If setting up a social enterprise has been on your mind for sometime then one of the first few steps to be taken in that direction involves establishing strategic partnerships. Looking for strategic partners is not very difficult. Here are 7 places you can look…
Non-government organizations or NGO’s as they are commonly known are among the best organizations that you can partner with. Most NGO’s have their own set up, administration, visibility and groups of people that they work with which is why partnering with them gives you very little to worry about on those fronts.
You can collaborate on one project to begin with, a testing of waters of sorts and if things work well you may go all the way.
Self Help Groups (SHG’s) are organizations that work in the micro finance arena. Peer pressure and support (depending on what is needed and when) are instrumental in getting things done. Often found in rural areas, suburban areas and even in urban areas SHG’s have been instrumental in proving entrepreneurial opportunities to marginalized social groups like women and the handicapped.
Joining some global, national and even local support networks that are working to help entrepreneurs everywhere with finance, marketing and human resource issues is a great idea. It is the best and quickest way of testing the waters with your “social enterprise ideas”.
Social enterprises like eCoexist have successfully partnered with rag pickers on a number of projects. They impart training to groups of rag pickers to create eco-friendly products thereby providing them with supplementary income generation opportunities.
Most people would frown upon collaborating with the prison but the fact is that inmates of prisons (there is a t least one in every major city) are trained in various skills that they can use to generate income after completion of their sentence. Most people are reluctant to employ former convicts and partnering with the prison is a good way of giving back to society and creating products at the same time.
Framers, particularly in countries like India are often small and marginalized sections of society. A case in point is “The Hive”, an endeavor to promote community-based beekeeping wherein UTMT supports trains and partners with beekeepers across the country to produce and market high quality single flora gourmet honey that is available seasonally across India. In the process it provides small and marginal farmers with the opportunity to supplement their income from farming with bee-keeping.
Reviving local arts and crafts by partnering with artisans near you is another way of establishing a social enterprise. “Rehwa“, the brand that has revived the art of weaving the Maheshwari sarees is an instance of a venture that turned around the lives of the weavers of the Maheshwari saree. Look around…there could be a struggling/dying art/craft in dire need of revival somewhere near you. Find it and make a difference!
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