Social entrepreneurship forms the core of SES’s development approach. Only those activities with economic viability at the base can be successful. Through our extensive experience launching sustainable, income-generating projects, we know that a careful rollout combined with education and training is the key to success.
Here is how we work:
For each project, we launch a small, controlled pilot followed by a larger rollout. This two-phase process allows us to adjust the specifications of each project early on before investing large amounts of resources, and it increases the chance of success.
In rural India, local dynamics, including political and bureaucratic machinery, socio-economic realities (including caste discrimination, illiteracy, cultural and religious traditions) and generally low human development, are deciding factors in whether development projects succeed or fail. So, we carefully monitor progress during the pilot phase, providing mentoring and adjusting the model based on lessons learned. During this phase, we also identify individuals with talent and ambition, who will be mentored for the next phase to become social entrepreneurs and serve their community.
Once we feel the project is operating stably (usually a minimum of 12 months), we roll it out to a broader audience. Our role then transitions to that of an organisational partner. This includes identifying new sites, preparing business feasibility propositions, overseeing and guiding expansion, preparing awareness/marketing kits in the local language, training in operation and maintenance of the business, and preparing a “Playbook” for the social entrepreneurs.
Training at every stage of a project is essential. Recruiting local staff who are able to grow a business and possess the necessary professional and soft skills is the biggest hurdle to launching social enterprises. Our own experience and international best practices have shown that comprehensive training is required to transform potential talent into competent business leaders.
We conduct social entrepreneurship training for a select group of individuals identified during the pilot phase. These individuals are entrusted with managing the rollout of the project in their respective communities. Education includes literacy, finance, sales, planning, time management, reporting and team building. We also develop soft skills through training and coaching in negotiation, people management, communication, vocalising vision and strategy. Our approach is a formal/non-formal combination of close mentorship accompanied by skill training from experts on a regular basis.
SES officially owns each social enterprise projects and employs the workers. We will develop a franchise model at a later stage. To date, SES’s work has been concentrated in Delhi, NCR, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, but we will expand to other areas as we grow.