The exponential growth of social entrepreneurship in India

India is ready for a social impact revolution, where entrepreneurs view our biggest problems as potential opportunities.

Entrepreneur Peter Diamandis said it best, “The best way to become a billionaire is to help a billion people”.

A decade ago, if you said you were a social entrepreneur, people would not take you seriously.

Social entrepreneurship has changed from optional corporate charity model to an essential business that will allow organisations to build a sustainable future. It has gained popularity with progressive technology-driven and socially responsible leaders worldwide, especially among the millennials.

Today, startups create social impact-driven business models with a double bottom line, and in doing so, address commercial market demands with purpose-driven leadership at its core.

These entities are created by a new breed of citizens who strive to make a positive impact in a variety of segments that solve for some of the world’s most intractable problems such as global health, climate change, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and conscious capitalism.

The work and advancements of social entrepreneurs today are re-framing new social norms, and the nature of how we have access to services in different sectors.

For example, today smartphones have more computational technology and power than NASA’s supercomputer did when we first landed on the Moon in 1969. Such exponential advancements are fueling historic achievements, thereby reducing the gap between social innovation and market fit.

There has never been an exciting time like this to flourish as a social entrepreneur in India. The timing is right and environment more dynamic with the opportunity to effectively address the complexities of society’s developmental needs with a market fit.

In the past decade, there has been an explosion of newly-formed impact focussed incubators and accelerators, as well as mentors and venture capitalists who are more invested in a new generation of ideas that can transform the world.

Young entrepreneurs require more resources to be continually nourished and guided, given the fact they are driven to solve India’s grand challenges and use it as a model to transform the world.

Social innovation and social entrepreneurship

Given the exponential growth of social innovation and entrepreneurship in India in the recent years, it has inspired a genuine development of interest in the field, and a mindset where social innovators and entrepreneurs firmly believe they can make the impossible possible.

Therefore, generating access to capital and mentorship for social entrepreneurial visionaries and pioneers is much more abundant.

The ecosystem has developed with the help of noteworthy associations, giving the necessary financial and legal support to these businesses in order to succeed in India and create something that is built to last.

Young social entrepreneurs have also been working hard by rolling up their sleeves to create a healthy growth-oriented environment to re-imagine the future.

A host of innovative policies have been able to foster social entrepreneurship in India such as:

Innovative funding

India’s social sector is the second-largest pool of focussed investments. It consists of impact investors at three stages, including seed stage, growth stage, and scaling more mature organisations. Proven industry-leading experts provided by the investors help the companies grow.

Impact incubators

Although growth accelerators focussed on social innovation and impact may be limited in India, their strong financials and scalability have made a sizeable impact on the startups in the ecosystem. This new breed of incubators help founders and teams not just acquire capital and scale, but find their massive transformational purpose and create leaders of the future.

Exponential communities

Entrepreneurs focus on building their own network that consists of individuals who thrive, a group of fellow entrepreneurs with experience and global connections that are aware of possible opportunities that could help new entrepreneurs discuss, share, and learn, creating an extraordinary group of like-hearted founders and exponential leaders.

Co-working culture

The secret sauce of any extraordinary workplace is its culture. The co-working space sector is still nascent in India, but has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years.

Many organisations have come up with innovative ways to attract entrepreneurs to set up their mobile offices with little investment before they grow, which seems to be the future of work given the current pandemic. They organise workshops, trainings, and custom programmes, letting entrepreneurs and industry veterans share and learn in those spaces.

The intersection of India’s innovation, governance, and entrepreneurship ecosystem shows how India is ready for a social impact revolution, where entrepreneurs view our biggest problems as potential opportunities.

The priceless commitment of social enterprise to the society cannot be underestimated, where we can reframe the way in which we bootstrap, grow, and scale startups to not only make a billion dollars, but positively impact a billion lives, and there is no better place to be able to do this than right here, in India.

Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)