Top 10 social entrepreneurs of India

The majority of us continually say “society is ill,” but no one ever says “we are society,” which is exactly what we are! We see very few people working for the greater good of society rather than for their own personal gain. Have you come across the term “social entrepreneurship”? Do you have any idea how it works? Here’s a quick rundown.

Recognizing social issues and bringing about social change using entrepreneurial ideas, processes, and operations is what social entrepreneurship is all about. It all boils down to conducting thorough study to fully describe a social issue, and then developing, launching, and managing a social venture to achieve the desired change.

A societal problem may or may not be completely eradicated as a result of the reform. It might be a lifelong process aimed at improving the current situation. Today’s society is dominated by social ills. There are currently more issues than solutions. In the middle of this, social entrepreneurs have rushed to our aid.

Here are India’s top ten social entrepreneurs, and kudos to them.

1) Jeroo Billimoria

Jeroo Billimoria

Jeroo Billimoria is a social entrepreneur from India who has founded a number of international non-governmental organizations. Several books have published her work. Aflatoun (Child Savings International), Childline India Foundation, and Child Helpline International are just a few of her most recent projects. Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI), which Jeroo started in 2011, is her most recent effort. 

She is a seasoned social entrepreneur who has founded a number of international non-governmental organisations. Her work has been recognised by Ashoka Innovations for the Public, the Skill Foundation, and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Her work has also appeared in prestigious journals such as The Economist. Her most recent endeavours include Aflatoun, Childline India Foundation, and Child Helpline International.

Top 10 women Entrepreneurs in India

2) Ajaita Shah

Ajaita Shah

Ajaita Shah is a social activist and businesswoman from India. She is the President of the Frontier Innovations Foundation and the creator and CEO of Frontier Markets. Shah has previously worked in India for SKS Microfinance and Ujjivan Financial Services, as well as on several development projects in seven states. She has also provided microfinance advice to the World Bank throughout South Asia and Latin America. She was a member of the Task Force’s Committee on Social Performance. She was a Cordes Fellow, a Clinton Service Corps member, and a Clinton Echoing Green participant.

Frontier Markets (FM) was formed in 2011 to connect rural customers to high-impact items such as solar lighting, smokeless stoves, Agri appliances, smart phones, digital services, and more. To develop a door-to-door rural supply network, the company invests in rural women entrepreneurs and technology. Over 2 million solutions have been sold by the company, which employs 10,000 women entrepreneurs.

Her goal is to start from the ground up, bringing high-quality technology to rural India at a lower cost. She worked for five years in SKS Microfinance and Ujjivan Financial Services, and was named the most influential leader under 30 by Business Week. Her brainchild is the Frontier Markets organisation. Being a 2012 Echoing Green Fellow entails assisting 30 million people living in rural areas.

3) Harish Hande

Harish Hande

Harish Hande, a co-founder of SELCO India in 1995, is an Indian social entrepreneur. The Ramon Magsaysay Award was given to him in 2011 for “his pragmatic efforts to put solar power technology in the hands of the impoverished through his social venture SELCO India.” Hande co-founded SELCO INDIA (a social company) in 1995 with the goal of eradicating poverty in rural India via the promotion of sustainable technologies.

SELCO India is a social enterprise in India that supplies low-income people with sustainable energy. He is the founder of SELCO and is known for constructing 120,000 solar energy systems in Karnataka, with the goal of making renewable energy the primary source of energy in rural India. He developed into an inventor and a social entrepreneur as a meticulous watcher of small details.

SELCO India has won the Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy 2005 and the Accenture Economic Development Award for 2005, both under the leadership of Hande. In 2007, SELCO INDIA was awarded the Ashden Award for “Outstanding Achievement” in the energy sector for the second time. Former Vice President of the United States of America Al Gore delivered the prize.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and the Nand & Jeet Khemka Foundation selected Hande the 2007 Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Hande was named one of Business Today’s “21 young leaders for India’s twenty-first century” in 2008. In June 2008, India Today named him one of India’s 50 transformation pioneers. In 2008, he was named a fellow of the Ashoka Foundation. The Magsaysay Award was presented to him in 2011. In 2011, the Karnataka government honoured Hande with the Karnataka Rajyotsava Prashasti. He was given a Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Massachusetts trustees in 2013. He was given the outstanding alumnus award by IIT Kharagpur in 2014.

4) Sushmita Ghosh

Sushmita is the co-founder and chair of Ashoka Changemakers, the world’s first open source social innovation problem-solving platform. She worked as the Executive Editor of Maneka Gandhi’s national Indian news magazine “Surya” before starting her own freelance journalism business that covered major ideas of any kind. She went to Ashoka with the intention of writing about the organisation, but ended up becoming a member in order to help Ashoka expand up its social entrepreneurship programme in India. She went on to co-found its Latin American initiatives, establish Changemakers, and lead Ashoka for five years. She is a member of the Ashoka leadership team at the moment.

