If you’re familiar with the social entrepreneur business circle in India then it’s only normal that you’ve come across names like Jeroo Bilimoria, Urvashi Shani, and others like them.
Now, these aren’t your ordinary business gurus. No! These are the good guys in the business circle.
Our list of top 10 social entrepreneurs is made up of those that have made a name for themselves (making a good profit too) by helping their societies and communities.
These people are passionate, selfless, innovative, and zealous; with a drive to ensure that they make the world a better place, one idea at a time. They are Social Entrepreneurs.
Who is a Social Entrepreneur?
A social entrepreneur creates, funds, and implements solutions to social, cultural, or environmental problems. These individuals are willing to accept the risks and efforts of their initiatives to create positive changes in society.
Social entrepreneurs may believe that engaging in this practice would help you find your life’s purpose, as well as assist others to discover theirs and make a difference in the world (all while eking out a living).
Microfinance institutions are an example of social entrepreneurship. These institutions provide banks for unemployed people or groups of low incomes who would otherwise have no access to financial services.
Other social entrepreneurship examples include educational programs, banks in underserved areas, and epidemic aid for children.
All of these efforts are aimed at addressing unmet needs in communities that have been overlooked or denied access to services, products, or basic necessities available in more developed communities.
A social entrepreneur’s main objective is not to make a profit. A social entrepreneur, on the other hand, seeks to make widespread changes in society. Nevertheless, a social entrepreneur still needs to be financially competent in order to succeed.
There is a common misconception that Social Entrepreneurial businesses are not for profit. What about a for-profit Social Entrepreneurial firm? Yes, indeed. That is also a possibility. In India, the word “philanthropreneurship” is not often used.
Philanthropreneurs pool their resources to bring about scalable and long-term social change. As a result, their contribution is intended to go beyond temporary “band-aid” fixes to the problem’s eradication.
Why Do People Become Social Entrepreneurs in India?
There are a number of reasons as to why people choose to go into social entrepreneurship, but here are the top four reasons:
- They are passionate about it
- They enjoy collaboration
- It’s about innovation
- It’s about the people
Social entrepreneurs start businesses with a common goal: Is this going to improve my society? Is this a need that is necessary in my community?
Social entrepreneurship is all about recognizing the social problems and achieving social change by employing entrepreneurial principles, processes, and operations.
It is all about making research to completely define a particular social problem and then organizing, creating, and managing a social venture to attain the desired change.
The change may or may not include a thorough elimination of a social problem. It may be a lifetime process focusing on the improvement of the existing circumstances.
While general and common business entrepreneurship means taking a lead to open up a new business or diversifying the existing business, social entrepreneurship mainly focuses on creating social capital without measuring the performance in profit or return in monetary terms.
The entrepreneurs in this field are associated with non-profit sectors and organizations. But this does not eliminate the need of making a profit.
After all, entrepreneurs need capital to carry on with the process and bring a positive change in society. Along with social problems, social entrepreneurship also focuses on environmental problems.
Child Rights foundations, plants for the treatment of waste products, and women empowerment foundations are few examples of social ventures.
Social Entrepreneurship in the Modern India
Nowadays, the concept of social entrepreneurship is widely used in a variety of contexts.
This concept is now being adopted by the majority of major corporations and brands. These organizations are utilizing social entrepreneurship to address current societal issues.
Examples include educating women about family planning, opening schools in underserved areas, providing low-interest loans to poor people and farmers, establishing waste treatment plants, going green, and planting trees.
The concept of social entrepreneurship is now taught as a separate branch in management courses. Most young people in India are eager to volunteer their services and even come up with brilliant ideas for how to use social entrepreneurship to affect social change.
We have a plethora of well-known social entrepreneurs who have made significant contributions.
Top 10 Social Entrepreneurs in India
#1. Akansha Hazari
Akanksha Hazari is a social entrepreneur in India who empowers the poor and contribute to the development of a better India.
Akanksha led the team that won the Hult Global Case Challenge in 2011, and President Bill Clinton honored her for her innovative idea for expanding access to clean water in impoverished communities.
M.Panni, the resulting company, began in a community outside of Mumbai and implements mobile-based loyalty programs to assist communities in earning development rewards such as safe water, education, health care, and energy.
#2. Trilochan Shastry
Trilochan has proven that there are no limits to what you can achieve if you have the fervor and determination to succeed. He is an outstanding professor at IIM Bangalore who was not happy with the state of the country’s political affairs.
It began as a PIL against politicians but eventually led to the establishment of ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms).
The organization examines the election procedures in India. As a result, his contribution to social entrepreneurship in India is one-of-a-kind. Trilochan is also the leader of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that work to improve the lives of farmers.
#3. Anshu Gupta
Next on our list of top social entrepreneurs in India is Anshu Gupta. Anshu Gupta is an Indian social entrepreneur who founded Goonj, a non-governmental organization (NGO) headquartered in Delhi
Anshu rewrote many of the norms of growth by focusing on the people – not only as material givers and receivers, but also as the primary source of money, skills, and services.
