December 17, 2016

Tata Social Enterprise Challenge holds third edition of the 'Thinking Social' seminar

"In a free enterprise, the community is not just another stakeholder in business, but is in fact the very purpose of its existence." - Jamsetji Tata, Founder of the Tata group

Patna: Tata Social Enterprise Challenge (TSEC) – a joint initiative of the Tata group and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) held the third seminar FY 2016-17, ‘Thinking Social’, at DNS Regional Institute of Cooperative Management, Patna in partnership with IIM Calcutta Innovation Park and Bihar Entrepreneurs Association (BEA) on December 17, 2016. The day-long seminar sought to introduce entrepreneurs from Bihar to the spirit of social entrepreneurship in a rapidly evolving global economy and addressed the concerns of young, budding entrepreneurs in Bihar. The speakers for the day comprised eminent social entrepreneurs, from Bihar and Bengal who have been working extensively in the Indian social entrepreneurship space.

Subhrangshu Sanyal, CEO, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, addressing the audience at the seminar on 'Thinking Social' in Patna

The seminar was formally inaugurated by KP Ranjan, director, DNS Regional Institute of Cooperative Management. In his opening address Mr Ranjan emphasised on the need of social entrepreneurs for development of society not only in Patna but all across the world. This was followed by an inaugural address by Abhishek Kumar, secretary general, Bihar Entrepreneurs Association (BEA) who welcomed all the eminent speakers and explained the objectives of the seminar and how BEA has played an active role to foster entrepreneurship in Bihar.

Bihar Entrepreneurs Association was founded by young entrepreneurs from the state in 2011 to provide a platform for new enterprises, start-ups and potential entrepreneurs from the state to establish a successful business and with the holistic aim of re-making Bihar as “Enterprising Bihar” by creating an industry and entrepreneur friendly eco-system in the state and building a pool of entrepreneurs for the future. BEA offers an excellent platform for future entrepreneurs, where a prospective entrepreneur can get a single window service, from advisory services to fund raising support.

Subhrangshu Sanyal, CEO, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park spoke about the need for social entrepreneurship in our country and why the youth should be involved in it. He also mentioned the essential qualities which a social entrepreneur should have.

Anuj Kumar, co-founder, Kaushalya Foundation, shared with the audience the vision of his venture and spoke about the work which they are doing in Bihar. He mentioned that Kaushalya Foundation (KF), a non-government, non-profit organization works with rural and urban poor engaged in agriculture and the food sector in an environment-friendly and gender-sensitive manner. KF has impacted more than 10,000 smallholders and the poor, addressing the regressive issues pertaining to their livelihoods, education, gender-relations, health, nutrition and environmental-solidarity.

Gaurav Kapoor, director, Innokul, highlighted the societal challenges of India in the fields of sanitation and education. He also spoke about ‘Wello’, a social venture with a bold mission - to deliver clean water to the thirsty world. He also cited the examples of other social enterprises that are working with the village community to reduce the dropout rates of the girl child

Shashank Kumar, co-founder, Farm n Farmers, shared his experience of a being a successful social entrepreneur. He spoke about how Farm n Farmers (FnF) has minimised the uncertainty and mental trauma of the small and marginal farmers and helped maximize the farmer’s revenue by use of innovative ways of farming by providing support resources offered by the government. FnF has impacted 15,000 farmers over the last 5 years, through its local centers which are situated in villages, run by micro-entrepreneurs, trained and guided by FnF.

Suman Mukhopadhyay, director, Banglanatak.com, shared his journey as a social entrepreneur, the ways to overcome such challenges and how banglanatak.com works with a mission to foster pro-poor growth and safeguard our intangible cultural heritage, through the usage of culture-based approaches for community education and empowerment.

The post lunch session started with 10 pitches from various entrepreneurs to a panel of judges whose ideas and prototypes were shortlisted by BEA. To inculcate the young minds (BEA) had organised the Pitch4Bihar a start-up competition for which the entries were invited from the country for the best business ideas. There were many challenging business proposals from the participants to address the problems in various sectors like: agriculture, e-commerce solutions, career counselling, healthcare services, education and other social problems of society

The session ended with a vote of thanks from Mr Kumar to all the speakers and the participants. He accentuated that the objective of BEA is to create and promote entrepreneurship at the grassroots level starting from village and district level and inculcate innovation and social change drivers in young minds. The Government of Bihar has already launched the start-up policy and has also earmarked a venture capital fund of Rs500 crore for start-ups. BEA and information technology department have also agreed upon setting up a 50,000 sq.ft office space for start-ups in the state capital and is currently looking to partner with institutes/enterprises to hold start-up Yatras all across the country and Bihar to achieve the objective of “Making an Enterprising Bihar”.