Publishers note(FSG): Africa needs to get on board!
There are hubs for social entrepreneurship around the world—from San Francisco to the United Kingdom to Nairobi to Mexico City. No one can deny that India has rapidly become a leader in social innovation, rapidly harnessing the momentum in the sector and developing an ecosystem that is supporting social entrepreneurs with incubators, mentoring, and financing.
In an April 2012 study of the social entrepreneurship landscape in India, Intellecap, a leading consulting company in the space, found that the sector has really taken off since 2005. While it is a young industry, existing social enterprises are working aggressively to secure funding to scale operations to bottom of the pyramid customers. Nearly one in three is in a growth stage, with the most dramatic increases for companies focusing on energy and agriculture-related solutions. Despite all of this, Intellecap found that enterprises are being challenged to meet investor expectations—while they are eager to grow operations, funders are not quite convinced that they are ready. So, while social entrepreneurs are excited to consider next steps, they clearly have a lot of learning to do—and must do a lot more to prove positive outcomes, financial and social. But, if they can, India could become a hotspot and global test ground for impact investing.