In a sign of increased public recognition of social entrepreneurship, which involves the building of enterprises that achieve socially desirable objectives while following the principles of business, two foundations working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) are set to unveil next month the winner of the Social Entrepeneur of the Year award for 2007.
Innovation, social impact and sustainability are the three objectives being measured in the finale to pick the winner from among more than 100 nominations received for the awards instituted by the Nand & Jeet Khemka Foundation and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
The winner will be eligible for a cash award of Rs 8 lakh from the Khemka Foundation and will be named 'Khemka Fellow'.
The four nominees, who have been shortlisted for their potential to create large-scale businesses that change the fate of underprivileged or disenfranchised people are: Harish Hande, who runs SELCO, Karnataka-based rural solar electrification venture; Rajendra Joshi, who runs Saath, a public-private partnership in Gujarat to empower urban poor to become willing customers of basic services; Pravin Mahajan of Janarth, which is pioneering education for children of seasonal migrants in Maharashtra; and Chetna Gala Sinha of Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank of Maharashtra, who has created the first bank run by and for rural women.
"These nominees reflect our aims to achieve social goals and sustainable development through their enterprise and hard work," said Maxine Olson, UNDP's resident representative in India.
The award is set to be announced in New Delhi on December 4 at the closing ceremony of the India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum. The Schwab Foundation is a sister organisation of the WEF.
The nominees will be profiled in
next week in the run-up to the event. "These finalists have identified opportunities, taken risks and overcome challenges to build and grow their business ventures," said Don Mohanlal, CEO of the Nand & Jeet Khemka Foundation.
The winner will be selected into the Schwab Foundation's global network that provides opportunities to increase the legitimacy of the models including attendance at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switerzland in January 2008.
"India is the standard bearer of global best practices in social entrepreneurship," says Parag Gupta, Head of South Asia, The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.