16 Prominent Social Entrepreneurs In India & Their Impact

Social Entrepreneurs in India

There is no doubt that India has witnessed an extraordinary substantial growth and success in every sector.  The success and growth of India is acknowledged and is well appreciated. There are many hands and minds that contribute to India’s growth in every field, and one such category among them are the social entrepreneurs in India, that are actively contributing to the country’s economics as well as social growth.

Social Entrepreneurs in India

In the social entrepreneurs space in India, there are several names that have been shining as a bright star in this saga and have followed their passion and spirit to address societal issues. 

What is Social Entrepreneurship? 

Social entrepreneurship is stated as the ventures or businesses started by any individual or group of people, in order to have a positive yet effective impact on the society.

Along with that to influence changes and bring out the solutions that are being implemented to address social, cultural, or environmental issues.

what is entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurs have a specific aim and cause that they want to address and care about, and for that they develop a business or a start-up that revolves around making a positive impact and brings an influential & productive change in the society.

The main purpose of social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship is to create a lasting social change and impression through business and hardwork. 

These social entrepreneurs work by implementing various strategies for establishing their ventures, like, low-cost business solutions, in case to deal with shortage of manpower, etc.

Shaheen Mistri Akanksha Foundation 
Saalumarada Thimmakka Saalumarada Foundation 
Ria Sharma Make Love Not Scars 
Nikhil Singh Sai Seva Sansthan Trust 
Agishwar Jayaprakash Ignite-India  
Sharad Vivek Sagar Dexterity Global 
Olivia Deka She For Change 
Jeroo Billimoria Childline 
Anshu Gupta Goonj 
Harish Hande Selco 
Urvashi Sahni SHEF (Study Hall Education Foundation)
Trilochan Shastry Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)
Hanumappa Sudarshan Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra 
Santosh Parulekar Pipal Tree 
Sumita Ghose Rangasutra 
Ajaita Shah Frontier Markets 
Prominent Social Entrepreneurs in India

Note: Names mentioned in the above do not represent any order!

(1) Shaheen Mistri 

One of the top most social entrepreneurs in India, is not only a social entrepreneur but also is an educator and an active social activist. In 1989, she founded the non-profit organization named Akanksha foundation.

With the goal and vision of providing a high quality education, healthcare, and to provide financial assistance to the children living in poverty. 

Shaheen mistri

At first she enrolled around 15 children into the foundation and had employed her college friends as the volunteers. 

The Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit education project provides after-school tutoring to children from low-income communities. 

While serving from over the past 25 years, the Foundation has expanded from serving 15 children at one place to almost 4,500 children in 51 centers and 16 schools in Mumbai and Pune. The organization has a global expansion too. 

In 2008, she established Teach For India, a non-profit organization that was inspired by the Teach For America model. 

(2) Saalumarada Thimmakka 

The person who serves both roles, a social entrepreneur as well as an environmentalist. Saalumarada Thimmakka, was acknowledged with Padma Shri Award for her exceptional determination and hardwork for planting thousands of trees for over 65 years. 

Saalumarada Thimmakka

She is also known as “Aala Marada Thimmakka” who is known for planting and taking care of almost 385 banyan trees and planting 8000 other trees. Her hard work, thinking, determination, and uncountable services have contributed well to the society. 

Apart from the Padma Shri Award title, she has also received the “Vriksha Maate” title (that means mother of the trees), for her caring and effortless nature and love for trees.

(3) Ria Sharma 

The idea and passion behind establishing her social venture “Make Love Not Scars” pops up from her work of making a documentary on the acid attacks victims. In 2915, she founded this organization to support and provide financial aid to the acid attack victims. 

Ria sharma

Ria Sharma, is considered as the first person to establish India’s rehabilitation center for survivors of acid attacks and with that she has held various campaigns to end the sale of acid, which gained a lot of recognition.

Make Love Not Scars, is basically a non-profit organization rehabilitation center to help acid attack victims.  They provide their best services that help victims to heal physically as well as mentally from pain and suffering.

