Top 10 Most Famous Social Entrepreneurship in India

Mashum Mollah 30 December, 2020
Social Entrepreneurship in India

Social entrepreneurship is an entrepreneurial initiative whose aim is to take a social problem and transform it in the best way possible. A social entrepreneur is an individual who takes up this challenge. These individuals use the principles of entrepreneurship with the intention of creating social capital and they are not essentially profit-minded.  

The primary goal of social entrepreneurship is promoting the course of environmental or social goals. These have impacts on either the times to come or the present. These entrepreneurs are often associated with or a part of some non-profit organizations. Even though one of the concepts of this aspect is profit-making, it is not the sole purpose of social organizations. 

The purpose of this article is to look at the top names in the list of social entrepreneurship in India. However, before we do that, it is good to define social entrepreneurship and get to understand its history. We will also focus on a few examples of social entrepreneurship in the whole world before narrowing it down to the famous social entrepreneurs in India. With all this in mind, you will get a better understanding of this subject matter. 

What Is Social Entrepreneurship?

What Is Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship involves identifying social problems and attaining social change through the employment of entrepreneurial operations, processes, and principles.

The process involves carrying out research to define a specific social problem. From here, the social entrepreneur will have to organize, create, and manage a social venture in order to achieve the desired change. The change may include or may not include thoroughly eliminating the social problem. The problem may be a lifetime and focus on improving the current situation. It tells you why it is important to put more effort into social entrepreneurship in India

The process involves carrying out research to define a specific social problem. From here, the social entrepreneur will have to organize, create, and manage a social venture in order to achieve the desired change. The change may include or may not include thoroughly eliminating the social problem. The problem may be a lifetime and focus on improving the current situation. It tells you why it is important to put more effort into social entrepreneurship in India.

Common and general business entrepreneurship involves leading the journey of opening new businesses or diversifying the current ones. On the contrary, the primary focus of social entrepreneurship is the creation of social capital without measuring the return in monetary terms or performance in profit.

Entrepreneurs under this category are linked to non-profit organizations and sectors. However, this doesn’t do away with the need to make profits. As you know, all entrepreneurs need capital and have positive effects on society. 

In broader terms, social entrepreneurs have far-reaching effects in their respective societies.  They take on different business ventures that bring about changes.  They build business models helping them to bring about necessary social changes.  

Some Key Areas Of Social Improvement They Focus On Include The Following.

  • Economic development
  • Health care
  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Gender equality
  • Community development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Renewable energy

Apart from the social challenges, social entrepreneurship in India also focuses on environmental problems. Examples of these social ventures include women empowerment foundations, plants that treat waste products, and Children’s Rights Foundations. Social entrepreneurs could be those people who are linked with non-government or non-profit organizations that use community activities and events to raise funds. 

Characteristics Of Social Entrepreneurs 

Some common characteristics of social entrepreneurs include the different personality traits mentioned here –

1. Passion To Bring About Social Change

Passion To Bring About Social Change

Most of their ideas and projects involve their passion for bringing social change. They address social issues and problems that could hold back a society or a community. They raise awareness around these social issues and concerns and work to improve the lives of oppressed individuals. 

2. Innovative Problem Solving

Innovative Problem Solving

Only social entrepreneurs can find out about different social issues and problems. They are also very much capable of providing working solutions to these problems. They use their social awareness and innovative ways to solve these issues. Eventually, they are working to bring positive changes in the society. 

3. Financially Sustainable & Self Supportiveness

Financially Sustainable & Self Supportiveness 

Social entrepreneurship does not happen under the government’s blessing or through the support of subsidies provided by the government. The social entrepreneurs themselves can generate capital and spend it for social causes. These individuals are financially strong and self-sufficient. However, they do not create a fund for their own need. Instead, it is meant for the social cause. 

4. Scaling Social Improvement

Scaling Social Improvement

Social entrepreneurs can expand and widen the scope of their actions. The whole idea is to increase the social influence. Their ideas and intuitions have an overarching effect on the masses and large institutions and organizations. They can influence people to a great degree. Also, their influence can result in different large corporations, governments, and other social entrepreneurs respecting and supporting their cause. 

5. Entrepreneurial Approach

Entrepreneurial Approach

A social entrepreneur also has the views of an entrepreneur. They are skilled at identifying possibilities, accumulating resources, and building creative solutions. Their approaches and actions can have a long-term effect on the society around them. 

Social entrepreneurs are also skilled at taking criticism and feedback like different entrepreneurs. They can use feedback to improve their efforts and stay persistent in what they do. The result is only doing good for the society around them.

