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 Social Trailblazer Programme & Social Entrepreneurship


The Union Minister of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, while addressing a Social Enterprise Conclave organized by Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) in partnership with LIC Housing Finance Limited has launched the 2nd edition of the Social Trailblazer Program, aiming to boost the Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in India.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Social Trailblazer Programme
  2. Social Entrepreneurship
  3. Need for More Social Entrepreneurs
  4. Challenges of Social Entrepreneurship in India
  5. Way Forward

Social Trailblazer Programme:

  • The Social Trailblazer Programme is designed to support the development of social enterprises and entrepreneurs, particularly in rural areas.
  • Its primary focus is on nurturing early-stage social and collective enterprises in various sectors.


  • The program aims to nurture and strengthen the ecosystem of Indian social enterprises.
  • It seeks to promote the growth of social enterprises and social investment to address long-standing social and environmental challenges.

Focus Areas: The Social Trailblazer Programme focuses on the following sectors:

  • Agriculture
  • Green Technology
  • Finance Technology
  • Education
  • Renewable Energy
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Social Impact
  • Waste Management
Support and Incentives:
  • Selected startups receive financial awards, including up to INR 25,00,000 in the form of equity funding and up to INR 5,00,000 in the form of grant funding.
  • The program provides one year of personalized incubation and acceleration support at IRMA ISEED Foundation.
  • Top-performing startups have the opportunity for additional funding, with up to INR 50,00,000 in follow-on investment from IRMA ISEED’s networks.
  • Participants also receive technology support, including up to USD 1000 worth of AWS (Amazon Web Services) credits.

Social Entrepreneurship:

  • Social entrepreneurship is the practice of using business models and innovative ideas to address social and environmental problems.
  • Social entrepreneurs aim to create positive change while generating revenue and profits.
  • Social entrepreneurs, also known as social innovators, identify social and environmental problems and develop innovative solutions.
  • They align with trends like Socially Responsible Investment and Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing.
  • Examples of social entrepreneurship include educational programs in underserved areas and initiatives to support children orphaned by epidemic diseases.
Types of Social Entrepreneurship:
  • Community Initiative: Small-scale projects that address specific issues within marginalized and underprivileged communities.
  • Non-Profit Organization: Organizations established with the intention of not making a profit, where revenue is not distributed to directors or members.
  • Social Enterprise: Organizations that use commercial tactics to optimize both social impact and profits for co-owners.
  • Cooperative: Democratically run businesses collectively owned by a group of individuals working towards shared economic, social, and cultural goals.
  • Social Conscious Business: Businesses that demonstrate sensitivity and responsibility towards social issues and injustice.

Need for More Social Entrepreneurs:

  • Social impact entrepreneurs have the potential to drive significant social change on a large scale by taking risks and developing sustainable solutions.
  • India’s economic growth has not been inclusive, leaving a significant gap between the rich and poor, and marginalized communities behind. Social entrepreneurs can play a crucial role in promoting inclusive growth and creating opportunities for these communities.
  • India faces environmental challenges such as pollution, deforestation, and climate change. Social entrepreneurs can create sustainable solutions to address these challenges, promoting environmental protection and sustainable development.
  • Collaboration with the government and private sector allows social entrepreneurs to leverage resources, policies, and expertise to create a more significant social impact.

Challenges of Social Entrepreneurship in India:

  • Attracting Investors: Social entrepreneurs often tackle future-oriented issues that may be perceived as risky by investors focused on profit-driven projects.
  • Developing a Strong Business Strategy: Social enterprises require support from professionals to create solid business plans that align with market realities and customer needs.
  • Balancing Financial and Social Goals: Social enterprises need to balance financial returns with social outcomes, which may make them less attractive to investors or donors.
  • Higher Costs and Risks: Addressing complex social problems can involve higher costs, risks, and uncertainties for social entrepreneurs.
  • Burnout and Well-being: The demanding nature of social entrepreneurship can lead to burnout, exhaustion, and a loss of motivation, affecting the well-being and effectiveness of social entrepreneurs.

Way Forward:

  • The field of social entrepreneurship has shown promising growth and has generated innovative ideas to address social problems profitably.
  • India’s social entrepreneurship ecosystem is well-developed and offers opportunities for collaboration, learning, and creative problem-solving in various sectors.
  • It is crucial to create a nurturing ecosystem that supports social entrepreneurs in taking up programs, bridging gaps created by the pandemic, scaling existing initiatives, and integrating them into the mainstream response system.
  • This can be achieved through:
    • Building Supportive Networks: Establishing networks and platforms that connect social entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, and experts to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing, and resource mobilization.
    • Access to Funding: Ensuring adequate funding opportunities for social entrepreneurs through impact investment, grants, and innovative financing models specifically designed for social enterprises.
    • Policy Support: Creating an enabling policy environment that recognizes and supports the unique needs and contributions of social entrepreneurs, including providing incentives and regulatory frameworks that encourage and facilitate their work.
    • Capacity Building: Offering training, mentorship, and incubation programs to enhance the skills and capabilities of social entrepreneurs in areas such as business planning, financial management, impact measurement, and scaling strategies.
    • Collaboration with Stakeholders: Encouraging collaboration between social entrepreneurs, government agencies, corporates, NGOs, and academic institutions to leverage diverse expertise, resources, and networks for greater impact.
    • Public Awareness and Recognition: Raising awareness about social entrepreneurship, its potential for driving social change, and recognizing the achievements and impact of social entrepreneurs to inspire more individuals to enter the field.

-Source: The Hindu, PIB

December 2023