Social entrepreneurs: contribution to the development of the social sector

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the remarkable role of social entrepreneurs and their significant contribution to the development of the social sector.

During this period, he worked in the form of resource mobilization, awareness dissemination, distribution of essential goods/services, counseling, dispelling myths, ensuring home care services, building community service centers, testing facilities, and supporting vaccination campaigns. made a very important contribution.

Social enterprises other than non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operate in the free market. They can be for-profit, non-profit, or mixed—any kind. Now that the number of social entrepreneurs is increasing, they need immediate help from the government.

Social Entrepreneurs and their Importance

Focus on Social Problems: Social entrepreneurs mainly focus on social problems. They initiate innovation by mobilizing the available resources to build a social order to solve social problems.

Agents of Change in the Social Sector: Social entrepreneurs act as change-makers in society and thus inspire others to contribute to the development of mankind. They not only act as a strong catalyst in society but also act as agents of change in the social sphere.

Bringing Change: They embrace a mission to create and maintain social value. They identify new opportunities and follow them strictly. They constantly engage in the process of innovation, adaptation, and learning.

Increased accountability: They act boldly without being limited by available resources and demonstrate high accountability to their target groups.

Improving people’s lives These extraordinary people have come up with brilliant ideas and have overcome all odds to create new products and services that dramatically improve people’s lives.

Helpful in building an inclusive society: They are also playing an important role in inclusive reforms and reconstruction of communities at the grassroots level.

Examples: Ila Bhatt (Self-Employed Women’s Association- SEWA), Bunkar Roy (Founder of Barefoot College, which helps rural communities become self-reliant), Harish Hande (She has reached out to the poor through her social enterprise ‘Selco India’ Indian entrepreneurs have contributed to addressing some of the major global challenges in India.

promoting social entrepreneurs

Social entrepreneurs with less than three years duration as well as for-profit social entrepreneurs should be allowed to avail financial assistance through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) financing.

At present this is not allowed in the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected marginalized communities, social entrepreneurs have made significant contributions to serving these communities by utilizing their resources to the fullest.

They need capital to continue their work and to accelerate the reconstruction and recovery efforts.

Defining social enterprise: The lack of an official definition acts as a hindrance. For example, the United Kingdom’s Department of Trade and Industry defines them as a business operated with social objectives, whose surplus is primarily driven by the need to maximize profit for shareholders and owners in the business or community, rather than by Reinvestment is done for the fulfillment of social purpose.

There is no specific ministry or department in India to address the problems of social entrepreneurs, from which they are unable to get focused support.

They need a reference point in the government. NITI Aayog can make a significant contribution to the sustenance of this sector.

Promoting not-for-profit startups: The ‘Start-up India’ initiative has addressed for-profit startup social enterprises, but not-for-profit startups have not been brought under its purview so far. Their inclusion can also be an important step in this direction.

The provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) should be simplified for social enterprises so that they can receive funds through international donors. Opportunity to huge global capital and a more inclusive, flexible, and time-bound withdrawal approach in the FCRA guidelines will provide a major relief to the social enterprises facing financial crunch, especially those engaged in pure social and business activities. 

Easing the bidding process for social projects: Social entrepreneurs—especially small and micro organizations that implement projects at the grassroots level and innovators who come up with innovative solutions—are often involved in the bidding process for government-sponsored schemes and programs. are unable to participate.

Marking the Work: For over a decade, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and the Jubilant Indian Foundation has been nurturing social entrepreneurship through the annual ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ (SEOY) India Award.

Other such initiatives to encourage social entrepreneurs should be adopted.

Conclusion

It is essential to develop a sustainable ecosystem that is critical to motivating social entrepreneurs to launch new programs, reduce pandemic-induced gaps, expand the scope of existing initiatives, and become part of the mainstream response system.

Social entrepreneurs face many challenges. By supporting their responses, we can significantly enhance their on-ground efforts and help India’s inclusive recovery.

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