Social innovation hub on anvil

4 months ago 33
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The Union social justice and empowerment ministry is planning to organise a “social innovation hub” in Delhi to facilitate business ventures and start-ups by weaker sections of society, a person with knowledge of developments said on Sunday.

The event, likely to be held at the Dr Ambedkar International Centre in central Delhi, is aimed at building a world-class social innovation hub that works for the promotion of grassroots innovators, the person added. It comes at a time the government has unveiled a Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package to boost the economy hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The innovation hub aims at developing business leaders among weaker sections especially the scheduled castes by facilitating them to establish and scale up business ventures with support from government schemes. The aim is to catalyse economic growth and boost the socio-economic fabric of the country. The social justice ministry is presently drawing the contours of the plan,” said the person, who wished not to be identified.

According to details accessed by HT, the ministry intends to support at least one aspiring entrepreneur from the weaker sections in every district . The idea is to mentor and scale up indigenous innovative solutions for the benefit of these communities.

The innovation hub might provide business coaching and other support to promising entrepreneurs, and guide them on issues like market access and fund-raising, according to the person cited above. The hub could also help these entrepreneurs gain access to new technologies and best practices. The hub could also explore tie—ups with corporate players to boost the new entrepreneurs.

“The most important aspect is that such a hub is relevant to the socio-economic scenario. Therefore the ministry is brainstorming to make it an effective platform,” said the person cited above.

The hub could hold leadership programmes for NGOs, social enterprises and even have entrepreneur-in—residence programmes, according to the person cited above.

Another key idea is to provide business skills to persons from the weaker and underrepresented sections, which could be former convicts or those recovered from alcohol or drug addiction.

“One of the Modi government’s focus areas has been ensuring employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to all sections. There is a view in the ministry that promotion of entrepreneurial skills and opportunities could mean actual empowerment of a significant strata. The hub could play a key role in this direction,” said the person cited above.

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