Scaling is Crucial to Social Ventures, says Raju Reddy

Achieving maximum impact for social enterprises translates to achieving maximum scale. Scale becomes imperative for social ventures for many reasons: for one, it makes the venture visible and credible. Secondly, achieving scale simply means that more people enjoy the benefits of an initiative. Given India’s dense and growing demographics, scaling to amplify is a basic necessity for social enterprises based in the country.

The founder of Kakatiya Sandbox, Raju Reddy pointed out that unless social innovations touch a large population, it is unlikely that they are going to make a meaningful impact. Whatever you do in the social entrepreneurship space, it has to scale. “India is a country of 1.2 billion people. Unless you touch a large population, you are not going to make a meaningful difference,” he said.

24657182971_71a05c0e3e_zThe Kakatiya Sandbox, adapted from the Hubli Sandbox to help the proximate regions of Nizamabad, Medak, and Karimnagar works on the successful model of development demonstrated by the former. The Sandbox works to deliver impact through sustainable and scalable models that are furthered through people participation.

In following the prototype of the Hubli Sandbox, the Kakatiya Sandbox primarily borrows twin aspects of the Sandbox: the bottom-up approach of social development, which means that social development is conceived and propagated within beneficiary communities at the grass root levels before being scaled up. “It means that unless people living in rural areas are a part of the solution, development is not going to be sustainable,” Raju reiterated.

The Sandbox also works on the principle that the way to solve social challenges is by introducing an entrepreneurial zeal to the functioning of social enterprises. “The Sandbox brings the rigor of for-profit world and the entrepreneurial mindset to addressing social challenges,” Raju said, speaking at the keynote session of the Kakatiya Sandbox in Nizamabad.

Social Innovation is Driven by Relevance and Participation

The Sandbox works on the premise that entrepreneurship driven by the relevance of a business idea for a specific context as pivotal can be a powerful tool for those who want to change the world. The popular idea is that for community development, choosing the right developmental project for a given context is said to be the most crucial step towards success.

24122686503_fed4d9ab0e_zExperts say that entrepreneurship, whether social or profit-driven, is more about doing the right thing to solve a problem in a community and less about chasing market demand.”Entrepreneurship is not about the market, frozen market, demand etc. It’s about what to do when.It’s doing right things at the right time,” Pavan Peechara, CEO of Adaequare said at the recent Development Dialogue at the Kakatiya Sandbox, Nizamabad.

Advocates of social innovation emphasize on the relevance of involving all the stakeholders of development to achieve impact while conceiving, executing and scaling a social project. This means that the beneficiaries of development work, the government as well as private players who drive developmental activities, should all collaborate to achieve the desired impact at the grassroots level, according to Balaraju, Dairy Milk Entrepreneur. Speaking at a session titled stewards of soil at the summit, he said, “Four Ps – Public, Private, People & Participation – are important to make an impact through entrepreneurship.”

The Sandbox itself is driven by the zeal to enable delivery of context-specific solutions to social problems. In the words of Dr Desh Deshpande, social innovation happens when relevance precedes and meets innovation to deliver impact. To quote him, “Social innovation starts with compassion, and then you bring creative ideas. The ideas that you apply to solve certain problems do not have to be patentable, the first time in the world, have a huge competitive advantage, and so on.”