Our world thrives on kindness. But it is the charity and compassion from strangers that make it a better place. While most people do look for profits in all ventures, there are some who only care about changing their communities for the better.
These individuals often come in the form of social entrepreneurs. They start and run business ventures that don’t necessarily make a lot of profit. But they indeed make an impact on society. You might not know of such people because charity is rarely celebrated.
But we are here to appreciate these individuals. To make you aware of them, we bring you a list of the 10 best social entrepreneurs in India.
Table of Contents
1. Aarushi Batra
Aarushi Batra is the co-founder of Robin Hood Army, which is dedicated to providing food to the underprivileged. Aarushi has done her MSc in management from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is also the Executive director of business development at SPM AutoComp Systems Pvt Ltd.
Robin Hood Army is an organization that ties up with restaurants and hotels to distribute their excess food among the poor. RHA is a 100% volunteer-based organization that is working day and night to feed the hungry. Founded in 2014, RHA has impacted over 9.3 million people’s lives across 103 cities globally.
The idea was put forward by co-founder Neel Ghose. He saw this problem when he was working as a volunteer at Lisbon in 2014. After that, both of them decided to come up with the idea of RHA.
2. Harish Hande
Born in Karnataka, Harish Hande is a social entrepreneur. He is an energy engineering graduate from IIT Kharagpur. He founded SELCO.
Founded in 1995, SELCO India is dedicated to providing customers with clean energy solutions. The organization has installed solar light systems in 350,000 households to date. SELCO also provides education to children in rural areas with no light. It has a unique model where you can pay only 25% of the total to purchase solar light systems. Then, you may pay the remaining in installments.
The inspiration of SELCO was taken from the continuous power outages and lack of power supplies in rural India. The company is focused on improving this situation further in the coming days. Harish was awarded the prestigious Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy in 2005. In 2011, he was honored with the Ramon Magsaysay award.
3. Ajaita Shah
Ajaita Shah is the founder and CEO of Frontier Markets. Ajaita has done B.A. in International Relations from Tufts. She has also worked in microfinance.
Ajaita has experienced and understood the problems due to lack of electricity through her research. This gets her motivated to improve the last mile connectivity in the villages.
Frontier markets, founded in 2011 by her, is dedicated to having last-mile connectivity of quality products with rural India. It is an E-commerce app that hires rural women to deliver quality products to the customer’s home. With a reach of 50 million households, Frontier markets have earned their name in this journey.
4. Karthik Naralasetty
Karthik Naralasetty was born in Andhra Pradesh. He is a dropout from Rutgers University, New Jersey, and has also been a part of the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2015. He is also the founder of SocialBlood.
SocialBlood is an organization that organizes blood donation campaigns and runs a blood bank. Karthik, along with some hospitals and medical shops, has eased out the process of blood donation to attract more people towards the cause. SocialBlood has spread across various countries.
Karthik drew his inspiration from a little girl who needed blood units because of her Thalassemia problems. Karthik decided to step up with the idea of SocialBlood.
5. Shaheen Mistri
Shaheen Mistri is a Mumbai-based entrepreneur who had done her MA from the University of Manchester. She has received many awards that also includes the prestigious Ashoka Fellow in 2001. Shaheen has founded the NGO Akanksha that works for the school-level education of underprivileged children.
Akanksha was founded in 1989, during the time of her graduation days. With 15 students to start with, Akanksha has grown to provide 9300 children annually and bridging the education gap in the country. The organization has 3 afterschool and 21 school locations in Maharashtra to provide quality education to the underprivileged.
Akanksha, along with Teach for India, aims to improve the education of underprivileged children and aims to scale up to teach over 1 Lakh of students.
6. Dr. Verghese Kurien
Born in Calicut, Dr. Varghese Kurien is one of India’s first social entrepreneur’s rural areas’ youth, India’s first social entrepreneurs that changed the Indian economy for good. Also referred to as the “Father of White Revolution,” Kurien identified the methods that doubled up milk production in the country. He, along with Tribhivandas Patel, founded AMUL(Anand Milk Union Limited).
AMUL was founded in December 1946 as a revolution against the exploitation of milk sellers and small vendors. After its inception, AMUL became the center of all milk-related activities in India, with all prominent politicians having a frequent visit to the headquarters.
In the 1970s, AMUL led the spread of the white revolution in the country. The white revolution doubled milk production in India. AMUL was awarded numerous awards for its contribution to the Indian milk industry.
7. Chetna Gala Sinha
Chetna Gala Sinha, born in Mumbai, is a social entrepreneur who educates women in drought-prone areas about entrepreneurial skills. She has done her master’s in economics from Mumbai University. She is the founder of Mann Deshi bank that helps women in rural areas to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.
Mann Deshi foundation was founded in 1997. Since then, the foundation is helping rural women to be self-sufficient. Mann Deshi foundation runs a Mann Deshi Mahila Sarkari Bank, a microfinance bank that gives loans to rural women to support their living. Along with the bank, the Mann Deshi foundation also teaches financial literacy to women.
The bank’s inspiration was drawn when a vendor named, Kantabai cane to Chetna Sinha pleading for help. Kantabai wanted to save money and keep her money safe to buy a tarpaulin for the monsoon, and no bank allowed her to open the account. Chetna Sinha, along with 1335 women, pooled cash and opened the first Indian women-owned bank.
8. Santhosh Parulekar
Santosh Parulekar is the CEO and Founder of Pipal Tree. He is an MBA graduate from S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research. Santosh has worked in Rural India since 2005.
Pipal tree is founded in 2007 and is training young minds to come ahead and flourish. Pipal tree focuses on the skill development of rural youth and provides them with job opportunities. It also has several plans like goat farming, honey bee farming, and so on. The focus is on increasing agricultural income.
The idea of people tree struck Santosh’s mind during her stint with rural India in 2005. Working for a US-based company, Santosh discovered the problems and possibilities in the rural areas’ youth. Pipal tree now is benefitting over 80,000 people to bring a change.
9. Urvashi Sahni
Urvashi Sahni, born in Lucknow, is the face of the new India. An admirer of education, Urvashi has always been keen on learning new things. She has secured a Ph.D. from the School of Education, UC Berkely, USA. In a long career, Urvashi has worked as an educationist. She is also an Ashoka fellow.
Urvashi has founded the Study Hall Education Foundation (SHEF), an organization that runs schools in Lucknow. The school provides quality education to the most underprivileged children in rural and urban areas.
Urvashi started SURAKSHA, a distress call organization for women, in 1983. After some time of talking to school girls and women, she got to know the problem. It was with education. She decided to open SHEF schools and fix this problem’s roots.
10. Jeroo Billomoria
Jeroo Billomoria is a Mumbai-based social entrepreneur who has founded numerous NGOs. She has done her M.S. in non-profit management from the New School of Social Research, New York. Out of the many NGOs, Jeroo received the most recognition from her NGO, Aflatoun.
Aflatoun is an NGO founded by Jeroo Billomoria in 2005. Headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Aflatoun focuses on financial education among young people. Launched in 2005, Aflatoun benefitted from the pre-existing network of Jeroo Billomoria to reach 1 million children by 2010.
Jeroo conceptualized the idea of Aflatoun during the time she was working with the street children of Mumbai. She found out that many children enjoy managing finances and are very good at it. She believed that teaching financial education at a young age will lead to more entrepreneurial thoughts.
Every entrepreneurial idea, whether created for profit or not, can have a social impact. Even large MNC’s have side ventures dedicated especially to charity. So if you too are running a business or have an idea brewing, start thinking about its social impact too. Who knows? You might end up lighting a few lives like these social entrepreneurs too!