Earlier this year, we launched our eLearning course for social enterprises in January with a second installment in May. Social enterprises from across the globe – from places we didn’t even think we could reach – applied. So we began to wonder, who are these social enterprises? What are their models? What do they need most to reach the most marginalized populations? So I sat down with Charles Njemo Batumani and Arun Kumar Das, two social entrepreneurs who finished the first installment of our eLearning course in January to see what they’ve done, where they see their enterprises going and why eLearning was a way for them to improve their social enterprise. Charles is building affordable housing for low and middle income earners in Limbe, Cameroon while Arun is developing a natural plant product to combat malnutrition in Odisha, India.
After a day of discussions on how to scale social enterprise innovations to improve health outcomes during an event hosted by the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Innovation Labs and Health Global Practice on June 8th, one clear message emerged – public-private dialogue and collaboration, as well as collaboration between the public sector, the private sector and multilateral organizations such as the WBG is required to reach those living at the last mile.
A prime example of this need can be seen in a mobile phone health clinic program developed by VillageReach, a social enterprise working to provide access to quality health care to underserved communities through an integrated approach.
There is a perfect start, there is a less than perfect start and there is an imperfect start. As a social entrepreneur, the thing I have learned is that it pays to START- even if it’s less than perfect or imperfect.
So, there I was, I had left my job, had no savings, but kept people like Bonti in my mind. But, I had no idea how, or even where to start.
Eye Research Center (ERC) Eye Care was officially founded in the summer of 2011. With the generous help of my mother, we were just one clinic – in her kitchen – in the heart of the city. Although we had a strong mission, we quickly realized that to the outside world, there was nothing to differentiate us from other ophthalmic clinics spread across the city. But what exactly was ERC Eye Care? We had initially set it up as a sole proprietorship, as it was the cheapest and easiest registration process, but we weren’t strictly a for-profit business. Were we a NGO? Or were we something else entirely?
Back in the 1970s, I was a medical student ready to take on the world. We had a student exchange program, where students from across the world would come to India to visit and learn. One year, there was a group of young doctors from the UK who were excited to be somewhere they could observe ‘rare diseases.’ Seeing the packed hospitals on rounds, they eagerly asked the Professor of Internal Medicine, “May we see a patient with tuberculosis?” The Professor, uncertain of their excitement, replied frankly, “Of course. We don’t just have one, we have wards and wards full!” Tuberculosis (TB) – the infectious disease that primarily targets the lungs - was, and continues to be, anything but a rare disease in India.
We traveled down a bumpy, dirt road in the rural areas of West Bengal towards a village called Bolpur. Three hours after leaving Kolkata, the car pulled up to an unassuming concrete building. The health care worker who accompanied us for this ride jumped out enthusiastically and immediately spoke into her megaphone. “Not feeling well?” she called out to the village, “Need a quick check up? Come and visit us for the next hour and a half.” Here, in a small village, at an unassuming building, we had found ourselves at an iKure spot camp.
iKure - a Kolkata-based social enterprise dedicated to bringing affordable health care to India’s poorest populations - has created these spot camps as an integral part of their inventive model for a network of health clinics in India’s rural areas. In addition to providing access to doctors and medicine prescriptions, they provide the necessary outreach to tell villagers about where and when the clinics are and how they can access medical consultations and medicine.
On a warm Friday afternoon in the slums of Madhukam, in the heart of Ranchi, India, a middle-aged man arrived at a public water station with two 20-liter containers to fill. The water station - directly adjacent to an open sewage drain - was really just a concerete wall with four pink spigots protruding from its barren surface. On top perched two large, seemingly empty holding tanks of water. The man placed one of his containers under the first spigot and turned the handle. A small flow of water came out. Within a minute, the flow turned into a trickle, and the trickle quickly became nothing. The man moved to the next spigot, and then the next, only to have all four repeat the same pattern. In the end, the man left carrying only six ounces of water in his two 20-liter containers.
