Grassroots toil

10 social entrepreneurs who are leveraging innovation and cutting-edge technology to make a difference

Photo: Soumik Kar

While successful mainstream entrepreneurs have their eventual tryst with fame, a whole bunch of unknown upstarts have been equally enjoying the thrill of running enterprises where profit is not the main motive. Social entrepreneurs are more focused on resolving a problem that impacts the underprivileged, and ensuring a win-win for all stakeholders is what social enterprises thrive on.

Despite our country making rapid progress after 70 years of being an independent nation, there is still a large swathe of the population that does not have access to basic necessities. While healthcare, education and agriculture continue to be focus areas for social enterprises, a whole host of employment opportunities are being generated in the ancillary sectors as well. 

For the past eight years, Outlook Business has been publishing its annual special edition, Good Businesses, and has covered close to 200 social enterprises till date. This endeavour has taken our reporters to far-flung corners of the country from Kiruphema in Nagaland, to Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, to Pullazhi in Kerala and they always return with new found inspiration after meeting these enthusiastic entrepreneurs.

In the current issue, we have an eclectic mix of entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds who are trying to build sustainable business models across sectors. Providing jobs to unemployed youth or improving their employability through skill upgradation, helping farmers not only imbibe best practices but also integrating them into the supply chain; affordable healthcare and better waste management, are just some of the areas where these entrepreneurs are trying to make their mark. 

What is heartening is that most entrepreneurs have managed to secure the backing of either an impact or angel investor. While some are veterans, an equal number of newbies are leveraging innovation and cutting-edge technology in their drive to make a difference. Though the government is doing its bit, for now it’s these entrepreneurs who are proving to be the flag-bearers of change.