The Yale SOM Global Social Entrepreneurship course is designed to introduce students to practical issues faced by mission-driven social entrepreneurs, linking teams of Yale students with social enterprises (SEs) based in India. Student/SE teams work together to address specific management challenges faced by the SEs, culminating with the development of a set of recommendations (operational, financial or otherwise) to meet the identified challenges.
The social enterprises each send two representatives to Yale in late September for an intensive one-week program focused on both working with the student teams and on exploring conceptual frameworks and tools relevant to developing a business plan to address their management challenges. During the semester, each student team conducts relevant research, interacting regularly with their SE colleagues through email and conference calls, culminating in development of a plan and presentation addressing the management challenges they are jointly exploring. In January 2012, students will travel to India, first to present their recommendations on-site to the SEs with whom they are working. Then all the participants will convene for a two-day conference in Mumbai at which students, faculty, Yale alumni, SE representatives, and invited guests will hear and discuss the plans and explore issues of import to social enterprises in India.
Below are descriptions of this year’s partners and projects.
Anudip Foundation is dedicated to creating livelihood opportunities for impoverished people in rural areas and urban slums of India by:
1. Setting up training centers for skilled IT professionals and entrepreneurs
2. Employing its graduates to offer best in industry IT outsourcing solutions
3. Placing our graduates in positions at business processing operations companies and other companies
4. Providing financing and high-touch mentoring for graduates who set up IT-enabled businesses in their
The GSE team is focusing on helping Anudip develop its earned income strategy. We will gather secondary as well as primary research to assess trends in the US market for using business processing operations. We will also examine Anudip’s cost structure, product line and pricing, and recommend a strategy that will meet the needs of the future market.
ONergy is a renewable energy venture dedicated to providing rural, un-electrified villages with clean energy solutions for lighting, electricity, and cooking. Incorporated in 2009, the company offers a wide array of products ranging from solar lighting and electrification systems to solar cookers and smokeless cookstoves. Their goal is to be a hands-on, full-service energy solutions provider and to serve 200,000 households with a hub-and-spoke model of 50 Renewable Energy Centers within the next five years.
The GSE student team is working with ONergy to identify an operational and financial structure to expand its network of Renewable Energy Centers.
Based in Guwahati, Assam, and founded in 2004 as an internal program of the Delhi-based Centre for Rural Development, the Rickshaw Bank is a first of its kind rickshaw micro-leasing scheme that provides vulnerable and marginalized rickshaw pullers access to the necessary financing to purchase their own rickshaw asset and improve the quality of their lives. Since inception, the organization has manufactured and distributed nearly 4,000 of its uniquely designed rickshaws to pullers in the state of Assam. To provide a holistic service, Rickshaw Bank bundles the financed rickshaw asset with insurance, registration and identity card, uniform and sandals, and training. As a result of the Rickshaw Bank’s interventions, rickshaw pullers throughout Assam have been able to attain a greater level of financial independence, send their children to school, and provide higher quantity and quality of food for their families.
The Rickshaw Bank has successfully transitioned from a mere idea to a fully operational high-impact social enterprise, and it now stands at a crossroads of sorts. The GSE team is helping Rickshaw Bank to chart its expansion, tackling questions such as: Is immediate expansion to other Indian states the correct plan? If so, what is the most appropriate method of expansion? Where will the funding for future growth come from?
SEWA is an organization of poor, self-employed female workers who earn a living through their own labor or small businesses. Originally founded as a trade union in 1972, SEWA now has over 1.3 million members across seven states. SEWA’s mission is to organize self-employed women for full employment and self-reliance. SEWA works with its members to provide a wide variety of educational, financial, health and social services, with the objective of helping members achieve better livelihoods.
SEWA is currently in the process of launching the Hariyali Project, which will offer energy-efficient cook stoves and solar lanterns for SEWA members to purchase through affordable financing. The cook stoves require 40% less wood than existing stoves, reducing time spent gathering wood by as much as an hour per day per household. The reduction in wood used for cooking will also result in consistent annual reductions in carbon emissions compared to emissions levels from existing stoves. Monetizing these emissions reductions through the sale of carbon credits would create additional value for SEWA members. To assist with the implementation of the Hariyali Project, there are two Yale SOM teams working on different parts of the project. The Macro team will be working on creating a framework for developing and assessing feasible carbon financing structures for the Hariyali project. The Micro team will be refining the household-level financial model and using the results to inform a marketing plan to clearly establish and communicate the benefits of the lanterns and cookstoves to SEWA members. Both teams will work closely with SEWA to put together an implementation plan that supports the macro and micro aspects of the Hariyali project.
ZMQ Software Systems
Delhi-based ZMQ Software Systems was founded in the 1990s by two brothers (Subhi and Hilmi Quraishi) with a shared passion for creating custom technology solutions for social causes. Since that time, ZMQ has grown to become a social enterprise of over 30 employees working with an array of international partners. Their team of computer engineers has created over 100 games and applications for various platforms, including mobile phone applications. Many of these software programs aim to educate and raise awareness about a diverse set of social issues including women’s rights, pre-natal health care, HIV/AIDS prevention, climate change, and life skills learning. ZMQ is committed to advancing “Mobile for All” initiatives to help bridge the gap of digital parity. They have a history of partnering with non-governmental organizations, private corporations, mobile operators, educational institutions, and government entities to put their products in the hands of millions.
Given the diverse range of products in ZMQ’s portfolio, developing and replicating a successful business model has been challenging. The Yale Global Social Entrepreneurship team is working with ZMQ to help modify internal organizational structures to foster a repeatable business model that supports scaling up. This project involves analyzing ZMQ’s product case studies, selecting a product to scale, identifying clear roles and responsibilities for management and staff, defining the product’s cost structure, and developing a financial model for scaling this product.