I recently graduated from the University of South Florida School of Business, which is ranked number ten in the United States based on a recent survey. This education was my quest to find validation for my thoughts and principles in life inherited from my father after spending my adolescent years in India. The degree I attained carries a huge meaning for me both professionally and personally.
My favorite subject in this program was Social Entrepreneurship. It is a part of the degree program called “Masters of Applied Science in Entrepreneurship.” This degree equates to having a combined degree in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Science. Along with my inherited learning in social entrepreneurship from India, this makes me a perfect candidate to become someone who creates radical solutions to change the world in a positive manner, or to become a part of the team that reaches this goal.
I also attended an Executive Education program at Harvard this year after realizing that my degree from India, along with my class standing, might render me ineligible for admission into Harvard as a full-time student. Using some of my hard-earned money to attend a short executive program at the school seemed to be the best solution. Harvard provides this type of program to help fund their programs for full-time students, along with using it to fund scholarships that will allow certain recipients to attend the university for free. I consider this a donation to contribute to their education system, and a perfect way of repaying my debt to The United States of America.
I’m not sure how I suddenly developed such a passion for furthering my education in the past year, but it resulted in a lot of fun times! I realized that there were two main factors that contributed to my motivation. The first was a desire to keep myself amongst younger, career-minded people. Secondly, I had a great desire to create a network of friends. This is something I could not have developed by sitting at my home performing the daily household chores, shopping, or even working as management in a mundane office setting.
The main focus of furthering my education was to enhance my knowledge in an effort to find the solution for creating a better world. I could see a clear vision through this particular course on Social Entrepreneurship. This vision is a result of the information I gathered in the course, and led me to the system I began developing. This system addresses the way non-profit endeavors should be run in order to achieve long-lasting success.
We formed a foundation in India last year with the intent of finding a solution to some of the social problems which exist here. We focused on a small place called Jaipur Rajasthan. I visited several non-profit organizations in the past two years during my visit to India and found that the main challenge for each organization was to raise funding for their various projects. On the other hand, I have several friends in corporations who have voiced complaints about not being able to find organizations who are qualified enough to receive their funding.
So what’s the disconnect here? I asked them about the criteria for non-profit organizations receiving their funding, and the answer was simple. They must have two government certificates that include a few pages of a corporate report detailing their mission. I know for a fact that these organizations are working very diligently in locations where it is impossible for these large funding corporations to enter. The high-flying corporate social responsibility (CSR) leaders can’t even travel there, and are even less likely to live under the bleak circumstances where these volunteers are living and working, day and night, in order to complete their mission.
Here is the disconnect; most CSR funding goes to those over- glorified agencies or organizations who know how to propagate their mission work in the eyes of those corporations providing the funding. It all boils down to one thing, and that is extremely extensive marketing.
This is the reason every charitable organization globally needs a professionally structured social mission, along with a business strategy targeted to execute that plan. You may call this a professional program toward social entrepreneurship, but for me its a vision toward eliminating the surprise factor from the lives of common citizens by engaging them in social change through education and training. We have spent countless hours in the past ten years of our operations in India trying to figure out a way that every individual who comes to work for our organization can have the foundation of fundamental skillsets that are necessary to be further trained on our processes. This is very difficult, especially considering the massive rise in the amount of illegitimate Engineering and MBA colleges.
Degrees are being distributed like groceries, where for the right price you can go buy any type of hybrid degree from the market. The fundamental reason for the lack of quality in the Indian institutions is a total absence of a system for compliance and audits. Many of the leaders don’t feel comfortable in being accountable or transparent to the system. This is just one area where a structured course on social entrepreneurship can be of great help and can provide a massive scope of change.
What we need is honest feedback collection from the students. We need complete freedom of expression at institutions and workplaces alike, along with any other areas where social opportunities exist to the masses. We must achieve honesty and transparency in all areas of society.
I think every MBA college or engineering college in India should require this fundamental course on social entrepreneurship before anyone can start a foundation or charitable organization.
The picture above shows my visit to an orphanage center in Jaipur, where we are trying to help raise funding. Unfortunately, all the administration seems to be focused on is attaining more funding from myself or using my resources whereas I am insisting that they use some of their funds to create a self-sustainable process that won’t require continuous requests for charity in order to achieve the necessary operational funding. With the proper education and training, this self-sufficiency can realistically be attained.
I truly believe that today’s entrepreneurs and CSR Leaders need to encourage and help these organizations transition into much more of a self-sustaining enterprise.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!