She mostly works with rural Indian craft and restoration, leading to the current success of Rangasutra (a for-profit enterprise) and FabIndia retailing. She collects what she refers to as “priceless” items from these skilled and hard working peasants, allowing them to earn the livelihood they deserve.

5) Trilochan Sastry

Trilochan Sastry

Prof. Trilochan Sastry previously served as Dean (Academics) at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore. He is also a political activist, the chairman of the Association for Democratic Reforms, and a leading figure in the Right to Information movement. Since 2003, Sastry has taught Quantitative Methods and Information Systems at IIMB, as well as a Social Entrepreneurship course since 2012. He was a professor at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad prior to joining the IIMB. Prof. Trilochan Sastry receives the Satyendra K Dubey Memorial Award from IIT Kanpur (2011–12) for his contributions to promoting transparency in science and technology.

A little act of bravery might sometimes be enough to move mountains. This is the social entrepreneur’s backstory. He filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), which eventually became a judgement, pressuring politicians to admit their wrongdoings. His efforts resulted in the formation of ADR (Associations for Democratic Reform), an organisation charged with scrutinising elections every five years. Politicians are now more accountable, and the general public is becoming more aware of what the Constitution of India’s Fundamental Rights actually mean.

6) Hanumappa Sudarshan

Dr. Hanumappa Sudarshan, an Indian social worker and tribal rights campaigner, was born on December 30, 1950. He is well-known in the Chamarajanagar region of Karnataka for his efforts to the upliftment of forest living tribes (mostly Soligas). In addition, he has received the Right Livelihood Award and the Padma Shri.

Following graduation, he went to work with the Ramakrishna Mission’s charitable health facilities, which led him to the Himalayas of Uttar Pradesh, Belur Math in West Bengal, and Ponnampet in Karnataka. Instead of pursuing a medical career in the city, he chose to engage with tribal populations, founding the Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra in the Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka in 1980. He is also the founder and Honorary Secretary of the Karuna Trust, which works to develop rural areas in Karnataka and Arunachal Pradesh. Swami Vivekananda’s concepts of manhood and nationhood are said to have inspired him. For rural development, he favours Gandhian ideas.

Sudarshan Army:

Shaunak Chakraborty, an Indian poet, was so inspired by his ideals and contributions to society that on July 30, 2019, he founded the Sudarshan Army, a non-profit organisation that bears his name. His doctrine, Gandhism, is the foundation of this organisation.

Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra (VGKK):

Dr. Sudarshan founded the VGKK in October 1981, and it has since worked with tribals in Karnataka’s Chamarijanagar and Mysore districts, as well as tribals in Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh, and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, interacting with over 20,000 individuals. A tribal kid has always served as President of the organisation. President Jadeya Gowda is one of Dr. Sudarshan’s first few students. For the tribes of the B R Hills, VGKK maintains a 450-student school where they receive an education comparable to that provided in urban areas. Environmental issues, tribal values, and culture are all covered in the tribal welfare curriculum. 

VGKK also includes a co-operative structure that directly employs tribals, as well as a commitment to sustainable non-timber product extraction and the establishment of tribal firms to process them. The Government of India’s Ministry of Tribal Affairs has recognised VGKK as a recognised voluntary organisation.

Karuna Trust:

Karuna Trust (India), founded in 1986 by Dr. Sudarshan and linked with VGKK, is a rural development organisation that focuses on integrated rural development. The high prevalence of leprosy in the Yelandur Taluk of the Chamarajanagar district prompted the establishment of this trust. Education and livelihood enhancement are two more areas of focus for this trust. In Karnataka and Arunachal Pradesh, Karuna Trust operates 72 Primary Health Care (PHC) Centres across the state. To attain primary health care, the organisation encourages non-profit Public-Private Partnerships with NGOs.

Arun Jaitley, the Finance Minister of India, named him Indian Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014. He founded the Karuna Trust, which is involved in healthcare. The prize is given by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, a well-known organisation.

7) Akansha Hazari

Akansha Hazari

Akansha has been a multitasker since she was a child, and she is now a social entrepreneur, peace negotiator, and businessman who is dedicated to empowering the underserved and contributing to the development of a better India.

Akanksha led the team that won the Hult Global Case Challenge in 2011, and she was awarded by President Bill Clinton for her unique solution for expanding access to clean water in underprivileged regions. m.Paani is a mobile-based loyalty programme that helps communities earn development rewards like safe water, education, health care, and energy. It started in a community outside of Mumbai.

Akanksha was recognised as a recipient of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards Economic Empowerment in 2016. Her attempts in tackling the world water crisis in the form of m.Paani have earned her the honour of being awarded $1,000,000 by President Bill Clinton.

