Democratizing Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship amongst Indian Youth

National Social Entrepreneurship Forum (NSEF) is a non-profit organization influencing the youth culture in India both in practice and academia by inspiring, training and supporting students for social innovation & entrepreneurship and in the process, emerged as India’s premier youth platform for social innovations with pan-India chapters facilitating the growth of leaders of change.

Yashveer Singh, Founder – NSEF in an interview with ennovent, highlights the importance of promoting social entrepreneurship in academic institutions, the need to support young social innovators & entrepreneurs and their ‘Author’s of Change’ program:

Tell us a bit about National Social Entrepreneurship Forum (NSEF)? How are you enabling students to get involved with social entrepreneurship?

It is ironic that while India houses possibly the highest number of social entrepreneurs in the world, social innovation & entrepreneurship itself forms a deplorable mention in the course curriculum in most academic institutions in our country. Curriculum aside, very few colleges in India have societies dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurship and development through enterprise on campus and creating a class of socially responsible citizens. NSEF aims to bridge this gap through a number of initiatives including setting up centers of excellence at top institutes across the country; providing mentorship, conducting a unique social entrepreneurship internship by connecting students to work with social enterprises and organizing conferences & competitions across the country.

Through NSEF we are influencing the student culture in India both in practice and academia by inspiring, training & supporting students for social innovation & entrepreneurship. NSEF was founded in 2009 with an aim to inspire the next generation of leaders, bridge the talent inequity in the social sector and foster ecosystems where social change catalysts are created and supported. Since its inception, NSEF has undertaken social entrepreneurial activities in various academic institutes & cities across India engaging 20000+ youth and has created a multiplier effect by leveraging already existing networks of social entrepreneurs and supporting a number of young social innovators & entrepreneurs.

Looking at the changes in the field of Social Entrepreneurship, how do you see young people effectively contribute to the sector?

In today’s world ideas and innovation are no longer geographically confined. Substantial changes in the form of increased innovation, stress on utilizing modern tools and technologies to measure and increase the impact, replication and scaling of proven and successful models would define the success of this sector. Also, significant changes are occurring in the field of social enterprise, including major developments in the flow of funding, entry of new social investment models and enterprises. All of these phenomena’s are occurring against a larger backdrop of demographic and market changes as boundaries blur among the traditional nonprofit, for-profit, and public-sector silos.

Over the past over three years, that I have been travelling the length and breadth of the country, interacting with lot of young people, I find more and more young people looking for purpose and meaning in their lives and eager to change the stereotyped culture, infused with an entrepreneurial spirit and moral imagination to come up with innovative and powerful solutions for a whole host of problems. The advantage of young people to be involved is when one is young, one dreams big; is more willing to take risks, to try something new, and to embrace change. Therefore, armed with endless energy, enthusiasm and optimism, these youth find it in them to make things happen. Having said that, it’s still a long way to strengthen an ecosystem to develop the right mindset, skills, abilities, processes and resources that would be required by these young entrepreneurs and their organizations to survive, adapt, and thrive in the complex dynamics at the BoP (Base of the Pyramid).

What is the ‘Authors of Change’ program?

“NSEF Authors of Change” is a program to engage students and provide a hands-on experience of running a social enterprise while working with social enterprises for a period of 2-3 months where students utilize their skills solving some of the challenges of the organizations. These students are selected on the basis of their demonstrated passion and commitment towards social change, leadership experience and their aspiration to become change agents for their society. The program will also create a network of young leaders who will be provided with access to mentors and experts from the sector.

During the internship these authors learn from each other through regular interactions & sharing knowledge. The program culminates with a two day transformational leadership immersion workshop at Bangalore. The two day event is abuzz with interactive sessions, lectures, case studies, capacity building sessions and more importantly the felicitations and the networking amongst each other. Sessions are handled by people from diverse backgrounds like social entrepreneurs, business consultants, and government authorities and will span a wide spectrum of topics instilling inspiration, wisdom and will equip these young students with skills of becoming a social entrepreneur. In the past, these students demonstrated a significant impact in their work which drew a lot of appreciation from our partner organizations. It’s a highly selective program with a rigorous selection process and we try our best to make it a win-win situation for both the organizations and the students.
We are currently looking for social enterprises who are looking to engage youngsters and get benefited from their skills.

Interested organizations could write to [email protected] or click here to Solve NSEF’s request on the ennovent network.


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