On 15 December, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State - Prime Minister's Office, Government of India, and St. John Gould, Director, UK Trade and Investment, British High Commission, presided at a ceremony in New Delhi to celebrate growing UK-India collaboration to support social enterprises.
Held as part of UK Prime Minster Theresa May’s state visit to India, the event showcased the first graduating class of the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) India, which supports social entrepreneurs to start, grow, and sustain organisations that improve people's lives and benefit communities.
The SSE was founded in the UK in 1997 and it has become a global network with 12 locations in the UK, Canada and India. The British Council and PwC partnered to support SSE India by helping to assemble its first cohort and support the delivery of the programme.
The event also featured the launch of a British Council report called Social value economy: a survey of the social enterprise landscape in India, which finds that social enterprise is a growing and dynamic sector of the Indian economy that is creating jobs for disadvantaged groups, empowering women, and addressing social exclusion across the country.
Dr. Singh, Minister of State - Prime Minister's Office, Government of India, said, “It is the spirit of entrepreneurial people brimming with passion to bring social change that innovations and new solutions to address some of the fundamental challenges of our country.”
The School for Social Entrepreneurs offers programmes that support aspiring social entrepreneurs to hone their business and entrepreneurial skills, enhance their resourcefulness and build collaborative networks so that they can establish thriving social enterprises that deliver significant social impact.
In its first year, SSE India worked with 16 fellowship participants coming from diverse backgrounds who have powerful ideas to address inequalities and social exclusion. The SSE helped them to turn their ideas into real social outcomes, in the form of sustainable solutions to poverty and disadvantaged communities.
The members of the first cohort developed projects in a range of areas including healthcare, livelihood generation, clean energy, skills development, water and sanitation. These projects support a range of disadvantaged populations in India including farmers, child labourers, migrants and women from historically disadvantaged castes and ethnic groups.
Among the projects developed by the SSE India fellows are the Navya Tarang Foundation, which focuses on primary healthcare for the urban poor in Chandigarh; the Gramshree Development Services, which provides innovative marketing solutions to promote organic produce grown by ‘tribal’ farmers; and Smile Express, which works on the issues of oral health and tobacco cessation in Rajasthan through a mobile dental hospital.
To find out more about these social enterprise projects, download the SSE India booklet.