Live and let live- Knowing Social Entrepreneurship through mutual benefit and the birth of SIFE

A grim fact to digest in today’s world is that every nation is in debt, lacking facility in one way or the other. This was not mainly the case when either side of a boundary was a kingdom. Our economy is represented by the system of individually established currencies and with mathematically calculated exchange rates. A sad fact to note is that till date governments haven’t taken economic measures to eradicate poverty completely. The downtrodden have always been the victims of unfair distribution of resources and benefits.

 The common source of knowledge is the media through which we are educated about incidents around the world. It is sad to note that when it comes to our society and ecosystem, we are mostly fed information about incidents like accidents, crime and gossip; which follows with opinions but go unaddressed. Addressing these issues might require reorganisation of the system by itself. Every year governments take note of these issues and provide beneficiary plans but sadly, it has not shown much improvement. Citizens noted this and attempted to attenuate this issue by doing charity. But exhaust of money was a concern as donations were fluctuating and seasonal.

Slowly a new form of service was born to service the needy and generate convincing revenue at the same time. A system of mutual benefit was growing as there was promised result in both ends due to an inexhaustive demand-supply chain.

I wish to steer focus to one special non-profit organisation which took up social entrepreneurship seriously among college students. Around 40 years ago, a group called Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) was formed and students from various universities come and present their executed ideas as projects to learn and share their knowledge in their community. This practice kept going on and on until it caught the attention of huge organisations for support, funding and encouragement. Society slowly started to benefit from this action- the students being the mediators between them.

This went on until on September 30th 2012. SIFE was renamed to Enactus for rebranding. The creativity behind the new name was easy- entrepreneurial, action and us. With a redefined purpose: “To enable progress through entrepreneurial actions”. With this brilliant initiative to create opportunities to the society by bringing student, academic and business leaders together, Enactus existed in 36 countries, 1600 universities, having 66,500 members and an approximate of 7,400,000 working hours. Enactus has helped in transforming many lives to make a place a better, easier and simpler place to live.

Entries from every university are judged based on how valuable and effective the contribution is to the society. Teams are filtered on a regional, national and international level. Only one team out of the lot gets to represent their nation. This annual event called the Enactus World Championship is conducted on a grand scale with the presence of academic and business leaders throughout the world. Technical University Munich was the winners of the 2013 Enactus World Championship. They share relevant information on their website-

Social entrepreneurship is taking shape in various forms of free media as well. Blogs and forums are helping the concerned to have a sustained and consistent source of income. Enactus played a major part in reaching out to students all across the world.

Rathnakar Sundaresan

A knowledge-seeking Indian.

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