India needs a social impact revolution, driven by young entrepreneurs and strategic frameworks
There has never been a better time for India to become a model nation for the world and a member state to achieve the 17 UN Global Goals, given the mix of geopolitical unrest coupled with the disruptive effects of the global pandemic.
Data reveals that 50 million people in India are living in extreme poverty. They lack basic nutrition, access to education, proper sanitation, and employment opportunities. And the time is now to make these challenges our greatest opportunity.
The next decade has been hailed by the United Nations as the decade of action. Given the democratisation of information, ideas, and technology, it has caused the perfect storm for humanity to come together and make the impossible possible.
Amidst all this, there’s a new force of young entrepreneurs working to create social impact-driven business models and strategic frameworks by focusing on consumer consciousness as opposed to just profit-driven conventional businesses.
High impact social entrepreneurship in India
India’s social entrepreneurship projects and NGOs are rapidly increasing. These new companies have begun to get worldwide attention and financial interests from enormous corporate players and donors from India and the world.
Aside from the investments, social sector organisations in India can create an impact with the assistance of the government. The public sector initiatives help in facilitating the guidelines and fostering the development of a solid ecosystem for them to be mentored and supported.
The other significant explanation behind the development of social entrepreneurship startups is the expanding mobile phone usage and social media engagement among the youth.
These social ventures use innovation and digital transformation to develop business plans of action that are financially viable and socially significant. They see adaptable opportunities and gaps to fill and create a social impact at a larger scale.
Social entrepreneurs aim at creating and enhancing the ‘social wealth’ of their society. In doing so, their business models and practices are different from a traditional business owner whose focus is to make financial incentive for themselves and their investors.
However, this does not imply social entrepreneurs don't generate income, they simply have an attached social worth to it and are more driven to solve for global grand challenges in more disruptive and unconventional ways.
Lots of resources have been dedicated towards the advent of the fourth industrial revolution in the US, EU and emerging markets. Some countries like Japan are even touting the idea of leapfrogging into the fifth industrial revolution that will usher in a reality that is a sci-fi-like singularity in our future.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that our race towards this kind of industrial progress must be coupled with a deep social consciousness towards what is best for the planet as well as human development. This is at the heart of why we need a social impact revolution that will augment the industrial ones to usher in a new era of human prosperity and flourishing.
The exponential pace creates solutions for our social and environmental challenges while creating new market opportunities faster than conventional counterparts.
Social impact entrepreneurs, strategists, and investors do not solely lean on government resources for support, and that is why they react to social issues more productively. Moreover, not relying on constrained assets from official establishments makes solving global challenges more effective.
The future is now
Developing a social impact strategy and culture to standardise the trend of social impact driven leadership in India can transform society. There’s a growing sense of civic responsibility among the youth of today, making social entrepreneurship their prime choice to venture into as a career path.
This is particularly common in developing economies like India, where vast socio-economic concerns are ready to be addressed. The popularity of social entrepreneurship has increased, considering the progressing COVID-19 pandemic. We have witnessed acts of altruism and heroism from all corners of the nation.
The COVID-19 situation has had a long-term impact on India, and is especially unfavourable to individuals belonging to exposed social groups such as special populations, including below poverty line individuals, the elder population, those with disabilities, the obese, and the vulnerable tribal groups with pre-existing conditions.
The healthcare and economic effects of this outbreak are being borne unevenly and carried by the poor. For instance, individuals without access to running water, displaced, or homeless populations remain exposed to the most harrowing ill effects of the pandemic and its outcome.
A majority of social entrepreneurs in India have reacted to the pandemic as much as they could. The media has been generously highlighting stories where these organisations stepped up in response to the global crisis. Their continuous efforts in the past few months have helped people fight hunger, starvation, loss of jobs, domestic violence and abuse, and even more awful experiences.
Social impact investment and entrepreneurship can be very effective in these fierce and uncertain times, for example, by implementing better healthcare, sanitation, and vocational training.
Associations around the globe are joining the battle against COVID-19 like Maatwerk, Belgium, which set up nine offices to manufacture 10,000 protective masks every day and 12 others to manufacture medical gear and equipment to protect frontline workers against the deadly virus and allow them to stay safe as they continue to save lives and protect us.
Patterns are changing in the business world. Today, millennials and Gen Z do not measure their employers’ business achievement by the profit they have generated, but by the social impact they have had on society.
In other words, a large portion of youth today want to work with organisations that do the "right" thing with regards to creating significant social impact whereby impacting a billion lives is a more meaningful and powerful metric than making a billion dollars.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)