By Smita Ram, Rang De Team
This was the theme for the Khemka Social Entrepreneurship forum that was held at ISB Hyderabad on 11th and 12th of November. It included newbies such as Rang De as well as established social enterprises. The format of the event was so designed that it went beyond speeches and theories to working groups that focussed on the following topics:
- Double bottom-line investing: a commercial perspective
- Leveraging human capital to grow social innovations
- Breakthroughs in shared measurements
- M-money: solutions for the unbanked
These sessions were extremely useful as one had the flexibility to choose what was relevant and also switch from one session to another if required. It was a great learning experience — especially since we had the opportunity to catch up with a few social entrepreneurs who started more than a decade ago.
Something that was common through all the sessions was the common issues around social entrepreneurship that were not exactly sector specific. Issues relating to funding, incubation, scale and attracting human capital were common threads of discussions. The underlying theme of a lack of an eco-system to support social enterprises to scale was very relevant.
Scale was one of the most debated topics. Anything in India cannot be of relevance if it cannot scale. However, we have seen for ourselves how meaningless scaling can be disastrous — case in point being the recent microfinance debacle. One of the main learnings we took away from this event was to scale without losing the objectives and purpose for which the enterprise was set up.
Overall the Khemka forum was one of the most relevant networking and learning experiences that we have had in recent times.