When Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize awardee and founder of Grameen Bank, was contacted by the Nobel Foundation for the customary winner interview, he remarked,
…poverty is an artificial creation. It doesn’t belong to human civilisation, and we can change that, we can make people come out of poverty (sic). The only thing we have to do is to redesign our institutions and policies.
That’s what social entrepreneurship is about: creating business models revolving around low-cost products and services to resolve social inequities. And the realisation that social progress and profit aren’t mutually exclusive has led to many social ventures taking root in India as well.
Examples of successful social projects like Amul or SEWA were few and far between. However, with the slowdown taking the shine off urban, higher-income target markets, organisations focusing on ‘bottom of the pyramid’ audiences have become a reality. But the days of easy funding are over. Given the employment squeeze, it would be natural for aspiring social entrepreneurs to stick to their secure jobs instead. Surprisingly, they continue to launch social enterprises with a vengeance.
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