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Promoting Sustainable Livelihood for Poverty Alleviation: A Case Study of BASIX Social Enterprise Group*

CASE STUDY, ENTREPRENEURSHIP & STARTUPS
ET Cases - FLAME, 14 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Dr. Bharti Sharma - Associate Professor, Dr. Kavaldeep Dixit - Professor & Vice-Principal - International School of Informatics and Management, Jaipur and Dr. Tanjul Saxena, Associate Professor, IIHMR University - Jaipur

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Promoting Sustainable Livelihood for Poverty Alleviation: A Case Study of BASIX Social Enterprise Group

Introduction

BASIX explores and establishes linkages between the poor, who are excluded from opportunities for better livelihoods, and the economically more prosperous world that can only benefit from the vibrancy and talents of the poor. The company identified these linkages as capital, human resources, technology, markets, institutions and policies. BASIX SEG provides a unique example of livelihood generation that is sustainable for both zones together. The case highlights that BASIX attempts to use capital (financial, human, social and natural capital) to work towards bringing equality of opportunity and social justice in society, globally.

Company History & Description

BASIX SEG is the brand name of all the companies held or affiliated by the holding company Bhartiya Samruddhi Investments and Consulting Services Limited (BASICS Ltd.), a public purpose company estabilished in 1996 in India. As the holding company, it provides investment and strategic guidance to its subsidiaries in the areas of Micro-finance and livelihoods for the past 20 years and has been involved in policy work related to the financial and livelihood promotion. It does so through provision of savings, credit, insurance, remittances, agriculture/business development services and institutional development services to more than 32 million1 poor in Asia Pacific, South-East Asia, South Asia and Africa.....

Vision

“Equity for Equity” – to use capital (natural, human, social, physical and financial) for bringing equality of opportunity and social justice in society sustainably.

Mission

To promote sustainable livelihoods, including the rural poor and women, through the provision of financial services and technical assistance in an integrated manner...........

The Ecosystem of BASIX SEG

Among the 12 companies directly held or through affiliations, three are engaged in financial inclusion services, three in direct livelihood promotion services, three in livelihood consulting services, and three not-for-profit..............

BASIX Sub-K iTransactions Ltd. – Branchless Banking

Sub-K is a financial inclusion service provider where it enables banks to provide financial services through branchless banking. Sub-K has developed its own mobile banking and payment solution platform – ViTranSP – which uses voice, fingerprint biometric, PIN and Aadhar for authentication...........

BASIX Academy for Building Lifelong Employability (B-ABLE) – Vocational Training Institute

B-ABLE has the message of ‘BE ABLE’ (aptly translated into a Sanskrit DAKSHA BHAV). B-ABLE conceived an innovative, sustainable, nation-wide model for building a high quality skilled workforce – both for the unorganized and the organized sectors. B-ABLE was set up much earlier to the establishment of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) by Government of India in 2011 in Indian Skill Development Sector..............

BASIX KRISHI Samruddhi Ltd. – Agri-Value Chain Development Products and Services for Small Holders

BASIX Krishi Samruddhi Ltd. (Krishi) evolved in the year 2010 to provide a holistic suite of products and services in an integrated manner to the farmers in agriculture and allied sectors. Krishi responds to local conditions and requirements and seeks to maximize the impact of its interventions among small and marginal producers. The agriculture advisory services help in productivity enhancement of the small and marginal farmers..........

BASIX Consulting and Technology Services (BCTS) – Development Consulting

The experiences gained from the work of the group in livelihood promotion were offered to other institutions in India and other countries through technical and advisory services. Thus, BASIX is involved in consultancy services since 1996. BASIX Consulting and Technology Services Ltd. builds the conceptual and analytical capability and implementation experience in various companies of the BASIX Group for undertaking sectoral and policy research, feasibility studies and other consultancy services, with a focus on contributing to the knowledge and practice of livelihood promotion...........

CTRAN Consulting Limited – Focusses on Sustainable Development Solutions

Key activity for CTRAN is to develop sustainable climate adaptive solutions for its clients in energy, environment, climate change and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). It aggregates micro-CERs under CDM, develops scraped models on climate change adaptation and mitigation, emphasizes on low carbon and climate resilient infrastructure and improves service delivery in health, water and sanitation, clean energy and environment. CTRAN has been a part of several missions for appraisal, review and evaluation, formulation of sector development program.................

VAYAM Renewable Limited

VAYAM offers Transaction processing and other value-added services to Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs) and other electronic distribution organizations globally. Vayam was established in 2014 to foster rural energy-entrepreneurship thereby making the energy-access model decentralized and self-sustainable economically and socially................

