Entrepreneurship and Social Change

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Indian School of Business (ISB) held the second event of the 10th year celebrations with a panel discussion on “Entrepreneurship and Social Change” at the Infosys Campus in Bangalore. The panelists comprised N. R. Narayana Murthy, Chief Mentor, Infosys Technologies Ltd, Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Editor, Business Standard, K. Jairaj, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka and Ramesh Ramanathan, Co-founder, Janaagraha. The panel discussion moderated by Ajit Rangnekar, Dean, ISB brought out valuable insights on the essence of social entrepreneurship and public good.

Commencing the panel discussion, K. Jairaj shared his views about how social entrepreneurship can be used for social good in today’s scenario and that provisioning of public good cannot be provided by private enterprises alone. He mentioned that there are number of impediments to social benefit and the need to condition people’s mindsets to create an enabling environment for social entrepreneurship. The heart of his discussion mainly constituted the endeavour to mainstream social entrepreneurship through the civil, government and private bodies working together to make it more meaningful and relevant.

Narayana Murthy known as one of the foremost drivers of social transformation, elaborated on the issue saying that it is the country’s collective responsibility to ensure that every child in the country receives basic education, healthcare, nutrition and shelter. He felt that such a social transformation can take place only if there are ample jobs available, which in turn can be created only through entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship requires an environment espoused by ‘capitalism with self restraint’. He felt the need for the government to become a transparent and efficient regulator and not an inhibitor of entrepreneurship.

Speaking on the occasion, Ramesh Ramanathan said that as far as entrepreneurship in today’s society is concerned, the Government has two broad variants – the not-for-profit institutions and the social businesses that have a business model to generate profit. These are the two examples of entrepreneurship that are needed to drive social change. India is an attractive destination for entrepreneurship today where there is an increasing ecosystem of talented people who want to make alternative career choices and lead the process of change in the country.

Dr. Sanjaya Baru mentioned that ‘Entrepreneurship is social change’. It is through entrepreneurship that we have seen fundamental changes in our lifetime. Entrepreneurship in India is driving the trajectory of the current 7.8% growth. The change of the bottom is driving the change at the top. India is a capital of social entrepreneurship. Despite the lack of government support, entrepreneurship has flourished in India.

The event was attended by a large gathering comprising ISB alumni, academicians, entrepreneurs and industry executives from Bangalore. The evening concluded with participants sharing experiences and looking for ways to contribute to the process of social change in the country.