Social Entrepreneurship Incubator Seeks Smart Ideas To Solve Problems

It was a Nobel Prize that alerted most of Asia to the idea of social entrepreneurship. In 2006, Bangladeshi economist Muhammed Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his micro-finance venture that provided small loans to the poor. In an interview after accepting the award, he said poverty is an artificial creation and it can be eliminated by redesigning institutions. It's an idea that's caught on in entire sub-continent, especially in India, where many entrepreneurs have started looking to solve community-based problems by creating business models around low-cost products and services.

Indian private companies have a history of participating in social welfare activities, and the corporate social responsibility law has only accelerated their projects for the benefit of the poor and the underprivileged.

But social entrepreneurship - the concept of recognising social problems and trying to solve them using entrepreneurial principles and processes - has not yet reached the scale that a country as vast as India requires.

From micro-finance and cheap banking solutions to solar lighting and vocational training and skilling in rural areas, the ideas for social entrepreneurship are many in different parts of the country, depending on the need.

Countless individuals take huge risks to create some positive change in the society they live in through their innovation, ideas entrepreneurship - but the building blocks of such initiative and entrepreneurship are capital and basic expertise.

Recognising the need for such entrepreneurial activity and support for it, the Pernod Ricard India Charitable Foundation (PRICF) has launched a Social Impact Incubator programme in the country. Its aim is to bridge the gaps that keep social enterprises from reaching their true potential. The programme aims to provide social entrepreneurs with access to technology, mentorship, business development support and incubation funds.

The first chapter of the programme, in association with The Times of India, will focus on water (safe drinking water, sanitation & hygiene, water conservation), agriculture, livelihoods, education, healthcare, waste and energy. Many sustainable social impact programmes across the country will get support in reaching their true impact delivery.

The selection of programmes for the incubator will be done by a distinguished jury, which will also mentor the programme fellows during the incubation. The mentors will be supported through the entire process by the programme adviser PricewaterhouseCoopers. Participants can apply by visiting foundation's website at

"There are numerous social projects which have the potential to deliver a stronger and larger impact on society, except that they do not have access to the required resources, and we aim to support some of them through this programme," said Sunil Duggal, vice-president of corporate affairs at Pernod Ricard India, and chairman of PRICF.

Source: The Times of India

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