Rohini Jog joins Ennovent as Director –Services. She brings with her fifteen years of work experience that is divided equally between the corporate sector and the social development sector. Rohini shares with us her experiences & passion for the development sector and what made her move on from the corporate sector. Read excerpts of the interview:
Can you narrate the incident that changed your career?
My volunteering stint with VSO. I was the first batch of VSO volunteers recruited out of India. I worked in Kampala, Uganda with a HIV and AIDS community based project. A tailoring workshop comprising of 15 incredible women were suffering consistent losses since three years and there was a lot of pressure to close it down since it was perceived as a ‘white elephant’. With timely intervention in business development activity and marketing, not only did we manage to post a profit of $5,000 and turn the business around but more importantly, I witnessed a 180 degree turnaround in the emotional, spiritual and physical conditions of the women. The word ‘dignity’ now means a lot more to me than it ever has and my commitment to the social development and social enterprises in particular was made then. It felt great to move from a corporate career where relationships are mainly transactional to a career in social enterprise where I am certain that my skills will make a difference to the ‘dignity’ of human life.
You have worked with several social enterprises in the past, what has your experience been like?
Incredible! There is no answer to why social entrepreneurs drive themselves under the most contrary conditions just to follow a passion. Handling double and triple bottom lines and delivering to every single stake holder and the community at large requires courage. Social enterprises, whatever their size, display this courage and renew hope in the ability of a collective to empower themselves.
What keeps you going?
I have yet to discover something that is more challenging than creating a vibrant profitable enterprise that serves the BoP. This space is simply too challenging and the rewards of success are multifold, not just monetary. That is what keeps the passion alive.
You bring tremendous on the ground experience, how do you think this will help you with your current role?
I am thrilled to be part of Ennovent’s ‘Discover and Scale’ initiatives. Finding socially relevant enterprises that impact BoP is a passion that I have pursued and it feels great that I have finally found a formal platform where I will help ‘discover’ great ideas, and help them with ‘finance’ and ‘scale’ through the Ennovent global network and help create vibrant viable social enterprises that will in turn help build empowered communities and change the socio-political landscape of India.
How do you think ennovent will be instrumental in bringing about the change you envision for this sector?
Ennovent is probably the only or one of the few organisations which has a holistic approach towards the promotion of social entrepreneurship. Discover, finance and scale which are the three pillars of Ennovent’s philosophy cover all aspects of social enterprise development. I believe that the three most important functions that Ennovent performs is -
1. Constructive interaction in the social enterprise industry between enterprises, experts and investors through the global networking platform providing an opportunity to find solutions through requests that can be put out directly.
2. Running challenges to scout, mentor and help finance the best ideas around serving the BoP and
3. Through partnerships, offering the non-financial support and mentoring required to improve scale and turn good ideas into good ‘investible’ ideas.