Bhartiya Samruddhi Finance Limited: BSFL the MFI

Registered with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as a Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC) and incorporated as a Company under the Companies Act, 1956. BSFL has customer-centric loaning model to support customer cash flows, with longer tenure than industry (15-18 months) and with monthly repayments. It is the only MFI providing Agriculture, Livestock, and Enterprise Development (AGLED) services along with micro-credit. Government of India, under its National e Governance Plan, has given a mandate to BSFL, (the only MFI operating CSCs) to manage more than 3,300 Common Services Centres in 4 States of Odisha, Tripura, Punjab and Maharashtra..........

Indian Grameen Services – Promoting Livelihoods Everywhere

Indian Grameen Services (IGS), a not-for-profit company registered under the Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956, has been involved in undertaking action-research and design new pro-poor livelihood intervention models for up-scaling. IGS also provides technical assistance and other support services for supporting livelihoods in the rural areas. Its service includes identification of livelihood opportunities, design and development of financial and livelihood promotion products to reach various segments of the rural poor and capacity building support to community institutions and micro-enterprise...................

Institute of Livelihood Research and Training (ILRT) (formerly The Livelihood School) – Livelihoods Research, Training and Knowledge Management

ILRT, is a society, registered under A.P Societies Act, 2001 promoted for knowledge building, dissemination and training of livelihood professional in NGOs, government agencies, banks and MFIs. The mandate of ILRT is to build up a scientific knowledge base on livelihoods and disseminate the same to livelihood specialists for augmenting their understanding and execution capabilities so that they will promote large number of livelihood. It has trained a range of practitioners representing civil society organizations, community organizations, development financial institutions, government departments, bi-lateral and multilateral donors, etc...........

Livelihood BASIX Inc. (LBI)

Livelihood Promotion Non-Profit Corporation, is set up at Ithaca, New York (NY) under the New York State Law. LBI proposes to form partnerships with livelihood promotion institutions globally to enhance institutional capacities to work on livelihood services by working on three livelihood basics for the bottom of the pyramid – financial, institutional and business development services where the main issues are rural development, youth development and gender balance through women empowerment...............

BASIX Micro Waste Venture Limited (BMWV) – Green Ventures

BASIX Micro Waste Ventures India (BMWV) conducts integrated solid waste management including primary doorstep collection, sorting, reprocessing, and composting in a topographical area consisting approximately 3 lakhs households. The waste management activity is carried out by a model waste picker group trained by BMWV to provide well-organized solid waste management service...................

The Entrepreneur behind BASIX SEG

Vijay Mahajan (Vijay) is the Founder and Chairman of the BASIX Social Enterprise Group that promotes livelihoods of three million poor households. Vijay stepped into voluntary sector in 1983 when he co-founded PRADAN, an NGO that works for livelihood promotion of underprivileged households in rural India. Vijay served on the boards of major Indian NGOs – AAEFA, Gram Vikas, PRIA and DSC, and some major Indian policy forums such as the Rangarajan Committee on Financial Inclusion, the Raghuram Rajan Committee on Financial Sector Reforms and the IRDA................

BASIX Human Resource

The Human Resource of the company at BASIX is a role model in acquiring team of professionals from diverse backgrounds to work towards a common goal of Livelihood Promotion.............

BASIX Working Strategy

BASIX executes through the Livelihood Triad Strategy for eradicating social and economic inequities, thereby ensuring different livelihood aspects being addressed for overall poverty alleviation. BASIX strategy is to facilitate a widespread set of livelihood promotion services that includes Financial Inclusion Services (FINS), Agricultural / Business Development Services (Ag/BDS) and Institutional Development Services (IDS) to rural underprivileged sections..........

The Sustainable Livelihoods Framework of BASIX (BASIX’s DFID Framework)

The British Department for International Development (DFID) Sustainable Livelihoods Framework (Exhibit IV) was developed in order to organize and improve organizations’ efforts to eliminate poverty. The framework aims to present the primary factors, their significance, and the nature of their interactions. The company adopted this framework as a tool for analyzing poverty. With the adoption of this model, it helped BASIX to research poverty at household level as well as signifies the internal power dynamics within households..........

• Vulnerability Context - The vulnerability context describes the external uncontrollable factors that influence people’s assets and livelihood opportunities. Broadly, these factors are classified as.....

• Livelihood Assets - The DFID framework outlines assets in terms of five categories necessary for the pursuit of positive livelihood outcomes (Exhibit V).......

