“A social entrepreneur is a system changing entrepreneur.”
MASH Project and Ashoka jointly organized ‘Coffee & Conversations on Social Entrepreneurship‘ on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 in Motilal Nehru College , Delhi University.
It was a two hour interactive session led by Mr. Yashveer Singh, Director, Youth Venture, Ashoka, the founder of National Social Entrepreneurship Forum and a Forbes 30 under 30 achievers and Mr.Ajit Singh , Founder , Anant Learning and Development Pvt. Ltd. and an Ashoka Fellow.
Yashveer sir started the conversation by telling us how we need to understand the concept of ‘need versus demand’ and also told us how the social sector demands a change in our perception. How we react to problems must create a positive environment. Mindset about the problem must be changed.
We then discussed the importance of change-makers’ skills, some of which includes providing direct service and scaling up after being sustainable.
Yashveer sir then told the students how ASHOKA came into existence.
He also discussed the 4 stages of social entrepreneurship:
1. Direct service stage
2. Implementation and scaling
3. Scaling up the idea, not only ur organisation
4. Frame change- when everyone starts considering the problem as there problem
As the event came into being, the students started discussing the problems faced by them in there respective projects. Some of the various problems discussed were expansion, responsiveness, revenue, etc.
Dr. Yashveeer Singh also threw some light on implementing systemic and frame changes for being successful social entrepreneurs. Frame change happens when the problem becomes everyone’s problem. Emphasis was laid on the values of empathy , creativity , leadership and teamwork that youth must embody to cater the needs in the current eco- system.
Then Ajit sir talked about the struggles that comes in way of being a social entrepreneur. Explaining how easily we get distracted by the term ‘social service’ , he pointed out that we completely ignore the importance of funds. , Hence , It is high time we accept that every sector needs support to grow, be it in monetary terms or non-monetary terms. In a debate on profit versus not-for-profit, he personally feels that NGOs are dependent on people for grants and we don’t even get the freedom to invest it the way we want to. If we approach government for the same, they demand quick results or ask for a proof on revenue generated and this shifts our focus from social work to revenue generation. The initial basic idea of doing something for the society gets disturbed.
He also shared how travelling helped him analyse this sector. He feels that we should ask the end users about skill development because we need to figure out what happens with the students once the training session is over. Ajit sir concluded by saying that we can work in any sector we want, as long as it is creating an impact because we should create a movement and not just run a business model.
A very informal discussion in an extremely formal environment about a lot of things made this session a unique and fun one to be a part of.
A heartfelt thanks to Yashveer sir and Ajit sir for your ideas sparked a lively debate among all of those in attendance.