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early stage support for social enterprises

Early-stage support for social enterprises

lacking in India: PwC Foundation

While there may be many institutions currently present for funding as later-stage

support, startups in the social enterprise space sorely lack early stage hand-

holding.

"Support in the early stage is missing and that is part of our interest in terms of

getting the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE)to India,” says Jaivir Singh, vice-

chairman of PwC India Foundation. The foundation is the corporate social

responsibility arm of the global tax advisory giant.

Supported by PwC, SSE brings together and equips people with the technical

knowledge and business support to take forward their enterprises in the social

sector. This includes startups tackling urgent issues like poverty, education,

inequality and health, among others. The India school is part of a chain of 11

similar ones across the United Kingdom, Canada and India.

"Yes, we do provide funding but it is focused on creating the capabilities and

resources required to run the SSE fellowship rather than later stage seed capital

support", Singh said.

India has firmly woken up to the startup boom and added more than a 1,000 such

firms in 2017, industry body Nasscom has said.

however even as the nation strengthens

However, even as the nation strengthens its position as the third-largest startup

ecosystem globally, the level of support and interest from venture capital firms

for social enterprises are yet to match those that have been witnessed for their

counterparts in other segments.

On this note, Singh says India has a very old culture of giving but the nature of

doing so is changing significantly over the past two decades. He adds that

companies like e-payments player Paytm which has been able to fuse a message

of social impact and responsibility as part of its larger business model stand a

much better chance of receiving funding.

The large CSR space in India is slowly understanding the need and benefits of for-

profit enterprises which are more sustainable and robust in the longer run, Singh

argues. With regard to whether large firms were hitting their CSR requirements,

he said the process is ongoing and is expected to witness a jump over the next

few years.

Under the Companies Act, 2013, implemented by the corporate affairs ministry,

there are strict norms for ensuring good corporate governance practices besides

requiring certain class of profitable companies to shell out a minimum amount

towards CSR activities.

In December, the ministry informed the Lok Sabha that it had given its permission

for penal action against 187 companies for violating CSR norms in 2014-15 fiscal.

However, action is slow since the monitoring of thousands of companies is a

strenuous process and sanctioned number of officials is small, a senior

government official said.

To deal with the issue, last month the government launched the National CSR

Data Portal to provide a snap shot of CSR activities carried out by eligible

companies. Provisional figures for 2016-17 suggest 6,286 companies incurred Rs

47,19 billion worth of expenditure.

Article By - Business Standard