The History And Scope Of Social Entrepreneurs

Andrew Mawson did extensive work on this concept of social entrepreneurship. He extended the same to bring about remarkable reforms in the structure of the community. He is the personality who set the foundation of the great Bow Center in Easter London. Because of this, Mawson was conferred upon the Lord Mawson honour and he works toward developing partnerships for regenerating the work that was initiated by him. 

The term social entrepreneurship is relatively new. Most people began to appreciate it just a few decades ago. However, we can trace its utilization throughout human history. There are so many entrepreneurs in history who formed social enterprises to eliminate social problems and bring change to society.

Examples of these individuals include Vinoba Bhave who founded the Land Gift Movement in India. The second one is Florence Nightingale who founded the nursing school and developed modern nursing practices. The other personality on this list is Robert Owen who is the founder of the corporative movement. All these organizations and foundations were established in the 19th century before the use of the social entrepreneurship concept in management. 

So many entrepreneurs in the 19th and 20th centuries made efforts to eradicate social evils in society. in addition to this, we have many organizations and societies that deal with treating waste products, saving trees, saving the environment, women’s empowerment, and children’s rights. In addition to addressing social issues, these social entrepreneurs also recognize and address the financial issues for the urban and rural poor and address the prevailing environmental challenges.

Social Entrepreneurship In The Modern World

Nowadays, the social entrepreneurship concept has been widely applied in different forms. A perfect example is Yunus, Ashoka who established the Grameen Bank. The others are Bill Drayton for the Innovators for the Public, Youth United by Jyotindra Nath, Ramakrishna and Smita Ram with Rand De, Roozi.com by Nicl Reder, SKS Microfinance Vikram Akula, Norma La Rosa, and Brent Freeman has popularized this term. 

Most of the big companies and brands are now adopting this concept. These entities are using social entrepreneurship to address current issues in society. Examples include educating women on family planning, opening schools in neglected areas, giving poor people and farmers the opportunity to access cheap loans, establishing waste treatment plants, going green, and planting trees.  

Currently, the concept of social entrepreneurship is a separate branch in the managerial courses. Most youths are willing to volunteer their services and even brilliant ideas to use social entrepreneurship in India to bring social change.  We have so many renowned social entrepreneurs who have made significant contributions to society. 

Examples Of Social Entrepreneurship Around The World

1. Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus

This is the manager and founder of Grameen Bank. He is a contemporary social entrepreneur who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his venture. His venture has been growing exponentially and benefiting so many people in society.

2. Range De

Range De

This is also a perfect example of a non-profit social enterprise. Smita Ram and Ramakrishna established it in 2008. It is an online platform that gives poor urban and rural people in India access to low-interest micro-credit that are as low as 2 per cent per annum. Financial institutions within the country can lend out money to borrowers directly on this platform, receive regular online payments, and track investments. 

3. George Foundation

This social enterprise also has national recognition. It is a Women’s Empowerment Program that creates awareness among women by giving them vocational training, education, savings planning, business development, and cooperative farming. It employs social entrepreneurship principles to address social problems and bring positive change in society. 

There are so many organizations that are considered to be positive changes in contemporary society. The social entrepreneurship field is growing rapidly and it continues to attract the attention of so many volunteers. The term is now very common on most university campuses. There is an increase in popularity because it helps people to do what they have been thinking about for a long time. The concept allows extraordinary people to put their brilliant ideas and change society against all the odds. 

Top List Of Social Entrepreneurs In India

The gig economy is scaling to higher heights of social startups in India. We have so many young entrepreneurs and innovative startups that are changing the rules of how people do business. These are young achievers who dream of achieving big in life. They also nurture their passion in order to eradicate the social inequalities that grip the country.

India is one of the countries that are in high demand for Sociopreneurs. These people should develop unconventional business models that can address the prevailing social and environmental issues. 

It is a challenging thing to be an entrepreneur. Addressing a social course through entrepreneurship will undoubtedly make the journey more difficult. The mission of social enterprises in India is to generate business for social causes. These experts implement low-cost business solutions for social causes while still addressing the shortage of resources, manpower, funds, and many more. 

There are endless hurdles in the way but the main idea is transforming livelihood for the collective good. This driving force helps social entrepreneurs in India to navigate through the turbulent deep waters of social entrepreneurship in India. If you don’t know some of these heroes, here are social entrepreneurship examples in India. You will discover that these are ordinary people like me and you who are out to do extraordinary things; 

1. Urvashi Sahni

Urvashi Sahni

Urvashi Sahni definitely tops the list of the best social entrepreneurs in India. She is the CEO and founder of the Study Hall Education Foundation (SHEF). The primary calling of this organization is to give the most disadvantaged girls in India access to education.

