Magazine 2012
Social Enterpreneurship -  
The Way Forward  
Dr. Kalpana Deokar  
L.J.N.J. Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai.  
Social entrepreneurship is the process of bringing about social change. As a concept, it was coined long ago  
but has been in the corporate parlance in just the recent past. Traditionally, entrepreneurship has been associated  
with profit making (individuals / companies) who aim high and achieve a lot for themselves in the world of tough  
competition. But, with the empowerment and awareness of the citizens of the developing world, a new revolution  
has started, particularly among the youth of the world. This revolution is the growth of Social Entrepreneurship  
the form of entrepreneurship where profits are not the end result, but just the means to achieve the end result  
of social upliftment and further empowerment.  
The main aim of a social entrepreneurship is to further social and environmental goals for a good cause in a  
financially sustainable manner. Most social enterprises are built on business models that combine a revenue-  
generating objective with social-value generation. In other words, they redefine entrepreneurship as we have  
long known it by adding a social component. In its purest form, social entrepreneurships are non-profits that  
reinvest the money they make to achieve a social goal.  
The concept of social entrepreneurship as a characterization of social responsibility for business organizations  
has gained considerable popularity. There is growing belief in development and donor communities that this  
form of b not only for profitb  activity might be the long-sought way to alleviate poverty at the so-called Bottom of  
the Pyramid (BoP) the poorest segment of society. Yet, there is no consensus within these communities about  
what social entrepreneurship is and how the BoP is defined, making it easier for conventional for-profit activities  
to claim a higher social-service status than many ought to.  
Historical Background:  
The term Social entrepreneurs and Social entrepreneurship were first used in the literature on social change  
during 1960b s and 1970b s. Although in a different context and terminology, its reference is evident throughout  
history. From the yesteryears, a list of few noteworthy people whose work exemplifies classic b social  
entrepreneurshipb  are, Florence Nightingale (founder of the first nursing school and developer of modern nursing  
practices), Robert Owen (founder of the co-operative movement), Vinoba Bhave (founder of Indiab s Land Gift  
movement), Margaret Sanger (Founder of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America) and many more.  
Social Entrepreneur:  
Social entrepreneurship is the work of a social entrepreneur. A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes  
a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to bring about  
a social change. They usually have novel solutions to societyb s pressing problems. Whereas a business  
entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and returns, a social entrepreneur assesses success in  
terms of the impact it has on the society. While social entrepreneur generally work through nonprofit and citizen  
groups, many also work in private and governmental sectors.  
Social Entrepreneurship in India  
Social entrepreneurship is quietly revolutionizing the less privileged sections of India. Here are some of the  
more prominent social entrepreneurs in India.  
b "
Barefoot College, started by Bunker Roy in 1972, has made innumerable school dropouts in villages  
into b barefootb  doctors, engineers, architects, teachers, designers and communicators.  
b "
Dr Govindappa Venkataswamy and Thulasiraj D Ravilla established Aravind Eye Hospital in 1976. Till  
date, it has treated more than 2.3 million outpatients and carried out more than 2.7 lakh operations in  
006-07, about two-thirds of them free.  
b "
b "
Self-Employed Womenb s Association (SEWA) started by Ela Bhatt in 1972 provides financial, health,  
insurance, legal, childcare, vocational and educational services to poor self-employed women.  
Bhartiya Samruddhi Investments & Consulting Services (BASIX) started by Vijay Mahajan is the first  
microfinance project to lend to the poor.  
b "
b "
Narayana Hrudayalaya Institute of Medical Sciences and its network of hospitals run by Devi Shetty  
perform about three dozen surgeries a day. Of these, 60% are carried out at nominal cost or free of  
Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE) run by S Rajagopalan and Svati Bhogle supports the  
development of financially rewarding and environmental-friendly methods invented by leading research  
institutions into thriving enterprises.  
Well known companies like Tata, Birla, and Mahindra Groups have regularly maintained, since several decades,  
a certain level of expenditure for social and charitable cause. Though there are no government directives or  
legal compulsions, some progressive companies in India like SAIL, BHEL etc. in the public sector have ventured  
into the field of social responsibility since 1980. Companies like Infosys, Wipro, Hero Honda etc. have taken  
numerous initiatives such as Hospitals, Blood and eye banks, rehabilitation works for devdasis and widows and  
schools for better education.  
With present economic growth, globalization and tough competition, the importance of social entrepreneurship  
has increased. There is radical change in the relationship between the corporate sector and society.  
Advantages of Social Entrepreneurship:  
Following are some improvements due to social entrepreneurship:-  
Low prices, but quality product for the consumer: It helps in reducing the operation costs therefore prices  
for the product will be low. Social Entrepreneurship simultaneously enhances b Technicalb  and b Allocativeb   
efficiency. SEs combine three attributes central to b growth with equityb :  
Social conscience and ethics,  
Public service delivery and  
The business efficiency  
Increase in Goodwill and Brand name in Market: Due to social entrepreneurship and its social cause,  
there will be an increase of Goodwill in the market.  
Improvement in sales and customers reliability: Customers are increasingly favoring firms based on values  
like b  free of child labor, low harmful effect on environment, absence of genetically modified materials etc.  
Enhanced financial performance: Social aspect of the company and financial performance are linked with  
each other, this result in stable socio-economic environment, improved competitive advantage, employee  
recruitment, better stakeholder relations etc.  
Turnover rate of employees is very low: The social aspect of entrepreneurship has the ability to attract  
and retain employees therefore the rate of turnover of the employees is less.  
Social entrepreneurship plays a very significant role to develop the socio-economic environment because they  
have the ethical values like honesty, fairness, trust, respect and caring for the society.  
Social Entrepreneurship & Business:  
Today government priorities have changed and it now looks at the corporate sector for development in issues  
like education, infrastructure, health, poverty reduction and empowerment of the society as a whole. In order to  
develop the society, ethics are more important. Social entrepreneurship and ethics together tells what business  
organizations should do. Compliance, contribution and consequences are the three Cb s for ethics. Social  
entrepreneurship is now an accepted concept by the corporate sector. All companies whether in public or in  
private sector should also work in for the interest of its public. The objective that is common to both (companies  
and common man) include not only a reasonable return on capital but also concern with the interest of labor,  
society and overall of the nation.  
Social entrepreneurship is a noble business activity that can serve all segments of society. But it is not necessary  
to appear to be helping the poor to gain an elevated social or moral status in business. Some entrepreneurs  
might prefer to invest in social enterprises rather than in regular for-profit businesses, but investment must be  
sought under the right premise. Not to do so is highly unethical, especially because it relates to the poor.  
Social Entrepreneurship is complementary economic approach that is based on value creation and operates by  
its own rules and logic. Yet, it is an approach that seems able to address some of the most pressing problems  
in our society.  
David Bornstein, b How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideasb , Oxford  
University Press  
Charles Leadbeater, b The Rise of the Social Entrepreneurb , Demos, 1996  
Joanna Mair, Jeffrey Robinson, and Kai Hockerts, b Social Entrepreneurshipb , Palgrave, 2006. Peredo, A.  
M., & McLean, M. 2006. b Social Entrepreneurship: A Critical Review of the Conceptb . Journal of World  
Business, 41(1): 56-65.  
Robert Gunn and Christopher Durkin, Social Entrepreneurship: A Skills Approach, Policy Press, 2010  
J. Mark Munoz, International Social Entrepreneurship, Business Expert Press, 2010