Social enterprises which generate revenues but where profit is not the primary motive. This is a new breed of entrepreneurs, a new model of ‘doing good’ and not mere charity.
Bindeshwar Pathak - born 1943
When Bindeshwar was a young boy, his grandmother once made him eat cowdung to ‘purify’ himself, after contact with an untouchable. The same Brahmin boy grew up to lead a movement we know as ‘Sulabh’. A revolution in toilets and a rightful place in society, for those who once cleaned them.
RAGS TO RICHES
Anita Ahuja - born 1960
Like many well-to-do women in Delhi, Anita Ahuja took up social work. But, deeply moved by the plight of ragpickers, she decided to do something to improve their lives. Today. Anita and her husband Shalabh run a unique income-generation program – recycling plastic waste to create beautiful export-quality handbags.
Vineet Rai - born 1971
Aavishkaar Social Venture Fund
Quite by accident, 25 year old Vineet Rai became CEO of GIAN – a network to support grassroots innovation. From there came the idea of setting up a micro-venture fund for rural entrepreneurs. Today, Aavishkar supports 23 companies which generate profits – and returns to investors – but also address important social issues.
WEAVE THE PEOPLE
Sumita Ghose - born 1960
Sumita married an idealistic young IRMA graduate – Sanjoy Ghose – and made a career in the NGO sector. In 1998, Sanjoy was murdered by ULFA; Sumita had to pull herself together and chart a new course. Today, she runs Rangsutra, a for-profit venture which sources craft and textiles from villages and retails through Fabindia.
Saloni Malhotra – born 1981
As a 23 year old engineering graduate Saloni decided to do something different with her life. Three dots in her head – ‘rural’, ‘technology’ and ‘business’ – connected to form DesiCrew, India’s first rural BPO. The project has also became a feather in the cap of IIT Madras, which incubated the idea.
Ishita Khanna – born 1977
Ishita is young, idealistic and passionate about conservation. But, she believes it must go hand in hand with development. Through Ecosphere, Ishita promotes eco-tourism and berry processing – economic incentives to mountain folk to preserve their majestic heritage.
Harish Hande – born 1967
Harish Hande is a ‘mad’ scientist. As a PhD student, he spent two years living in rural Sri Lanka and India, before starting Selco, a company which makes solar lighting suitable – and affordable – for villagers. Selco has installed 120,000 systems in Karnataka, and plans to take the mission national, in the near future.
TREE OF LIFE
Santosh Parulekar – born 1969
Santosh was a well-settled IT professional until one fine day the job demanded he go out and learn all there was to know – about microfinance. Today, he runs a unique social enterprise which transforms poorly educated rural youth into highly skilled construction workers.
TEACH A MAN TO FISH
Dinabandhu Sahoo – born 1961
Dinabandhu Sahoo is a marine biologist who’s stepped out of his laboratory, into the real world. Through Project Chilika Sahoo has trained villagers in Orissa to ‘farm the ocean’. Sowing the seeds of a ‘Blue Revolution’, a new hope for millions across the world.
THE HUNGRY TIDE
Anand Kumar – born 1973
Anand Kumar is a mathematics teacher who ran his own coaching classes. But in 2002, his classroom turned into a unique social experiment, tutoring poor but meritorious students for IIT JEE. In 2008, all the students of ‘Super 30’ cracked the exam, igniting hope in the heart of darkness. A hunger to succeed, in gaons and gullies, across India.
THE SOUND OF SILENCE
Dhruv Lakra – born 1980
Dhruv Lakra could have become an investment banker. Instead, he invested in a very offbeat idea – a courier service employing the deaf. In a short span of two years, Mirakle Couriers is a robust business, competing with the best. And Dhruv dreams of making it as big as FedEx, but keeping that social edge.
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