She has worked with over 900 schools and changed the lives of more than 150,000 girls directly and over 270,000 girls indirectly through her program. In 2017, Urvashi Sahni was felicitated with the great “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” award due to her selfless actions of passion and dedication. She is a perfect example of social entrepreneurship in India. 

2. Harish Hande

Harish Hande

The other pioneer of social entrepreneurship in India is Harish Hande with his remarkable commitment. Harish is the founder and CEO of Selco which is a company that offers sustainable energy sources to rural regions in our country. The project was the very first solar funding program in India. To date, Selco has made over 120,000 installations and has over 25 operational retail and service centres in the Karnataka region alone. 

3. Jeroo Billmoria

Jeroo Billmoria

You cannot leave Jeroo Billmoria out of the list of renowned social entrepreneurs in India. He is currently supervising many international NGOs to make society better. She launched Childline which provides support in terms of police assistance and healthcare, especially for street children. 

From her childhood, Jeroo had the vision of giving back to the less privileged members of society. Jeroo also believes in the self-empowerment of Indian women. She was crowned with the Skoll Award for social entrepreneurship and is also a Schwab & Ashoka fellow.

4. Hanumappa Sudarshan

Hanumappa Sudarshan

In 2014, the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley awarded Hanumappa as the social entrepreneur of India. He is the founder and CEO of Karuna Trust which is associated with healthcare services. This award is under the reputable Schwab of Social Entrepreneurs.

5. Anshu Gupta

Anshu Gupta

Gupta was born in a middle-class Uttar Pradesh family and pursued media as a profession. While he was an in-turn, he realized the need for proper clothing for the Indian poor. Thereafter, Anshu founded Goonj which is a social enterprise that collects used clothes from the urban population, sorts them, fixes them, and then distributes them among the needy and poor people in the region. Goonj did the relief work during the season of natural calamities in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat. The work that this organization did has been acknowledged widely in India and beyond. 

6. Santosh Parulekar

Santosh Parulekar

Santosh’s work was to create career opportunities for unemployed youths in rural areas of India. He established the ‘Pipal Tree’ company whose goal is to impart formal training to youth and give them reputable jobs in Indian companies. Pipal Tree has been in operation since 2007 and has trained over 1500 workers and would like to open training centres in Pan India in the future. These qualifications make him a perfect example of social entrepreneurship in India. 

7. Sumita Ghose

Sumita Ghose

This personality is the founder and CEO of Ashoka Changemakers. This is an open-minded platform for social innovators that is one of its kind in the whole world. His goal is to revive talent and craftsmanship that is not harnessed in rural India so that he can give them the recognition that they deserve. She began with ‘Rangasutra which is a retail chain from FabIndia and it came out as a very big success. He has one of the best social entrepreneurship ideas in India. 

8. Akansha Hazari

Akansha Hazari

From her youth, Hazari is a multitasker, a businesswoman, and a social entrepreneur. President Bill Clinton honoured her with $1,000,000 for her efforts in solving the global water crisis in terms of m.Paani. It means that her contribution to social entrepreneurship in India has gone abroad. 

9. Ajaita Shah

Ajaita Shah

The mission of Ajaita Shah is to empower rural India. She began at the gross level and her goal is to provide the best technological solutions to India’s remote villages at the cheapest rates. She is the CEO and Founder of Frontier Markets which supplies products that are powered by solar energy to the rural areas of India at very affordable rates. The brand has sold more than 10,000 solar solutions by now and nothing will stop them until they light all the remote corners of our country. 

10. Trilochan Shastry

Trilochan has proved that there are no impossibilities in the world as long as you have the fervour and zeal to pursue your goals. He is a remarkable professor at IIM Bangalore and did not like the state of the political affairs in the country. It began as a PIL against politicians but later led to the foundation of ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms). The organization scrutinizes the procedures of the election in India. Therefore, his contribution to social entrepreneurship in India is unique.  Trilochan is also the head of NGOs that aim to uplift farmers.


As you can see, social entrepreneurship in India has a critical role to play. We have only looked at ten examples of such personalities in the county. However, there are so many other people and you can also become one of them. The most important thing is to be determined to course change in your society.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is a tech entrepreneur by profession and passionate blogger by heart. He is on a mission to help small businesses grow online. He shares his journey, insights, and experiences in this blog. If you are an entrepreneur, digital marketing professional, or simply an info-holic, then this blog is for you.


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