The Indian economy has witnessed rapid growth during the last two decades as a consequence of liberalization and globalization. However, contrary to expectations, such growth has not reduced economic inequality in the Indian society. India is today the home to a large number of poor people who do not have any social security, cannot afford proper education or healthcare for their families and struggle to have access to financial services or non-polluting sources of energy. While more than 60% of Indians live in villages, agriculture contributes to about 17% of Indian GDP, resulting in rural unemployment and large-scale migration to Indian cities. The resources at the disposal of government are not adequate to provide them with a decent living, neither have not-for-profits been able to raise enough grant money to deal with their needs.
Fortunately, such challenges have spurred several organizations into creating business models that explicitly address the needs of the poor, create products and services that are affordable and useful to improve their economic conditions. These organizations are inclusive in their mission and their business models enable them to be financially sustainable. We invite you to a week long programme at IIM Bangalore where we will discuss the challenges of poverty and inequality that India and many rapidly growing countries from emerging economies are grappling with and explore some of the business models, which in their innovative ways, are providing possible answers to deal with these challenges. Apart from in-class discussions led by real life case studies, we will interact with founding teams of such innovative businesses and engage with them to understand their approaches and methods for resolving these challenges. This course will enable students of business schools to apply principles of management in a constrained non-market environment and understand the tradeoffs that are involved in seeking a balance between the dual objectives of social enterprises – of addressing the needs of the poor and maintaining financially sustainability.