He has devised creative solutions using the urban surplus to address some essential but unmet needs that go outside the development sector’s and civil society’s radar.
Anshu is an Ashoka and Schwab Fellow, as well as one of India’s top social entrepreneurs by Forbes Magazine and Fast Company, while Goonj has won key honors, including the World Bank’s Development Marketplace award and NASA’s Launch award.
#4. Urvashi Sahni
Dr. Urvashi Sahni is a disruptive innovator, social entrepreneur, and women’s rights activist, working to transform education for 35 years. A pioneer in her field, she’s a leading expert and practitioner in education innovation, school governance, curriculum reform, and teacher training.
Dr. Urvashi is the Founder and Chief Executive of Study Hall Educational Foundation. She is also a leading expert in school governance, curriculum reform, and teacher training with a special focus on girls’ education and the use of technology in education.
Currently, her current research focuses on developing and scaling her Girls’ Empowerment Program in India.
#5. Jeroo Billmoria
Jeroo Billimoria has over twenty years of expertise running systems change organizations and is the founder of several creative and award-winning NGOs. She is a Schwab Fellow, an Ashoka Fellow, and a Skoll Awardee. Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) and Aflatoun International are two of her organizations.
Aflatoun International has worked with global partners to provide social and financial education to over 1 million children in 100 countries, while CYFI has built a global network of partners who have collectively created meaningful change in financial inclusion and Economic Citizenship Education for young people in over 160 countries.
#6. Ajaita Shah
Ajaita Shah is a social entrepreneur in India whose objective is to empower rural India. She started from the ground up, with the purpose of bringing the best technology solutions to India’s distant communities at the most affordable prices. She is the CEO and Founder of Frontier Markets.
Frontier Markets is a social tech commerce enterprise building access to last-mile products and services, to rural villages through rural women entrepreneurs called Saral Jeevan Sahelis.
Present in 2,000 villages in India with 10,000 Digital Sahelis helping 700,000 customers adopt products and services in agri, digital inclusion, home appliances, clean energy solutions, since COVID, essential services, and finance.
She is the recipient of prestigious awards including Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Women Transforms India Award, Digital Women of the Year, CNBC’s Women Entrepreneur of the Year, Loreal Women of Worth, and more.
#7. Santosh Parulekar
Next on our list of top social entrepreneurs in India is Santosh Parulekar. Santosh Parulekar is the Co-Founder and CEO at Pipal Tree Ventures Private Ltd.
Pipal Tree Ventures is a private limited organization backed by institutional investors and well-established corporate entities from the construction industry, having its corporate office in Mumbai, India with our branches all over India.
He began ‘Pipal Tree’, an organization that plans to grant formal preparation to the adolescent and gives them trustworthy positions in organizations the nation over.
Since 2007, Pipal Tree has prepared more than 1,500 specialists and plans to open instructional hubs in India in the coming years.
#8. Hanumappa Sudarshan
H. Sudarshan was born in 1950 and graduated as a doctor in 1973. He turned his back on the possibility of lucrative urban practice in favor of working with poor communities, and in 1979 he arrived in the B.R. Hills to work among the Soliga.
In 1981, he founded the Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra (VGKK), with a mission of sustainable development of tribal people through rights-based approaches to health, education, livelihood security, and biodiversity conservation. It has since grown into a sustainable tribal development program.
#9. Harish Hande
Harish Hande is an Indian social entrepreneur, who co-founded SELCO India in 1995. He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2011 for “his pragmatic efforts to put solar power technology in the hands of the poor, through his social enterprise SELCO India.
Having installed the first 1,000 home lighting systems on his own and over 2,10,000 households now through his company SELCO India, Harish is known as a pioneer of rural energy service across the globe.
He and his company have received many national and international awards, including the Ashden award (2005 and 2007), The Tech Museum award (2005), Khemka Social Entrepreneur of the Year (2007), and the Financial Times–ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Award (2009).
#10. Sumita Ghose
Sumita Ghose is the founder and managing director of Rangsutra, a social enterprise that engages both the community and the market to bring about socio-economic development and inclusive growth in rural India.
Over 1,000 craftspeople, most of whom are women, own Rangsutra. Other owners include like-minded organizations and individuals dedicated to establishing sustainable livelihoods for India’s rural craftspeople.
As a social entrepreneur in India, Sumita through Rangsutra helps crafters with design, marketing, technical, and organizational support. Rural industries were also connected into profitable firms so that rural artisans may have regular home and village-based work.
Doing business for a social reason is the most basic definition of social entrepreneurship. Altruistic entrepreneurship is another term for this type of business.
They don’t define success solely in terms of profit; for social entrepreneurs, success is making the world a better place, whatever that is defined.
Instead of waiting for someone else to introduce those reforms, India’s best social entrepreneurs were motivated by a personal and passionate desire to make a difference in people’s lives and their basic needs.
With young social entrepreneurs forging their own routes in their own ways, India’s future seems brighter.