Reigniting Entrepreneurship In India

India, with an estimated population of 1.3 billion people, has the second-highest labor force population in the world, with 516.3 million people making up labor force numbers. Reports have it that, although hourly wage rates in India have doubled over the past decade, approximately 350 million or 30% of India’s population live below the poverty line [World Bank]. Consequently, 1 in 3 persons in India lacks access to basic requirements such as nutrition, education, and healthcare services. To further compound matters, many Indians are unemployed, and the level of illiteracy is extremely high. All of these have negatively affected entrepreneurship in India.

To alleviate these problems, and by identifying the importance of digital technology to entrepreneurship development, the government of India has committed $18 billion to Digital India Program to empower the economy through a digital transformation. These programs aim to provide broadband internet connectivity and make mobile connections and bank accounts available for digital and financial inclusion. It will also improve the efficiency of social entrepreneurs and encourage growth in Indian entrepreneurship. Also, this will improve the ease of doing business scorecard in India.

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Entrepreneurs are crucial aspects of the development plan of the Indian population. With these digital infrastructures in place, many of them, especially those who work with artisans in rural areas, can increase their market by reaching out to national and international buyers through online channels. Entrepreneurship is vital for job creation in India and the development of digital infrastructure is crucial to the future of entrepreneurship in India. It will increase the market for obscure rural handicrafts, textiles, and arts necessary to spur entrepreneurship development in India. Ventures that focus on knowledge will also benefit as digital infrastructure is estimated to bring 68% of Indians online.

In other areas such as health, entrepreneurs, especially the social entrepreneurs have also been active. Successful entrepreneurs such as the Aravind Eye Hospital created in 1976 have treated over 2.4 million patients, most often free of charge. Another is Karuna Trust, a joint-owned organization, which serves over two million low-income clients. It offers its services by transforming government primary healthcare centers into hubs of low-cost, high-care quality delivery service. They, like many others, have contributed to the comparative growth of entrepreneurship in India.

Although closely related to the concept of entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship differs in terms of definition and purpose. According to the French economist Jean-Baptiste Say, an entrepreneur is a person who undertakes an idea and shifts perspectives in a way that it alters the effect that idea has on society. To him, an entrepreneur is someone who shifts economic resources out of an area of lower productivity and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield. This is where an entrepreneur differs from a social entrepreneur. A social entrepreneur seeks to transform society as a whole as opposed to increasing their profit margin. And to achieve this, social entrepreneurs use their resources to bring everyone into a state of wealth and prosperity.

While the concept of social entrepreneurship might sound like a novel idea, it has been around for a while. To be exact, H. Bowen first used the terms social entrepreneurship and social entrepreneur in 1953 in his book Social Responsibilities of the Businessman. Social entrepreneurs are neither non-profit nor merge for-profit goals with positive societal developments. Social entrepreneurship’s agenda are cuts across various aspects of the social, cultural, and environmental fabric of society to alleviate poverty, improve health care, and community development.


  • Can social entrepreneurs drive growth in India? by Klaus Schwab|| November 16, 2015
  • The future is bright for Indian social enterprise – here’s why by Rohan Potdar

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