Not just that the organization helps victims by getting them some work and job, so that they can support themselves as well as their families. 

(4) Nikhil Singh 

One of the best social entrepreneurs in India, who has been associated with Sai Seva Sansthan Trust, which aims to make easy living for rural people. Nikhil has been the founder and general secretary of Sai Seva Sansthan Trust. 

The main objective of trust is to make available the basic necessities to rural people, like, agriculture, nutrition, sanitation, water resources, etc. 

Nikhil Singh

Apart from this, there are above 100 people that work with this trust to educate the rural community about various habits. 

Nikhil has been acknowledged with the title of Most Influential Leader in Microfinance under 30. 

(5) Agishwar Jayaprakash

A social entrepreneur from the roots of south India. Agishwar Jayaprakash was born in Chennai and is referred to as the exceptional youth leader. He is the founder of Ignite-India, founded in 2014.

With his venture he aims to provide under-privileged people access to education and improve their lives. 

Agishwar Jayaprakash

This organization offers scholarships, opportunities, facilities, and more of it, to students across India and whose family has a low-income status. 

With that they also aim and excel in providing training and guidance to the students to become a successful social entrepreneur. 

(6) Sharad Vivek Sagar 

A well known name in the social entrepreneurs in India space, he is the founder as well as the CEO of Dexterity Global. Founded in 2008.

His organization works on a vision to empower the most underprivileged and poorest individuals of the country to have educational opportunities and training. Along with that to create substantial job opportunities for them. 

Sharad Sagar

He was one of the few people that was listed in the Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2016. He has also been awarded with the title of Person of the Year 2017, Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service, and more of it.

He was also invited by the former US president Obama to White House. He works to empower and improve the living of marginalized communities around the world.

(7) Olivia Deka 

The founder and CEO of She For Change, is not only a social entrepreneur, but also is a social activist, and an active gender equality advocate. She For Change is a feminist led community and organization that advocates for gender equality. 

The organization was founded in 2019, also provides its services and aims to work to help Indian females to get access to health services and education. 

Olivia Deka

Her work and services has helped to create awareness on the major gender based violence and issues, and has worked to bring about a positive change in the society by talking about these issues. 

Her work not only has highlighted the major societal issues but also has determined the power of social entrepreneurship.

(8) Jeroo Billimoria 

Again a well known name in the list of social entrepreneurs in India. Jeroo Billimoria is a prominent social entrepreneur in India. She founded Childline in 1995. Along with that she also looks after and supervises many international non-profit organizations for betterment of the society. 

Jeroo Billimoria

Childline, operates 24X7, and aims to provide healthcare facilities and police guidance and assistance to the street children and to prevent child abuse and exploitation. The organization has supported more than 12,000 children and their families. 

For her sheer determination and hard work, she was acknowledged with the “Skoll Award” for social entrepreneurship. 

(9) Anshu Gupta 

Anshu Gupta, the social entrepreneur, who is best known for his social venture Goonj. The social venture Goonj, aims to address the need for proper clothing for the poor in rural India.  

Anshu gupta

The organization collects clothes from the urban places, puts them in one place, sorts them, selects good material from it, repairs it, and after that distributes them to the needy, poor, and underprivileged people.

The work done by the organization Goonj, is highly appreciated during natural adversities. 

(10) Harish Hande

The social entrepreneur that started the first rural financing program. Harish Hande, is considered one of the first social entrepreneurs in India who has started a venture for the energy requirements and use in rural areas of India.

Harish Hande

Harish Hande who is the founder and CEO of Selco, an organization that aims to make available the sustainable energy resources in rural areas of India, for that he initiated the first ever rural solar financing program in India. 

Selco, alone has done more than 12,000 installations in rural spaces & has above 25 operating retail and service centers in Karnataka till now. 

(11) Urvashi Sahni 

One of the most obvious names in the social entrepreneurs of India discussion. She is the founder and CEO of SHEF (Study Hall Education Foundation).

