Podcast: How To Build a Sustainable Social Enterprise in India

This blog post arises from the first pilot episode of the ‘In The Phone Booth with…’ series that I initiated at TiE Mumbai.

In The Phone Booth With

Essentially, In The Phone Booth is meant to be an audio only education series for entrepreneurs that will, once in a while, deviate and discuss an industry or trend specific topic (just like in this case and the next episode). You can read more about this series here

In this episode, I was interviewing Anurag Agarwal  (Co- Founder of Intellecap and Senior Vice-President Investment Banking) on the following lines:

The 45 min podcast can be downloaded from here

The Conversation was segmented into 4 parts (total 45min):
Anurag Agarwal Intellecapo  Anurag’s story in his extensive career in the social enterprise space
o His perspective, as an investment banker, on building social businesses in India
o Explore some career options in the third segment.
o Finally, in the fourth segment, we spent about 10 minutes answering some select questions from the audience.

Highlights
Segment 1: Anurag’s journey in the social sector

• Let’s start from the beginning … please tell us about your background. Where did you study and what did you study?
• We understand you hail from a business family- were you always looking forward to being an entrepreneur? What were you up to post your graduation and post graduation?
• What attracted you towards the social enterprise sector? Does growing up in your hometown Varanasi have any influence on this?
• How did you go about co-founding and starting up Intellecap : team, funding, clients, network?
• For the benefit of the audience, can I request you to make a quick elevator pitch on Intellecap and the key initiatives that you have been involved with

Segment 2: Investment Banker’s Perspective on Building Social Enterprises
• Before we explore ‘How To Build a Social Enterprise’ let us first understand ‘What is a social enterprise’ in your perspective?
• How many social ventureshas Intellecap helped raise investments? What sectors are these from? What are the key traits of the successful companies?
Any examples of companies which did not convert and why ?
• What’s the deal with ‘Impact Investments’ being the new buzz word- what do Impact investors look at when funding an enterprise?
• We have some aspiring entrepreneurs who have tuned in to this telenar from IIM Indore’s Kalpavriksha. Would now throw it open to you to list top 3-5 things to keep in mind when building a social enterprise in India.
• How does one maintain a balance between profits and purpose while running such an entity: you don’t want to get too aggressive that the ‘social’ ends up being CSR and not deviate too much to tend towards being an NGO
• What is the typical level of involvement with the government and local administrative offices in the social sector, in addition to the general compliances that every enterprise. Is this a special trait that social entrepreneurs need to possess?
• How evolved is the general investor network in the social sector in India? Many VCs actually come to the table with a western mindset of doing business, and may not always be able to empathize from where the entrepreneur is coming given the backgrounds. Do most investors bring the hand holding and guiding value add specific to this business? If there is a gap, how large is it? How do you tackle this as an investment banker?
Your tips to entrepreneur’s seeking /raising capital.
• Impact investment has become a buzz term these days- how impactful are impact investors in the social sector as of today?
• What is the distribution of the equity and debt amongst social enterprise. Are financial institutions bullish on this sector just like impact investors? How easy is it to raise debt?

Segment 3: Career Options in the Social Enterprise Sector
• Again, for the benefit of the aspiring entrepreneurs and students- what are the best options available today if one were to build a career in the social enterprise sector?
• Intellecap has been a prolific talent hub, a vibrant multi- geographic team with great diversity. What does it take to attract and retain such talent.
• Are there any solid foundations laid for industry-academia collaboration in this sector that churns out enterprising talent?

Segment 4: Q n A from audience
View Questions here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=233155026749632

  • Social entrepreneurs are empathetic, and have they ability to collaborate well with others, motivating them to act and serve selflessly. Social entrepreneurship can very well be the solution of a better tomorrow, a world which can take care of itself and eliminate hunger, social inequality, economic challenges and other such community issues.

  • Agree. It’s about being a socially responsible and sensitive citizen either as an entrepreneur or otherwise.
    On Apr 9, 2012 12:58 PM, “Disqus”