Enterprises that Improve Life in India
The social entrepreneurs who spoke at Yale SOM on September 19 are improving life for India's citizens by providing better access to housing, vocational training, and a stable marketplace for farmers.
The speakers represented three of the five organizations taking part this year in Yale SOM's Global Social Entrepreneurship (GSE) course, a unique offering that matches Yale students with Indian entrepreneurs. Led by Tony Sheldon '84, executive director of the Program on Social Enterprise and lecturer in economic development, the course links teams of Yale students with mission-driven social entrepreneurs to focus on a specific management challenge that the teams work to address during the semester. Launched in 2008, GSE has worked with 25 leading and emerging Indian social enterprises engaged in economic development, sustainable energy, women's empowerment, education, environmental conservation, and housing.
The three entrepreneurs who spoke at Yale SOM have created business solutions that target problems facing low-income households and communities in rural India. Anamoy Ranjan described how Tara Machines & Tech Services addresses a housing shortage that's caused in part by an inadequate supply of quality, affordable building products. The company manufactures machines that produce materials such as bricks and roofing tiles, and sells these machines to local entrepreneurs in villages, who then produce the materials.
K. Kaushik, representing the BASIX Academy for Building Lifelong Employability (B-ABLE), said that India has an education and employment crisis. "There is a huge market of 8 to 10 million people who need jobs, who are out of the school system," Kaushik said. At the same time, the country's skilled professional sectors—such as the carpentry, electrician and plumbing trades—face a critical shortage of trained employees. B-ABLE has established technical schools to develop skilled workers to fill these jobs.
The organization is grappling with the perception in Indian society that trade jobs don't pay well and aren't worth pursuing, Kaushik said. "Our work with Yale has helped us to demonstrate the worth of training."
A third organization, Samriddhii, a subsidiary of the Kaushalya Foundation, has created a supply-chain model that gives rural vegetable growers access to big city markets. "This service directly connects marginal farmers with street vendors in the city," said Kaushlendra, founder of the Kaushalya Foundation.