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Building sustainable social enterprises

Hand in Hand Academys Global Social Entrepreneurship Programme led by Prof Kasturi Rangan of Harvard Business School was recently held in Chennai. Prof Kasturi Kash Rangan brought in his vast experience with the Harvard case method of teaching.

Hand in Hand Academy’s Global Social Entrepreneurship Programme led by Prof Kasturi Rangan of Harvard Business School was recently held in Chennai. Prof Kasturi ‘Kash’ Rangan brought in his vast experience with the Harvard case method of teaching. He presented case studies of Approtech, Acumen Fund, Aravind Eye Hospital and Omidyar Network.

He highlighted CSR in India through a case study on Jain Irrigation Pvt Ltd. Some of the key topics debated included: mandatory CSR under the Companies Act 2013, definition of CSR, whether all corporates were inherently socially responsible and, if not, what could be done about it. He also debated on the role of the private sector, government, and civil society and the potential power behind partnership amongst these three. Prof Rangan’s unique teaching method of eliciting answers from the participants in an interactive manner was a highlight of the entire programme.

Dr Kalpana Sankar, Managing Trustee of Hand in Hand India, echoed her experiences on how to set up a scalable and sustainable social enterprise – a presentation that perfectly complemented Prof Kash’s teachings. Dr Savitha Shankar (of Keio University, Japan) provided a theoretical analysis on dairy value chains. Dr H Sudharshan’s session was on public private partnerships in India. 

A panel of speakers, chaired by Dr Sadakkadulla, Regional Director, Reserve Bank of India, discussed funding available for social enterprises. The panelists included M S Sundararajan (former Chairman, Indian Bank), Dr G Gouri Sankar (MD, Maanaveeya Development and Finance Pvt Ltd), Venkateswara Rao (CGM, NABARD) and Dr Bama Balakrishnan (Chief Risk Officer, IFMR). The speakers provided perspectives on development finance, products available as well as some of the tools and decision-making matrices in use. This session was perfectly complemented with a session on microfinance as a social enterprise led by Prof Sriram of IIM-Bangalore. While his session was a hands-on interactive one, Dr Jeyaseelan, Group CEO, Hand in Hand India, gave a detailed explanation of what microfinance is with Belstar Investment and Finance Pvt Ltd as an example to articulate the concept further.

Academy for Social Entrepreneurship

The Hand in Hand Academy for Social Entrepreneurship was inaugurated in Kaliyanur, Kancheepuram, by Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthy, Director, IIT-Madras in the presence of Dr Bruce Grant, Chairman, Hand in Hand International, Prof Kash Rangan, Trustees and staff of Hand in Hand India. The first session held on the premises was the case study on Aravind Eye Hospital by Prof Rangan. This was followed by field visits to an enterprise hub, SHG office, transit school and solid waste management plant – each of which highlighted different forms of social entrepreneurship and social business. 

The objective of the Academy is to create an enabling environment for social entrepreneurship to flourish and become a viable proposition for stakeholders across the ecosystem comprising government, academia and private sector players.

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