SSE India: Driving Social Change

The PwC India Foundation is proud to be the Development Partner for the School of Social Entrepreneurship (SSE) India since 2016. Together, The Foundation and SSE have created an outstanding fellowship programme for the young minds who are keen on taking over the world of social entrepreneurship.

Jaivir Singh, Vice Chairman, PwC India Foundation and Shalabh Mittal, CEO, SSE India share with us how the social entrepreneurship landscape has evolved with time and what both PwC and SSE India are doing to provide a conducive learning environment to the emerging social entrepreneurs to start their own socially relevant entrepreneurial journey.  

Tête-à-tête with Jaivir Singh

Tête-à-tête with Jaivir Singh
  • What is the history of journey of SSE in India and how has PwC been a part of it?
    SSE began its journey in India in February 2016 and since then PwC continues to be an engaged partner with this initiative. The fact that SSE India is hosted by PwC in its office in Gurgaon demonstrates the embedded relationship that PwC and SSE India have had historically and continue to strengthen. PwCites actively work with SSE India; either by helping to select budding social entrepreneurs for the fellowship programme, or delivering expert knowledge and skill based sessions or by becoming mentors to the fellows as they fine tune their social enterprises. As an outcome, they address some of the most pressing challenges that the country faces.
  • How does PwC India support SSE in choosing the most deserving social entrepreneurs for their programme?
    What makes the Social Start up Fellowship stand apart from other programmes is its inclusivity and diversity - the fellowship is open to anyone with an idea to create positive social impact and encourages applications from across the country and from anyone aged between 18-70. The application is a three step process. First is a written application (consisting of three simple questions), second is a skype or telephonic conversation followed by a final interview with a select panel. PwC supports SSE India throughout this process, in both the initial reviewing of applications and during the final interview stage, helping to make sure that the entrepreneurs selected are a good fit with the programme and have strong underlying motivation to create social change through their enterprise.
  • How does SSE’s vision align with PwC’s Values?
    SSE’s vision is completely aligned with  the values that underpin all of our work at PwC. Striving to make a difference to society by solving important problems is at the heart of what both PwC and SSE India believe in.
  • What would be your message to budding social entrepreneurs in the country?
    What’s most expected of a budding social entrepreneur is to have a 'never give up attitude’. The challenges are many, but so are the opportunities. To define your purpose, understanding what is needed to fulfill that purpose, and to continuously learn from those around you, are three elements that in my opinion are crucial for all those wanting to create a broadened social impact.

In conversation with Shalabh Mittal

In conversation with Shalabh Mittal
  • How does SSE support the learning needs of these social entrepreneurs?
    SSE India’s flagship programme ‘Social Start up Fellowship’ focusses on the entrepreneurs and their personal learning needs and development rather than just the enterprise itself. Throughout the nine month fellowship, the social entrepreneurs spend 23-25 contact days (150 hours) in the form of monthly learning blocks which are based on 14 core areas that include technology, media, investment, personal development and business management. This is based on four fundamental pillars – expert and witness interactive sessions, mentoring, field and project visits and action learning sets. 
  • How do you foresee the future of social entrepreneurship in India?
    In the last decade, we have already seen an encouraging response to social entrepreneurship in India from development organisations and corporates within India. Increasingly, the impact investors are also recognising the merit of social entrepreneurship. However, it is imperative to have robust legal frameworks and a supportive financial environment to support the development of social entrepreneurship in the future.
  • Why must organisations help drive and support initiatives like SSE India?
    SSE India is unique in the social enterprise sphere as it focusses as much on the entrepreneur as on the enterprise. We all have a part to play in helping to drive and support initiatives like SSE- they remain the best way to create social change across multiple sectors and follow the UN sustainable development goals.
  • What have been some of the most inspiring stories coming out from SSE?
    Each of the 33 SSE graduates has an inspiring story. Every single one of them has either personally experienced or closely witnessed the social problem that they seek to change. Their unwavering motivation and determination throughout the nine month fellowship is commendable and I take inspiration from each and every one of them. Having said that, something we take great pride in is the fact that a large number of our fellows have gone back into the world post their fellowship and managed to raise financing for their enterprises, that is truly the test of how well the SSE India team is delivering on its mission of creating social entrepreneurs who will cause lasting, positive societal impact.

Lourdes Soares

Lourdes Soares is a 2017 SSE fellow. Her mother’s battle against cancer inspired her to start SabrCare. It is a simplified approach to provide cancer care in the form of services, emotional support and access to relevant information through Hospital Care Centres (HCCs) and a mobile app.

Lourdes aims to reach out to 10,000 cancer patients by 2020.

Umang Shridhar

Umang Shridhar

Umang Shridhar is another 2017 SSE fellow. She hails from a small village in Madhya Pradesh and has grown up witnessing women being discriminated on the basis of caste and religion. To curb this situation, she set up KhaDigi. The initiative derives its name from two words- Khadi (hand spun woven fabric) and Digi (a digital printing process). It is a conscious effort to merge the old and new technologies together to make sustainable products.

Umang has successfully trained 229 women as spinners and helps them create beautiful hand woven fabrics that are marketed and sold online.

Dr. Anirudh Gaurang

Dr. Anirudh Gaurang

Dr. Anirudh Gaurang is the founder and CEO at Rovonst Healthcare. During his dental training, he was deeply moved by the lack of quality healthcare services in rural India. He founded Rovonost to address this issue by creating an online platform to conduct video consultation and trainings in addition to creating a system of trained last mile health workers.

More than 1200 patients have benefitted from this initiative.

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Prakshi Saraswat

Marketing and Communications, PwC India

Tel: +91 124 4620 707

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