete their education. - Anil Bhansali, Microsoft India

There is no better time for anyone who can read and write in their native Indian language. - Subhashish Panigrahi, Centre for Internet and Society

Social crowdfunding is here to change the face of social activism. - Piyush Jain, Impact Guru

Future growth depends on empowering people. Innovation and globalisation have created opportunity the likes of which has never before existed. – Alec Ross, ‘The Industries of the Future’

Entrepreneurship should be a happy and joyous journey and a journey filled with purpose to be called truly successful. - Ashok Soota, Happiest Minds

It’s time to create brain-compatible preschools rather than brain-antagonistic classrooms. - Swati Popat Vats, Podar Education Network

The greatest waste is an unfulfilled idea that fails to connect with audiences, not because it’s a bad idea, but because it’s not packaged in a way that moves people. – Carmine Gallo, ‘Talk Like Ted’

Solar industry’s growth has bolstered employment and vocational training for the rural youth. - Himamsu Popuri, Nuevosol

It is our moral obligation to make an impact. - Bhavin Turakhia, Directi

Do something good; it will come back to you. - Srikanth Bolla, Bollant Industries

Age doesn't really matter when it comes to pursuing your passion. There's space for everybody, young or old. - Nisha Madhulika

In urban areas, the biggest challenge is that 90 percent of people have not even heard of the concept of being able to sell electricity back to the grid. - Pranesh Chaudhary, ZunRoof

The right choice is something you’re so passionate to do that you’re going to do it even if you don’t make any money. - Jazmin Hupp, How Women Grow

For India to be relevant on a global scale, there is a need for millions of trained and skilled individuals. Education is the only way to get rid of poverty. - Akshat Shrivastava, MillionLights

While the country transitions towards becoming a modern skill-based economy, many are being left behind due to a lack of competent skills. - Malvika Dwivedi, Green Batti Project

How much public goods Indian entrepreneurs create will determine the richness of the Indian innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. – Prof. Anil K. Gupta, IIM Ahmedabad

There are 1.2 million government schools in India and almost all of them have poor infrastructure and fail to make a big impact. - Faizal E. Kottikollon, KEF Holdings

If widows are educated, vocationally trained, and can look after themselves, greater social acceptance will automatically follow. - Bindeshwar Pathak, Sulabh International Social Service Organisation

It’s important that people hear the story about the survivors of acid attacks and know they can lead normal lives. - Reshma Qureshi, Make Love Not Scars

Demonstration of computer literacy, language proficiency, and communication skills are of the utmost importance for the visually disabled. - Erandi Palihakkara, ARISE Impact

Adopt because you want to become a parent and not just because it is a noble deed. - Rhituparna Mitra, BabyChakra

This (young age) is the only time that you can chase your dreams. As you grow older responsibilities increase especially for women. - Nagasravya Tandule, AAMI

'Schooling for all' shorn of perspective is a death knell for all. – Aparna Krishnan

Buildings and cities are not ends in themselves; they are parts of the larger cyclical loops of nature and should be planned as such. - Trupti Doshi, Sharanam Rural Development Centre

Every year the damage we give back to the water bodies in the name of festivals is absurd. - Dattadri Kothur, Tree Ganesh

Art is something that transports us into different realities and inspires people. - Kalki Subramaniam, artist

Historically, Indian households have been frugal and people believed in avoiding wastage and using up every little thing as much as possible. This mindset is changing. - Kamalbir Kaur, Saadgi Creations

The presence of residues of insecticide in food commodities and other components of the environment is a matter of serious concern. – Anand Dholi, Farm2Kitchen

It’s been a great adventure – founding a business, growing it and selling it. But it’s not for the faint hearted. - Manisha Lath Gupta, IndiaArtCollectors

Doing good should be as easy as going for a walk. – Impact Run

It’s phenomenal how much a human is capable of contributing. - Lalitha Raghuram, MOHAN Foundation

If only 10 percent of potential donors in India donate blood once in six months, it'll be sufficient for the whole of Southeast Asia. - Raghav Baldwa, Blood Sure

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).


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