How we support agribusiness and handicrafts sector in Upper Egypt
Last week I met 35 entrepreneurs from Assyut, Aswan, Beni Seouf, Cairo, Fayoum, Giza, Luxor , Minya, Qena, Sharkeyya, Sohag. Some of these names aren’t familiar and there is a reason for that…
They had just been awarded 25,000 dollars each through the Egypt Development Marketplace (DM) competition because their businesses have potential to grow, and create jobs for some of the most vulnerable and marginalized people in Upper Egypt.
I was struck by the new innovative ideas for example using palm trees to produce handicrafts and high quality affordable furniture. But also by the revival of local industries such as the ancient Upper Egyptian carpet weaving produced by ferka, not only generating income for marginalized girls and women, but also renewing pride in Egypt’s remarkable culture and heritage. Whether producing local honey, or adding value to products through food processing of tomato paste, olive oil or dairy products specifically for low-income families, these businesses had deserved their cash reward.
- Upper Egypt
- Urban Development
- Private Sector Development
- Labor and Social Protection
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Financial Sector
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Middle East and North Africa
- Egypt, Arab Republic of
Healthcare has become one of India’s largest sectors – both in terms of revenue and employment. Although the country’s healthcare industry is projected to continue its rapid expansion, with an estimated market value of US $280 billion by 2020, increased population growth in India’s low-income communities has resulted in a lack of affordable and easily accessible quality healthcare for millions of people.
As a comparison China has 30 hospital beds every 10,000 people, whereas India has only 12. The figures are even more alarming for nurses. In the United States there are 98 nurses per 10,000 people and in India there are only 13.
Despite government efforts to improve widespread access to quality healthcare, India’s existing infrastructure continues to be insufficient resulting in limited treatment options, especially for low-income families.
Recognizing the need for innovation within healthcare, in 2012, Ennovent, a business accelerator, partnered with the University Impact Fund, one of the world’s first student driven impact-investing firms, to research the opportunities available for entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and experts to add value to the Indian healthcare industry.
This is the Arabic version of our blog: "If it's not Social, It's Bad Business".
نقدم لكم مقالة أخرى في سلسلة المقالات التي نقوم بنشرها عن الريادة المجتمعية والمؤسسات الاجتماعية التى تساهم فى تقديم حلول مبتكرة وشاملة لقضايا وتحديات تنموية هامة في مصر. لقد تحدثت زميلتنا جيل ريتشمند مع الدكتورة ليلى اسكندر رئيسة مجلس إدارة شركة CID للاستشارات ، والتي حازت على جائزة "رواد العمل الاجتماعي للعام" في عام 2006 ، التي تقدمها مؤسسة شواب من خلال المنتدى الاقتصادي العالمي. كما أنها أيضا عضو في مجلس الأجندة العالمية (GAC) للابتكار الاجتماعي ، وتتمتع بخبرة أكثر من 20 عاما فى مجال حماية البيئة وإدارة النفايات الصلبة وإعادة التدوير، بالإضافة إلى التعليم، وتمكين النوع الاجتماعى، وبناء قدرات المنظمات غير الحكومية، وتوليد الدخل في القطاع غير الرسمي، والدفاع عن حقوق الأطفال العاملين. في هذه المقابلة، تحدثنا الدكتورة ليلى عن مفهومها عن "التعلم والكسب" والعمل فى تنمية المجتمع بشكل عام بما فى ذلك دعم قطاع الحرف اليدوية والذى يعتبر من القطاعات الهامة التى سيدعمها برنامج سوق التنمية المزمع إطلاقه بمصر فى أوائل نوفمبر 2012.
Here is another entry in a series of articles we are posting to describe the current outlook for social enterprises working on critical issues in Egypt.
The series is based on interviews with leading figures in the social entrepreneurship sector in Egypt and the MNA region.
For the Arabic translation of this blog, click here.
I spoke with Dr. Laila Iskandar the chairperson of CID Consulting, who was awarded the "Social Entrepreneur of the Year" in 2006 at the World Economic Forum by the Schwab Foundation. She is also member of the foundation’s Global Agenda Council (GAC) on Social Innovation. She has over 20 years of experience in: environmental protection, solid waste management and recycling, education, gender-based empowerment, capacity-building of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), income-generation in the informal sector, and advocating for working children. In this interview, she tells us about her ethos of ‘learning and earning.’