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BW Businessworld

Impact On Social Entrepreneurship

Covid-19 created a situation that the world has not seen before, when the normal pace of life and work came to a halt and millions of people needed help and access to food and shelter.

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Entrepreneurs with confidence and belief in their ideas are willing to make a difference to society through social impact businesses, but there are times such as these, when even such entrepreneurs are impacted. At the ‘BW Dialogue on Entrepreneurship – Need of the hour’, chaired by Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld, and exchange4Media Group, two such entrepreneurs shared their experiences. Lt. Gen S. M. Mehta, CEO, The Hans Foundation, recounted how “anxiety and uncertainty” had hit him hard “personally and professionally”. Ketto India Co-founder, Kunal Kapoor said, “I got a chance to spend time with my family, to learn to play the guitar, to watch and read, also managed to do a course in artificial intelligence, and a lot of work at Ketto.” 

“There are people who are passionate about and care for causes and want to make a difference, but they definitely look for ‘clean intent’ while stepping towards donations and NGOs”

Democratisation of Philanthropy 

Covid-19 created a situation that the world has not seen before, when the normal pace of life and work came to a halt and millions of people needed help and access to food and shelter. It was a time when social entrepreneurs could and did make a difference. 

Well-known actor Kunal Kapoor and Lt. General Mehta spoke of how thousands of workers were at state borders, trying to get back home when the lockdown happened and how the kind of organisation needed then was missing. Lt. Gen Mehta, said he was shocked by the images of migrant labourers struggling. “We at Hans Foundation managed to arrange the logistics and create one of the biggest isolation camps within seven days even when everything was under lockdown”, he said.  

Multifaceted Kunal Kapoor

Kunal Kapoor was already working with many NGOs in the social space, when he joined hands with Varun Seth to start a new journey as the Co-founder of Ketto India eight years ago. Kapoor demystified the name of the venture. “Ketto is an abbreviation for Key To Tomorrow” he said because the founders believe that  “Crowd-funding is the key to tomorrow”. Ketto aims to  be a bridge using technology between people who can   help and people who are in need of help.    

Kapoor pointed out that social entrepreneurship had its challenges too. Ketto had to grapple with:  

  • Raising Money
  • Making the process of donation transparent and feasible for people 
  • Reaching out to new donors 

“Being an entrepreneur and an actor seems to be   poles apart but they are really similar. As an actor  one needs to be creative, but as an entrepreneur it is  important to be creative to create disruption and to   make a difference,” said Kapoor.  

He listed three major things one needs to keep in mind:  

  • Creativity: Be creative to make a remarkable   difference  
  • Listen to the audience: You can be great in your head but listen to the feedback from the audience  
  • Self-belief: Believe in yourself and your  idea while putting yourself out there  

If we go by what Elon Musk says, education   comes in the way of being an entrepreneur.  Speaking of entrepreneurship, Kapoor said,  “I don’t know if it is really necessary to be  trained for starting a business. A number of  successful people just had a great idea, good  intent, confidence, and self-belief, they went   with it.”    

‘We aim to Transform Lives’  

Discussing Indian foundations and global organisations   Lt. Gen. S. M. Mehta shared his experience of working  on a global level. There are people who are passionate  about and care for causes and want to make a  difference, but they definitely look for a ‘clean intent’   while stepping towards donations and NGOs, he said.  

Describing The Hans Foundation as “one of the finest   organisations in the country,” Lt. Gen. Mehta said the  foundation aimed to create an equitable society and  transform lives for the better. “At The Hans Foundation  we are helping transform lives and are running a   national level programme with the government for  setting up homes for people in need,” he said.  

“We are helping people who are suffering from mental   health issues, have integrated village development  programmes, programmes for corneal blindness and  many other programmes for creating an equitable  society,” he went on to say.  

In conclusion, Lt. Gen. Mehta said he was still learning  from his grown-up daughters. Kunal Kapoor said he  believed Covid-19 had been a blessing in a way, since he  had had the time to learn to play the guitar.