2020, a year that will go down in history. And whenever history is written, it shows us immense knowledge. It has taught us to be patient to a generation accustomed to instant gratification. It has given us gratitude for what we have and the resilience to fight what lies ahead.
The year 2020 has left many scars and wounds that will take some time to heal, but when the night is the darkest we are closest to dawn. And that dawn is tied to a silver lining – a more socially conscious humanity, thriving social entrepreneurship, and an ecosystem that supports and nurtures it.
In the darkest hour, it was encouraging to see multiple entrepreneurs take advantage of their current businesses or create new platforms to support social causes and also multiply the forces to combat the opportunities.
Emergence of social entrepreneurship
Today, social entrepreneurship is flourishing and attracting increased attention from many, including the media and investors, while also finding a place on campus.
It is most relevant at this point where India is at the crossroads on the growth curve to reach a $ 5 billion economy in the next few years. All of this is only possible if we have inclusive growth. And so social entrepreneurship is no longer all good; It is the need of the hour.
Financial inclusion is arguably the greatest social investment success story in India. A total of $ 5.5 billion has been invested in financial inclusion since 2010, according to research by the Indian Impact Council. The sector affected around 100 million lower-income citizens through microfinance firms that provide last mile access to small loans and NBFCs that fund SMEs.
Fintech has seen the highest rate of innovation in recent years, expanding financial inclusion to savings, insurance, and payments through engineered alternative credit models. Small business collateral free lending has fueled the MSME revolution in the country, while banks and NBFCs focused on affordable housing are contributing to the dream of “housing for all”.
In healthcare, several breakthrough innovations have helped improve access to affordable healthcare. Many impact investors are now investing in healthcare in India, focusing on Tier II and Tier III cities, offering organized secondary or special care facilities in an organized manner (e.g. specialty services such as maternity, heart or eye care ) or invest in disruptive facilities technologies in the diagnostics market (e.g. cancer detection). This pandemic also sparked the telemedical revolution, which is a remarkable platform for reaching out to patients who otherwise would not have access to qualified doctors.
Agriculture and education are other sectors in which we have seen early ventures. In agriculture, technology is used to improve yields through improved inputs as well as better forecasting of weather conditions.
In the education sector, efforts have been made to improve the educational infrastructure. However, the use of online platforms has improved the ability to reach students and provide them with the content and training they need to make a difference.
Sustainable ecosystem for social entrepreneurship
Social entrepreneurship is a groundbreaking revolution for India. Both government and business have recognized the need to build an ecosystem to sustain this forward. Various stakeholders play a crucial role in this ecosystem:
- Brokers and networks (consultants, bankers) support social entrepreneurs by raising awareness of their priorities and fundamentals and helping them meet their operational and financial needs.
- NGOs, impact investors, philanthropies, development finance institutions, and other funders are adjusting their investment priorities and processes to provide flexible capital and operational support.
- Large corporations support social entrepreneurs in their supply chains, fulfill their agreements and assist them in creating an economy that is inclusive and resilient.
- Government institutions recognize social entrepreneurs as the driving force behind inclusive growth, job security and the promotion of a greener and justified society. Niti Aayog and Invest India are some platforms to support them while policy changes and government plans are other areas of support.
Social entrepreneurship has grown rapidly in recent years and its benefits are recognized. However, the pandemic has brought it to the fore. The path ahead will determine the fate of our country in creating an inclusive, high-growth economy.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)