Judge a venture by social impact, not profitability

Judge a venture by social impact, not profitability

Convention would have one first think about profitability before starting any business. But in the present day of rapid changes, a venture should be judged in terms of social impact beyond just profitability, said Vishnu Swaminathan, India Country Director, Ashoka Innovation, at the launch of Deccan Centre for Innovation and Design (DCID) here.

Citing the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and its co-founder, Nobel laureate Muhammed Yunus, Vishnu talked about various ‘levels of changes’ starting from the direct service models to a change in the very framework of doing business.

“Why do you need a business model these days? Organisations, such as Goonj, are functioning on the basis of a Robinhood model of taking excess clothes and then giving it to the needy and are affecting a number of lives,” he said.

Vishnu also talked about the importance of “letting go” as a means to grow in business.
He gave the example of Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, who recently announced that all their patents would be public and accessible via open source. 
Ganesh N Prabhu, professor, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB),  said unlike traditional businesses, in social enterprises, the clients may also be owners as in self-help groups and producers can also be the owners as in corporations.

Prof Prabhu highlighted the need for an interdisciplinary approach while training social entrepreneurs and the need for collaborative problem solving.    

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