Social Enterprises are becoming more and more popular as means of bringing changes in the society. These enterprises work by identifying a social need and provide service on low cost basis. Thus fulfilling a demand and meeting the costs of service from the user of service. Their model is always a low cost one and have no qualms for being ‘For Profit’. Here is an example to illustrate what is making these popular.
Ravi Ghate, a 12th pass who failed his diploma started a project SMS-one way back in 2005. The concept was to send community based news relevant to youth through SMS by working with a community leader (generally a school dropout) who would forward SMS rec’d by him within his community – cluster of around 1000-1500 families. Idea was that messages would be relevant for the person receiving the message and would have some small cost for the person receiving the same.
Idea flourished, Ravi Ghate’s enterprise has earned huge accolades both at national level as well as international. It won several awards, including Clinton Global Initiatives, NASSCOM Social Innovation Honor Award. It stood amongst Top 15 Best Ideas in the World at California based N2Y4 Mobile Innovation Challenge-2009. SMSONE also has been featured in several international newspapers & forums, such as Washington Post, AsiaMag-Singapore, Entrepreneur-India, NCERT-CIET, VODAFONE, UNESCO-IFAP, FICCI reports and was included in Hot 5 start-ups in India by most renowned Forbes magazine. Research studies have also been conducted by IIT-B, IIM-A, Oxford-DCI, Stanford-Seeds of Empowerment.
Ravi Ghate did not form an NGO, but took it as a profit venture. He has since formed a Pvt Ltd co, which runs not only SMS-one but several other projects on similar lines. Principles are simple that costs are low Rs 30 for 100 SMS. It also covers upto 3 questions which will be answered by experts. These include eduVARTA (Education Alerts) – providing SMS alerts about courses in colleges. This service is marketed to young girls & boys or their parents. bizVARTA (Business Alerts) – For educated but unemployed youths for self employment promotion. He has plans to start new services for particular castes providing news about their castes, etc.
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