The organization that is determined to provide education opportunities and facilities to the students who belong to underprivileged categories in our society (specially girls from disadvantaged communities). 

Urvashi Sahni

Over the time, SHEF has trained more than 100,000 teachers under its umbrella and has helped more than 5 million children through various programs and schools. She has worked with over 900 schools till now and has positively impacted the lives of many children. 

Urvashi Sahni apart from being a social entrepreneur, is also an advocate, and has worked in various conferences around the world. 

She has the title of “Social Entrepreneur Of The Year” in her kitty, in 2017.

(12) Trilochan Shastry

The professor on board for the social entrepreneurs in India. Trilochan Shastry is a renowned IIM Bangalore professor. Trilochan Shastry is the founder of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Trilochan Shastry

ADR is an NGO that works with the aim to promote transparency, fairness, and accountability to strengthen the democracy of India. Shastry has also spoken against corruption and wrong decisions of the government in his career. 

Trilochan Shastry has been actively involved in promoting and serving social justice and educational reform in India and in creating other social organizations. 

The organizations include Centre for Media Studies, The Think Tank, Centre for Social Research. 

(13) Hanumappa Sudarshan

Hanumappa Sudarshan, one of the prime names of social entrepreneurs in India. He is the founder of the non-profit organization Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra (VGK), founded in 2002. 

The organization primarily focuses on providing the quality and better education to the underprivileged in the rural sections of the society. VGK organization aims to build a strong sense of community and approach between the students and the teachers. 

Hanumappa Sudharshan

They achieve this by offering scholarships, opportunities, and other financial support to the students and also sponsors them in various competitions and events. 

Till date, VGK across 14 states has implemented its various programs and activities.

Hanumappa Sudarshan is also a talented and exceptional writer, who has written some work pieces related to youth development topics. 

(14) Santosh Parulekar

Santosh Parulekar, started the social initiative named Pipal Tree, founded in 2007. With this he aims to create job opportunities for the unemployed youth in rural India with proper training and guidance. 

santosh parulekar

Pipal Tree has been successful in helping many young individuals to find a good job for them and to use the services that come along with it.

This helps to bridge the gap in the country’s job market. Since its inception in 2007, Pipal Tree has successfully trained over 1500 individuals, and is working on to open training centers across the country in coming years. 

(15) Sumita Ghose 

A social enterprise for craftsmanship in India. Sumita Ghose, started Rangasutra in 2005, that tapped the unharnessed and unexplored talent of craftsmanship in India. Rangasutra is a retail chain from FabIndia. 

Sumita Ghose

She is known to create work opportunities in India for the underprivileged and backward class girls and women and works to revive the age-old craftsmanship in rural India. 

After that she started the Ashoka Changemakers in 2011, which is an open-ended platform for social innovation and to promote social entrepreneurship in India.

The organization works to provide access to various resources like business, technology, education, and more of it.

(16) Ajaita Shah 

The last on the list of social entrepreneurs in India is Ajaita Shah. She is the founder and CEO of the Frontier Markets, a social commerce platform, founded in 2011. 

The organization works with a vision to create a better living for the rural space in India. 

Ajaita Shah

It aims to empower the rural community by providing them simple access to best and high quality services, best technological services, products, and more of it, at affordable and low prices possible. 

Till now the company has sold more than 10,000 solar solutions across the country, even in the most remote corners in India. 

They make the best use of the technology and innovation that helps them to have a strong deeper interaction with rural India. 

Note: Visit the article- 6 key factors affecting entrepreneurship in India.

Summing Up

India, in the recent time has seen a rapid increase in the list of social entrepreneurs in India. These individuals with their exceptional ideas and minds create businesses to address some of the major social challenges in the country.

social entrepreneurs in India

These minds tap the roots of severe as well as the minor issues of the country and bring about a positive change in the Indian society by working hard with their social ventures to provide the best of its kind features to the people. 

The above prominent social entrepreneurs in India, excels not only in establishing successful ventures but are also consistent in providing their services to the society. 

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Published By: Aashita Singh
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