1 Aug 2018, 09:35 — 4 min read
What is social entrepreneurship? Put simply, a social entrepreneur is a person who creates a business with the aim to solve problems in society, the environment or culture. Social entrepreneurs are motivated by the difference they make to the community they are engaged with. It is a misconception that social entrepreneurship is not economically profitable. In my experience, if the business model is sound, a social enterprise can be a profitable undertaking. Moreover, profits help in scaling the social impact.
Social entrepreneurship in India has immense growth potential. There are many issues that need addressing and social entrepreneurship can provide sustainable solutions for many of those. I am optimistic about the future of social entrepreneurship, and the sky is the limit when it comes to harnessing business tools to make a difference in society.
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of the World Economic Forum has said, so succinctly “Beyond their direct reach and impact, social entrepreneurs represent a powerful idea, an idea that is relevant today more than ever before – that business can be a vehicle to create both economic value as well as contribute to building a fair and equitable society.”
Things to remember when starting up
There are five main things to remember when thinking of starting a social enterprise:
The product must be good.
The story around the product offering must also be interesting.
The cause should be clearly defined as this helps persuade people to take up the cause and take pride in making a difference.
Resources must be available in terms of capital and workforce.
The startup culture is getting stronger and people are looking forward to being a part of something exciting.
My experience as a social entrepreneur
My company Greensole was started by me and my co-founder Ramesh Dhami when we were quite young. I was 19. Coming from a business background may have helped in starting up, which is the hardest part, and then running and growing the business. The business problem we were trying to solve was this - 350 million shoes go into landfills every year & this causes massive detrimental environmental effects. Over 1.5 billion people incur diseases that can be directly attributed to a lack of proper footwear. This insight set the stage for our social venture.
As athletes, who went through multiple pairs of shoes in a year just for running, we thought recycling these shoes and provide them to those in need by partnering with corporate sponsors who would be our primary buyers - sending our products on to the final consumer. We got together and got some factory space to begin. They gave us factory space which we use as our workspace and storage facility. This helps keep our costs low as we don’t pay rent or electricity, but they do have them some stake in the enterprise.
We are now looking to become a for profit organisation and have a retail range which can be found online. The company is growing slowly, but on its own steam.
Advice to aspiring social entrepreneurs
Don’t be scared. Social entrepreneurship is not just something to do at an older age. Being a part of a social enterprise at a young age can be a great way to be a part of something meaningful and also provide a livelihood for yourself. All that is required is courage and a vision.
To explore business opportunities, link with me by clicking on the 'Invite' button on my eBiz Card.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
Posted byShriyans Bhandari
Leading the company, defining the long term strategy and meeting the long term goal of footwear on every feet