We identify products and services that can be produced or distributed in the rural community. Then, we create the go-to-market plan to ensure that the enterprise will be successful and grow into a flourishing, long-term business.
Basic Services and Social Impact Products
The living standard of a household depends not just on its income but on access to basic public services and facilities. These dramatically affect the ability of a household to move out of poverty.
A UV & UF water purification system at the community centre provides clean water that we sell and deliver to villagers at social prices. We also conduct an extensive awareness campaign aimed at potential customers.
In our model village, we installed an onsite microgrid that comprises a hybrid system of portable solar battery kits combined with a cabled microgrid connection for customers within a 250m radius of the installation.
In partnership with the German university organisation, Enactus, our Community Centre acts as a base to construct, test and sell low-smoke cooking stoves (chulas), which prevent illness and protect the environment.
Before we decide to launch a social enterprise in any given location, we take a close look at the geographic, environmental and logistics characteristics of that community. These are crucial to success.
United for Hope has developed a social tourism enterprise using the tourist potential of Kushinagar, a Buddhist Pilgrim site that is only 30 minutes away from our model village. We offer daytrips, where our guests have access to a ‘real’ Indian village and participate in activities within the local community.
Arts & Crafts
A by-product of our tourism activity is the possibility to work with villagers on the creation of items to sell in the local tourist market, initially at our community centre as part of our daytrips activity, and beyond that, helping them to sell these items in the tourist shops of Kushinagar.
Rural areas lack reliable public transport that helps the villagers get where they need to go. Our electric rickshaw does multiple rounds to nearby areas of work/school and to locations where transport is not available. And it’s fueled by our solar power grid. Funds generated by the e-rickshaw service support further village development activities.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE: The problem in context...
India has the developing world’s largest GDP. Despite its large and fast-growing economy, though, it’s still home to 40% of the world’s poor. Almost a quarter of the population is illiterate and about 98% of young people enter the market without adequate skills. This is especially true in rural areas. India’s rural poor are resourceful and hard-working, and social enterprise makes the most of these traits to improve living conditions. But there are massive barriers to building social businesses -- like lack of access to capital and debt equity, lack of awareness of this model among banks and support organisations, and a shortage of qualified managers and technical personnel in the social enterprise sector.