8) Shaheen Mistri

Shaheen Mistri is a social activist from India who also teaches. She is the founder of the Akanksha Foundation, an Indian non-profit educational organisation based in Mumbai and Pune, and the CEO of Teach For India since 2008. As a young college student, Shaheen Mistri entered the Mumbai slums and proclaimed her intention to teach the street children. In 1989, Shaheen established the first Akanksha Center, which enrolled 15 youngsters and enlisted the help of college friends. 

The Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit education project that provided after-school tutoring to children from low-income families, eventually grew out of it. Through its School Project Model, Akanksha now reaches out to more than 6500 youngsters. The centres and schools are located in Mumbai and Pune, respectively. Teachers use an unique teaching style that has earned the foundation international recognition.

Shaheen started Teach For India in the summer of 2008, with the bold goal of giving a great education to all children in India by developing a pipeline of leaders committed to addressing educational disparity. The Teach For India Fellowship recruits India’s brightest college graduates and young professionals to spend two years teaching in low-income schools, with the goal of closing the country’s educational gap. Shaheen is a board member of the Akanksha Foundation and the Simple Education Foundation, as well as an ex-member of the Design For Change, Thermax Foundation, and Teach For All boards.

With the use of a luxury only available to middle-class youngsters, she tackles India’s most serious issue today: education. He enrols slum children in schools that only accept kids from wealthy families, contributing to the reduction of illiteracy at the grassroots level.

9) Aditya Baran Mallik

Institute for Quality Skill Training is led by Aditya Baran Mallik, the founder and CEO (Best First Step Education Pvt Ltd).

His belief is that poverty is the most important test that India and agricultural countries face, and that poverty alleviation should be a point of convergence in the educational process. He believes that poverty reduction should be addressed economically through the business age. His business is quite successful. Best First Step Education Pvt Ltd was a forerunner in India’s social endeavour and professional schooling sectors, and is a National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)-supported and endorsed Training Partner as well as a Kitendo Capital investee business. It has had a friendly effect through its image of the IQST (Establishment for Quality Skill Training).

Aditya Baran Mallik, a social entrepreneur, founded the Institute for Quality Skill Training at the age of 39. The Institute aims to assist talented youth from low-income families in Jharkhand in securing a better job. Until now, the Institute has prepared and hired about 10,000 lower-level competitors. The foundation’s goal was to provide a better alternative to vocations by preparing everyone in the community through talent development.

His creation was the Institute for Quality Skill Training. This organisation helps disadvantaged youth invest in gold in Jharkhand in order to improve their living conditions. It will admit 50,000 students per year and would be spread across 13 states. Kitendo Capital is funding the company, which presently has a revenue of Rs. 2.5 crore (a Switzerland based angel impact investment fund).

10) Chetna Vijay Sinha

Chetna Vijay Sinha

Chetna Gala Sinha is a social activist in India who teaches entrepreneurial skills, access to land, and means of production to women in drought-prone areas of rural India. She is the founder and chairman of the Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank, a microfinance institution that provides loans to rural women. She is the president and founder of the Mann Deshi Foundation. The Reserve Bank of India granted a cooperative licence to Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank, the country’s first bank for and by rural women. 

The Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank is a microfinance institution that specialises in lending to rural women. As a result of the Indian government’s demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee banknotes, Mann Deshi Bank is now assisting rural communities by issuing 500 rupee coins in exchange for 500 rupee notes. The folks in rural areas are the ones who have been hit the worst by the demonetization catastrophe. Mann Deshi Bank has a mobile business school that educates rural women. The bank has touched nearly 310,000 women (84,000 of whom are borrowers) in the two decades after it was founded (in 1997) with a working capital of $708,000 raised from among its 1,335 members.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared demonetisation last November, local sellers were left in the lurch: some sold their items for whatever they could, far below market values, while others gave away their 500 notes for a lower value. Mann Deshi personnel went door-to-door and collected coins from the State Bank of India.

The Mann Deshi Bank already has 100,000 customers, has disbursed more than $50 million in loans, and is constantly developing new financial products to meet the requirements of female micro-entrepreneurs. Mann Deshi is a rural women’s microentrepreneur who conducts Business Schools, a Community Radio station, and a Chamber of Commerce. Nearly half a million women have benefited from it so far.

She’s a member of the Ashoka community. She was also named India’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2013. Its goal is to help these women with financial aid.

Social responsibility is a differentiating characteristic that allows many companies to appeal to specific buyer segments in this age of increased competition.

Social entrepreneurs have proven to be extremely beneficial to society, despite the fact that they have yet to get recognised as a legitimate career. They may be the only group of professionals who operate for the greater good of society rather than for personal gain. They have shown to be quite beneficial to the general public.

So, if you’ve always wanted to be a social entrepreneur, now is the moment. Make a plan now to improve the planet.

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