Emerging Trends in Social Entrepreneurship Development

May 24, 2022

Entrepreneurship is gaining significance as societies and countries slowly realise the importance of small businesses and start-ups in the robust development of economies. Meanwhile, entrepreneurship is essential in defining career paths as young people seek better rewards in exciting and creative roles than conventional and staid ones.

Conventional entrepreneurship and businesses mainly look at profit and market maximisation. When markets reach saturation and pressures due to competition mount, organisations begin to look at perspectives on contributing to society. What if we told you that many young development professionals in the social sector are challenging this notion and creating enterprises and becoming social entrepreneurs to ensure that communities benefit from their ventures right from the start?o

Take, for example, Chandigarh-based Karn Singh who founded social enterprise called Oorja Sustainable Solutions LLP and had been at the forefront of COVID-19 response measures in Chandigarh, Punjab, and Haryana during the second wave last year.

Karn Singh’s social enterprise

During the second pandemic wave, Karn Singh’s social enterprise Oorja Sustainable Solutions LLP was at the forefront of COVID-19 response measures in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana. The organisation partnered with 22 community social purpose organisations and eight COVID-19 care facilities to distribute ration kits, medicines, and support in providing medical care equipment and oxygen concentrators and cylinders.

- Karn Singh, PGP-DM Batch of 2018-19
Founder of Oorja Sustainable Solutions LLP

Similarly, Sandeep Kumar’s innovative telemedicine platform DigiSwastya Foundation responds to the community’s needs regarding timely diagnosis and treatment in Sant Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, through online consultations, smartphones, and electronic devices.

 innovative telemedicine platform

Sandeep Kumar’s innovative telemedicine platform DigiSwastya Foundation aims to bridge the gap between patients and doctors through online consultations through smartphones and other electronic devices. The foundation has a telemedicine centre where healthcare provisions and facilities are scarce and difficult to avail. The centre is equipped with a doctor and paramedical staff.

- Sandeep Kumar, PGP-DM Batch of 2020-21
Co-founder of DigiSwastya Foundation

Both Karn and Sandeep have graduated from The Indian School of Development Management (ISDM) with a Post Graduate Program in Development Management (PGP-DM). The program brings in a cohort of young individuals in the social sector to establish and strengthen their leadership skills and urges development professionals like Karn and Sandeep to think outside the box through tailored courses on Strategic Innovation of Social Change, Technology and Management, Social Enterprise, Impact with Scale and Sustainability. The students reflect on existing processes and develop sustainable solutions to societal issues. By overcoming barriers in food and healthcare access and affordability, social enterprises like Oorja and DigiSwastya are ensuring equity and dignity in the well-being of all.

How do Social Entrepreneurs play the role of Change Agents?

The rising trend of Social Entrepreneurship is fuelled by the need for organisations to adopt a human-centric approach to business. The sustainability of society and organisational success is the new mantra as government apathy, and the failure of capitalistic methods keep increasing disparities and putting pressure on resources.

Gregory Dees, who is known as the ‘Father of Social Entrepreneurship Education’, states that social entrepreneurs act as change agents by:

  1. Adopting a mission to create and sustain social values (not just private values)
  2. Recognising and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission
  3. Engaging in the process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning
  4. Acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand, and
  5. Exhibiting heightened accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created

Like students undergoing the PGP-DM course at ISDM, social entrepreneurs look at identifying and pursuing opportunities to fulfil society’s needs. The innovative and blended approach adopted towards management creates value for the community and the organisation, crucial in social entrepreneurship.

What are a few Emerging Trends in Social Entrepreneurship Development?

As social entrepreneurs looking to bring their ideas to serve communities, students need to keep track of evolving trends within social entrepreneurship. The ethos of social entrepreneurs lies in the social challenge they seek to solve with their venture. It also provides a lens for how they look at opportunities. Some emerging trends in social entrepreneurship look like

  1. Public-Private Community Partnerships
    Social innovation encourages a blend of efforts from three parties - social purpose organisations (SPOs), the government, and the community, working together to fulfil societal needs. When initiatives fail to look at the community and involve them in decision-making processes that affect them, they will be less inclusive. While SPOs provide funds and expertise in an economically viable business model, they need to be guided in the right direction by active participation from the government and community.
  2. Creating Shared Value
    Social entrepreneurs look at functioning in a framework to maximise economic growth in conjunction with social progress. By creating value on both fronts, the social entrepreneur will also have to focus on the communities’ needs where it functions in. Sharing created value will look like expanding the framework, expanding the total wealth of knowledge and expertise for mutual and social gain.
  3. Increased Impact Investing
    The focus for social entrepreneurs here is to provide funding to sectors such as healthcare, education, conservation, renewable energy, etc. Besides financial profit, the emerging idea is to address the needs with a positive social or environmental impact. Investments in impact-based social enterprises could take the form of blended fund portfolios. Social entrepreneurs will continue to benchmark the investments with an impact return, leading to efficiency.
  4. Promise of Technology Adoption
    Social entrepreneurship will increasingly need to appreciate the value that technology could bring to social change with proper training and empowerment. Technology can transform social entrepreneurship initiatives by effectively utilising information, creating value and enriching capabilities. Leveraging technology by social entrepreneurs could have a transformative effect by creating self-sufficiency, employability and opportunity, thereby playing a pivotal role in solving social challenges. Besides, technology adoption will impact the perception of marginalised societies as greater adoption will lead to a realisation of potential and capabilities.

When the sector boundaries blur, the aspiring social entrepreneur needs to keep up to date and sync with these new trends. The rapid rise of social entrepreneurship assumes crucial dimensions that offer different thought processes.

Curious about whether you have what it takes to become a change agent?

Journey together with the Indian School of Development Management to establish and strengthen your skills as a budding social entrepreneur. ISDM views the development realm as requiring a thorough understanding of development ideas and management concepts responding to societal needs. The Post Graduate Program in Development Management offered by ISDM will ensure you have the knowledge, tools, and skills to help create a profound impact in the social sector.

If you are considering a career in Social Sector, it might be worth your while to look into PGP -DM program offered by ISDM. You can find more information about the program here:

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