What really is social entrepreneurship?
Is anything social about it?
Isn’t entrepreneurship all about I, me, and myself
And those immediately around me.

If I am not for myself
Who else is for me?
If I am for myself alone, what am I for?
Lines attributed to several BUT,

The meaning is quite clear.
I will take care of myself, of my needs.
And then for the cause which resonates with me.
Deep within, striking a chord.

Who is the one that needs help most
In my opinion, and of those around me, guiding.
What help do they need and
How can I be a small rung in their ladder of survival?

One step in the right direction
And if I can be a part of that
A small nudge, a gentle push
An empathetic hand that pulls them higher, a bit

Some need money, some attention
Some guidance, some a direction
I know what I have with me
And how much I can give. Do I?

Do I?
Or do I wait for a bigger force to step in and take leadership?
Significant others to lead, while I wait.
And of course, provide armchair commentaries.

If not I, who?
If not now, when? Again, borrowing someone else’s words.
Essential for today, when the internet brings us closer
But highlights only those media savvy

Isn’t it our wont then, our motive
To dig deeper, to find out who needs our support.
And take that one step, together.
Active assistance for a social cause

For that small micro improvement in the lives of others
In which I am thankful to play a small part
in advancing the cause
A helping hand to the many

A social entrepreneur
That is who you and I need to be
To DO, however little, be a small step in growth


Pravin Shekar


A poetic start, but hey, I am an outlier marketer. 

A benefit to society: That is the metric of a social entrepreneur. An activity, short or long-term, for the benefit of the community around us, comes under the ambit of social entrepreneurship. 

By whom, and for whom, why, and the how, when, and the loop system. 

A fragmented sentence for sure, but that’s how entrepreneurship works, whether in the social or business sectors. 

  • Providing skills for livelihood. 
  • Micro-loans for sustenance. 
  • Micro venture funds for people with disabilities. These are some examples.

What is the benefit to society? 

Skills, loans, Awareness creation, employment, network connections. 

Who can be a social entrepreneur?

You. And me. It is not the realm of the big and mighty—every little helps. When done in a structured manner, with clear goals and definitions, it is social entrepreneurship - not to be confused with charity and philanthropy. It is entrepreneurial. There has to be a clear purpose. It is the age of social micro-entrepreneurs. Those individuals or a group that takes up a cause and brings about small positive changes on a consistent basis. 

This note is for you, the reader, to pick up a cause and do something about it. Start with a small step but then look at repeating it. Such a start can be done loosely, as a Facebook group, for example. Social “Intrapreneurs” work with the company’s social responsibility initiatives.

Some examples below:

  • Chennai Volunteers brings together local volunteers in times of need and crisis. 
  • Chennai Trekkers promotes the need to go outdoors, get active and clean up our surroundings. 
  • Team Everest has a vision to provide quality education to every child. You can help a college student improve their English communication by volunteering in @teameverestngo Speak Out program. 

Within India’s ICT sector, let’s look at some examples of how and where social entrepreneurship can fit in: 

  • A digital marketing or tele-calling course for people with disabilities. Teach them how to fish. 
  • A community project to build and sustain awareness of a local issue. Use the power of software and social media for a particular cause. 
  • Form an HR network and support skilling and employment for people with autism. 
  • Gather like-minded friends and start a micro venture fund to promote small micro-preneurs. Support them through software, network, and planning assistance. Help create entrepreneurs who can generate more jobs. 
  • The gig economy is here. What can the youth with limited means learn to participate in it? How can you help? 

A ladder has several rungs. Some rungs are small, some wobbly. Yet, they help support growth, one rung at a time. When you talk about social entrepreneurship, do not google and look for big names. You and I can be the small names in our locality, making small steps in the right direction. 

Options are aplenty. The need is ever-present. 

Be the change. Or join a change movement.


Pravin Shekar, Outlier Marketer : A BPO providing skill development and employment for people with disabilities. : An artisanal hand-made cheese-making unit with skilling for the hearing impaired.
Takkaru Dabba: Micro investment into a local “Salad & Sundal” delivery unit led by visually challenged resources.


About the Author

Pravin Shekar is an Outlier Marketer and a raconteur. Unconventional marketing is his forte. He is an author of multiple books. Pravin is the recipient of the American Marketing Association’s “Emerging Leader” award.

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