Thursday, September 8, 2011

Harish Hande-The man who lights up lives!

It was sometime in Jan 2010 that Ifirst heard about SELCO. One our alumnus, Thomas Pullenkav was on a panel which was discussing social entrepreneurship during IRMA’s B school fest Udaan.

Thomas was one of the first employees of SELCO. His talk on his (then) company was fascinating. After the panel, SELCO was an organization everyone wanted to intern at for the summers. However, some practical difficulties ruled out SELCO for me. Their stipend minus accommodation in Bangalore was a disappointment. Also, they wanted engineers! One of my batchmates did intern at SELCO and had a good experience.

SELCO again came up when a doctoral student at IRMA gave a lecture on social entrepreneurship. SELCO was used to discuss the issues surrounding scaling of a “social enterprise”. In one more panel discussion, Prof. Sriram pointed out the stringent process that Harish Hande followed in accepting capital from various sources particularly the for profit venture funds. A case study in the rural marketing class drove home the point that SELCO’s business model was something that had many people fall in love with it.

Therefore I was extremely happy when news about Hande receiving the Magsaysay award reached me. That he has received this honour in a short period of time (SELCO has been in existence since 1995) is an indication of the wonderful impact that he has had on the communities whom he sought to serve when he set up SELCO.

India needs many more Harish Handes!

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