The Future of Social Enterprises in India

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Socially driven businesses comprise one third of the startups globally. Over the years, they have become a growing force in the global economy.

These businesses focus on addressing a social, economic or environmental problem by providing market-driven solutions.

For instance, ‘MUrgency’ is a mobile app that connects people in need of emergency medical help to the nearest doctor, nurse or paramedic. While ‘One Good Thing’ sells gifts made from recycled material to empower the lives of the artisans.

There is a notion that the social enterprises stay small, despite of working for a good cause. These ventures find it difficult to improvise, as they are unable to generate funds by mainly serving the unprivileged sections of the society.

However, startups like Ziqitza, an ambulance service provider have put these beliefs to rest. It has found the most unique method of dealing with the financial challenges. The company has created a business model that uses cross-subsidization to cover the cost of operation, while serving the poor communities. Ziqitza charges rich patients, who take the ambulance to a private hospital, while it takes very little or nothing from those going to the government hospitals.

According to the Former CEO of Ziqitza, Sweta Mangal, India has become a hotbed for social entrepreneurship with over a billion people facing diverse issues.

“With an estimated two million social enterprises, India has enough socio-economic challenges that require attention, and investors are coming forward to help scale innovation in the social sector,” says Sweta Mangal.

More companies are likely to enter the social impact space, as environmental pressure on their industry intensifies. Currently, there is an outrage against the use of plastic, and some startups are already operating with an aim to discourage the use of such plastic and encourage the use of eco-friendly products.

“India with its various issues is relying more on social business to solve the key issues with the population not confident in the political leadership, so the role of social enterprises in India will become more important over time,” she added.

Amidst an upsurge of social enterprises, technology will also play an important role in influencing the other firms to have a positive impact on the environment.

Last modified: March 4, 2019

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