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How Can Social Enterprises Impact The BoP Segment

Vishal Mehta
Vishal Mehta
Co-Founder and Partner, 
Lok Capital
Vishal Mehta, is the Co-founder and Partner, Lok Capital, a Gurgaon based venture capital firm. It focuses on high potential financial inclusion and broader inclusion enterprises like education, healthcare, livelihood, serving the bottom of pyramid (BOP) segment. The firm aims at impact investing; to promote inclusive growth by supporting the development of social enterprises to deliver basic services to serve the BOP segment in a scalable, affordable and commercially viable manner. It seeks to partner with visionary entrepreneurs to help take these social enterprises to new levels of sustainability, scalability and professionalism and thus multiply the 'impact' on the BOP segment.

Social enterprises that work towards inclusion of the BoP segment walk a tight rope between balancing their profitability to sustain themselves, and making an impact on the socially backward population.

Entrepreneurs who work for inclusion of the BoP need to focus on delivering impact to the communities and segments they want to serve and rest will fall in place. As long as the value proposition of the service they are offering to their customers is clear and the stickiness (relationship with customers) is built into the business model, financial viability/profits will automatically follow. The whole social enterprise space is at its infancy, so opportunity to innovate is immense. There are many "low hanging fruits" in this sector, so the best thing which entrepreneurs can do, is to choose any and drive it with 200 percent execution focus.

Social entrepreneurs need to invest good time in articulating their idea. This is very important, because only then can they communicate to stakeholders (customers, investors, and others) what they stand for, with minimal mismatch in expectations.

The imperative to set up social enterprises impacting bottom of the pyramid population is felt now more than ever. Social enterprises are not just about financial inclusion anymore. It has moved to several other sectors. As investors, we at Lok Capital believe in giving a lift to social enterprises across sectors.

Lok Capital II will be focusing on four key sectors - financial services, education, healthcare, and employment services. The common thread is "inclusion" i.e. services that are targeted towards low-income, base of the pyramid segments to drive inclusive economic growth in India.

One key aspect that will drive the successful delivery of BoP business models is technology. Most of the impact businesses, especially when they are serving the BoP as "customer", are trying to balance three things –
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1: good
Posted by:vikas - 12 Jul, 2012

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