The times that we’re living in is plagued by different kinds of inequalities. To make things better each one of us would have to try and be more compassionate, aware and dedicated to making the world a better place. Social entrepreneurs are one small section of the population which is trying to push for change.
The MASH Project feels that our society needs more social entrepreneurs because they can help people; lead, make a lasting impact on their communities, and across the globe.
Social entrepreneurs embrace humanity and try to bring about change. Money is obviously an important factor when it comes to running an organisation, but it shouldn’t be the only determining factor. People often forget this and need to be reminded that social entrepreneurship is bigger than money, and it has been that way for years. It’s about earning a little differently: collecting smiles, investing in trust and ultimately passing on the baton of change.
Two non-profits, the MASH Project and Ashoka India jointly organised a series of events called ‘Coffee and Conversations on Social Entrepreneurship’. The focus of these events was on embracing the beauty of social entrepreneurship, to generate awareness about the social sector and to create a platform where experienced social entrepreneurs can have a one-on-one interaction with interested students.
A total of eight Enactus chapters from colleges across Delhi University, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and Jamia Millia Islamia participated in these events conducted from April 17 to April 20, 2017. The sessions were organised with the aim to realise the importance of changemaker skills (empathy, teamwork, creative problem solving and collaborative leadership) among students. Through various stories, Mr Yashveer Singh, Director, Ashoka Innovators for the Public, South Asia, shared his learnings from the work of Ashoka Youth Venturers (an international community of young changemakers). It was an informal discussion in a formal setting. The sessions turned out to be a great learning experience not just for the Enactus members but also for all those in attendance.
Some of the key learnings included understanding the concept of demand vs. assumed need. The focus was on deep learning, understanding the gap and design a venture around the critical demands of the community that you are working with. We also discussed how ownership and dignity are interlinked. The communities these social entrepreneurs work with are considered partners in the development process and hence, various stakeholders are involved in the process. How changemakers continuously work to build the capacity of their teams and attain sustainability was also something that was highlighted.
We also discussed how to quickly scale initiatives, which could be done by collaborating with other aligned partners, that is, a partnership with other like-minded organisations. Even though the above-mentioned points helped us grow, the ultimate learning point remained the same – ‘small is beautiful, big is essential’, which implies that changemakers essentially work to change the systems rather than being content with addressing issues at the micro level.
The discussed ideas sparked a lively debate among all those in attendance. It was an opportunity for the participants to get hands-on guidance with their ongoing and future projects, replacing possible challenges with tangible solutions.