Rural Relations: A Socially-Driven Organization
“India lives in its villages” – Mahatma Gandhi
About 65%–70% of the country’s population lives in rural areas. Pradeep was influenced early in his life by his own experiences and Gandhiji’s philosophy that India lives in its villages. Pradeep Lokhande, from Wai village in Satara District, Maharashtra, decided to dream big and reach out to the villagers to help them realize their dreams.
Rural Relations is a case study on social entrepreneurship with the twin objectives of creating social impact and being sustainable by being profitable. Pradeep demonstrates the importance of innovating along the way in the face of challenges in setting up field operations in rural India. Pradeep undertook a journey of his organization covering 40,000 villages of which he personally visited 4000. He tried to understand rural India’s administrative methodologies, markets and the bazaar-haat systems and the education system. In his journey, he established direct contact with opinion makers in villages and started recording details of the local economy. And in 1996, he got his first customers, Tata Tea and Parle, to delve into the data that he had collected. Since then there has been no turning back.
He also initiated the library movement, called Gyan-key, which aims to make a library in every rural secondary (middle) school a reality. It is a library of the students, for the students and by the students. To instill a sense of ownership, students are also encouraged to donate books, (regardless of their value) for ‘their’ library on their birthday, creating a feeling of belonging. The case study is poised at the stage where Pradeep opines that his goal is to reach all feeder villages of India in the next five years.
Expected Learning Outcomes
- • Appreciate an entrepreneur’s determined journey towards achieving success
- • Understand the critical outcomes for strategy execution in a ProSocial business
- • Analyze how businesses can be socially relevant as well as being a tough competitor in the market and make profits
- • Understand the concept of SROI and the possible methods that can be employed to calculate the value of the social impact of such businesses
Case Positioning and Setting
- • This case study can be used in an ‘Entrepreneurship’ course where students appreciate the difficult journey the entrepreneur traverses before he achieves success. The difficulties of initiating ‘ProSocial’ businesses can also be emphasized at this stage.
- • This case study can be used to illustrate the concept and significance of ROI in an entrepreneurial venture, and the constraints that go into evaluating the value of social businesses.
- • This case study can also be used as a teaching aid for ‘Rural Marketing’, where student understands and appreciates aspects about tapping rural markets in developing countries and the challenges of competing in such markets.
Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding
- • Students/Participants will be asked to have a pre-reading on ProSocial businesses – relevance and existence in rural landscape
- I. Will the present business model of Rural Relations be able to scale its business? Why or why not?
- II. How can Pradeep measure the social impact of his initiatives in monetary terms? How would you approach calculating SROI for Rural Relations and what additional information would you need?
- III. Is the organization structure at Rural Relations adequate to drive growth?
- IV. .....................