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May 2018

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 may 2018

According to British Council's 2016 report, 'The State of Social Enterprise in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan', there are more than two million social enterprises in India with 24% of them led by women. India is one of the fastest growing economy and it needs more social entrepreneurs to tackle socio-economic problems. Women have to enhance their participation. But, existing stereotypes alongwith lack of investor confidence are major hurdles in the way. According to the World Bank, labour force participation rate for women in India has fallen from 37% in 2004-05 to 27.2% in 2017, which is quite low in comparison to developed nations. Increasing participation of women in workforce is vital for balanced growth of the country. Archana Raj, Team Leader at Save The Children, says 'Despite these low indicators, it is worth mentioning that there are new generation women who have broken the barriers of societal norms and regressive mindsets to pave way to the new world of entrepreneurship. Over the past few years, it has been observed that more women are choosing this as a career over other options, making a mark in the start-up ecosystem. Nonetheless, the aim must be to reach higher, which can help the rest of the women of our country to rise beyond the barriers and choose for themselves.' Jamie Cid, a social entrepreneur and founder of MobiHires, says, 'I think that there is a great opportunity for women social entrepreneurs in India, especially mothers returning to the workplace, who develop products and services based on their experience and solve problems in their community. With platforms like Sheroes, Reboot, SheThePeople and Lean In India initiatives that support and invest in women social entrepreneurs, this is the right time to be one.' In one of the blog posts of World Bank, Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation and founder of TrustLaw and Trust Women, gives the example of Ajaita Shah who works in rural regions of India. Shah's organisation, Frontier Markets, sells and distributes products to rural households. The organisation calls itself a 'for-profit business with a social mission'. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, India ranks 35th among countries that are the best for women social entrepreneurs, with the US, Canada and the UK occupying the top three positions. Manju Yagnik, vice chairperson of Nahar Group and member of Indian Merchant Chamber, says, 'I personally do not believe in male-female classifications. I do not think capabilities and talent can be differentiated as per gender. Today's women do not seek sympathy. They want equal opportunities when it comes to decision-making in financial capabilities, which is still male-dominant. Thankfully, with the modern society promoting and striving for gender equality, the position of women is improving year after year. Women entrepreneurs in India are bringing revolution and growth in the public and private sectors. With the help of government initiatives, they will grow further.' Manisha Gupta, founder and director of Start Up!, says, 'Regardless of whether a woman is a social or business entrepreneur, she has to negotiate through an ecosystem that has been structured for men to succeed. Not only do we need more women social entrepreneurs but also an ecosystem where there are more women leaders at every level. We need them as coaches, investors, in finance, as leading incubators, etc to break the template.' Citing challenges women face, Ms. Raj comments, 'Pressures of social norms and societal biases force women to give up the job while tough competitive market further make their work challenging.' Ms. Yagnik feels the need for more women entrepreneurs in India. She says, 'Social entrepreneurship might be a great opportunity for Indian women professionals to break through the glass ceiling that typically exists in traditional corporate life.' Ms. Cid suggests social entrepreneurs to stay positive and focus on the bigger purpose and stay passionate about their goal. Explaining capabilities of women entrepreneurs, Ms. Gupta says, 'I always say that women social entrepreneurs use the 3Rs - resilience, relationship and resistance – to build and grow their ventures. They are masters of resilience, I have seen many women without any resources, standing on their own and building a business in rural regions. They also demonstrate strong capabilities of building connections and meaningful relationships with stakeholders which takes them far.' Read on...

SME Futures: Nascent social entrepreneurship sector in India is beginning to look at women leaders for growth
Author: Anushruti Singh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 may 2018

Traditionally, businesses have been using corporate social responsibility (CSR) to contribute to society and tackle social issues through philanthropy, charitable giving, offering employees volunteer time etc. Recently, a letter to shareholders by an influential investor, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, rekindled the debate around purpose and effectivenesss of CSR. His messages was, 'To achieve their full potential, public and private companies need to do more than simply give of their time and money; they need to find more innovative and impactful ways to contribute to solving the broader challenges in society.' Katie Bouton, Founder and CEO of Koya Leadership Partners, explains the need to better integrate business goals with public purpose and balance financial obligations to shareholders. This can be achieved through 'Purposeful Engagement', a more impactful CSR strategy. Ms. Bouton suggests the key elements to integrate into this new operating strategy - (1) Articulate a Larger Purpose: Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, described their larger purpose as, 'Coffee is what we sell as a product, but it's not the business we're in. We're in the people business.' Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple, often talked about the company's larger mission of making high quality computers available to everyone. (2) Align Business Goals with Social Purpose: Larger purpose should be designed and implemented in a way that is integral to business success. Every employee should be engaged with larger mission. Measurements should be developed for every department and business line. (3) Integrate Resources to Maximize Impact: Lack of coordination and integration wastes resources. CSR efforts are often siloed in differenet departments. All departments should work together for a common purpose. (4) Build a Diverse and Inclusive Team: A McKinsey study showed companies with higher-diversity leadership teams and boards have 30% more success than those that don't. (5) Understand the Future Workforce: Millennials will make up over 50% of the workforce by 2020, according to PwC. Values and purpose are priorities for them. Purposeful Engagement becomes vital to attract and retain the talent for future. Read on...

Chief Executive: Beyond CSR - Leading With More Purposeful Engagement
Author: Katie Bouton


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