Home / News / India /  Shanti Raghavan, Dipesh Sutariya win Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Shanti Raghavan and Dipesh Sutariya of EnAble India were Thursday awarded the 10th Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, 2019, for building an ecosystem of skilling, employment and entrepreneurship for persons with disabilities (PwDs).

EnAble India has changed the mindset of 729 business houses and built frameworks of inclusion in universities and government agencies, thus creating a robust business case for employing PwDs in formal and informal sectors across India.

The non-profit organization is bringing changes to the lives of PwDs through technology innovations, breakthroughs in skill trainings, new workplace solutions and behavioural change tools.

Over the past 20 years, Raghavan, Sutariya and their teams have transformed the lives of 220,000 individuals with disabilities and their families, community leaders, and employers across all the states.

All EnAble India trainees work across a wide spectrum of 14 disabilities, perform at par and receive salaries at par with their non-disabled peers. The organization aims to transform one million PwDs as confident taxpayers, active citizens, and nation-builders over the next three years through partnerships with 200 non-profit organizations.

Civil aviation and housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who presented the award, said social entrepreneurship is key to India’s success in the future. “To build a stronger ecosystem for social entrepreneurship in India, the government has announced the proposal of a social stock exchange in the budget this year that will help social entrepreneurs get access to finance," he said.

Raghavan said exclusion of PwDs leads to 5-7% loss in India’s GDP. “Today we are celebrating because we are making the economy better. Everybody asks us why we look so happy. It starts with when the parent, who first thought that their child could not do anything, realizes that it is possible, and as parents they need to focus on finding solutions. That’s when we start our celebrations," she said.

The award, jointly established by Jubilant Bhartia Foundation and Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in 2010, recognizes promising social entrepreneurs who implement sustainable solutions. Five out of the nine past winners have been women. This year’s winner was chosen out of 120 applicants. The other six finalists this year were Gaurav Mehta of Dharma Life, Mukteshwari Bosco of Healing Fields Foundation, Nand Kishore Chaudhary of Jaipur Rugs Ltd, Bijal Brahmbhatt of Mahila Housing SEWA Trust, Aakash Sethi of Quest Alliance, and Sanjeev Kumar of The Goat Trust Group of Social Ventures.

Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is a sister organization of the World Economic Forum. It provides unique regional and global platforms to promote social entrepreneurship as a key element to advancing societies and addressing social problems innovatively and effectively. It also fosters a peer global community of social entrepreneurs.

Jubilant Bhartia Foundation, established in 2007, is the not-for-profit organization of the Jubilant Bhartia Group. It focuses on conceptualizing and implementing the corporate social responsibility initiatives for the group. The Jubilant Bhartia Foundation’s activities include various community development works, healthcare programmes, cultural and sports events, an environmental preservation initiative, vocational training, women empowerment and educational activities.

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