• Transforming Structures and Processes - “Structures” denote to the lawmaking organizations that provide the necessary requirements for acquiring and capitalizing upon assets, manage natural resources, and provide other services crucial for gaining access to assets, exchanging them, and benefiting from their use.......

• Livelihood Strategies - Livelihood strategies concern the individual’s available and implemented options for pursuing livelihood goals. The greater the diversity of livelihood strategies, the higher the household’s resilience to the shocks, trends, and seasonality conditions within the vulnerability context...............

• Livelihood outcomes - Livelihood outcomes refer to the outputs of livelihood approaches. Successes may include higher income, greater self-sustainability (e.g. self-esteem, physical security, political empowerment), reduced vulnerability, greater food security, and/or improved environmental sustainability..............

Conclusion

BASIX-SEG is a complete package of multiple activities that supports the country in poverty eradication programme by economic upliftment of citizens (Annexure II). Different BASIX entities offer varied specializations that provides all round support to marginalized sections of the society (Annexure III). The organization has inhouse pool of multidisciplinary skill sets that supports it in its endeavors..........

Assignment Questions

I. What different challenges are faced in building a social enterprise in the field of microfinance?
II.....................

Exhibits

Exhibit I: BASIX SEG Corporate Structure

Exhibit II: Key Areas of Specialization of BASIX HR

Exhibit III: The Livelihood Triad Strategy

Exhibit IV: The Sustainable Livelihoods Framework

Exhibit V: The Asset Pentagon

Exhibit VI: Collaborative Polygon

Annexures

Annexure I: Awards and Recognitions

Annexure II: BASIX-SEG as Pioneer

Annexure III: Selected Clients and Partners of BASIX-SEG

Teaching Note Preview

Promoting Sustainable Livelihood for Poverty Alleviation: A Case Study of BASIX Social Enterprise Group

Case Synopsis

The case “Promoting Sustainable Livelihood for Poverty Alleviation: A Case Study of BASIX Social Enterprise Group” is an account of an exemplary NGO working in the realm of sustainable livelihood for poverty alleviation. Basic SEG is the brand name of all the companies held or affiliated by the holding company Bhartiya Samruddhi Investments and Consulting Services Ltd (BASICS Ltd), a public purpose company established in 1996 in India. It provides investment and strategic guidance to its subsidiaries in the areas of Micro-finance and livelihoods for the past 20 years and has been involved in policy work related to the financial and livelihood promotion. BASIX is a livelihood promotion institution, working for more than 3.5 million customers, over 90% being rural poor households and about 10% urban vulnerable sections of the society. BASIX works in 17 states, 223 districts and over 39,251 villages. The ecosystem of BASIX comprised of 12 companies directly held or through affiliations. Three were engaged in financial inclusion services, three in direct livelihood promotion services, three in livelihood consulting services, and three not-for-profit affiliated companies who are engaged in action research, training, knowledge management, business development, policy advocacy and international consulting.

Vijay Mahajan (Vijay), the founder and Chairman of BASIX SEG realized the need to attract mainstream financial resources and also need to align the future leaders with the challenging and precarious situation of inequitable distribution of resources, he conceptualized BASIX as a ‘new generation livelihood promotion institution’. The case captures the vision, strategy and ideology of BASIX as culled out of primary qualitative research using mixed methods of narratology, in depth interview of stake holders, content analysis of website and corporate presentations, records of the organization and field observation of beneficiaries..........................

Case Positioning

This is a diagnostic-cum-prescriptive case intended to be approached in a manner to explore challenges and opportunities in Social Entrepreneurship, assessing in depth the customer (beneficiary) needs, designing products and services unique to the beneficiaries given socio-economic and cultural context and developing sustainable livelihood opportunities for the bottom of the pyramid. The case relates to integrated financial inclusion services, livelihood promotion, livelihood consulting and creating evidence-based policies through action research, training and advocacy.

Target Audience

The case is expected to be appreciated by a range of serious to leisure readers and would specifically help students, faculty and learners of development sector, Business Management, Strategic Management, Social Entrepreneurship and Social and Policy Researchers. It can also be of use for budding managers and entrepreneurs to ‘learn by example’ the nuances of running an integrated development model for livelihood. The small group approach of 3-5 students discussing on the issues and comparing and encouraging elaboration on other groups’ ideas will be an ideal way to approach the case. Any suggestions can be shared with the authors on email id given in the corresponding author’s details which will be shared with the protagonist.

Learning Objectives

• To enable the participants to appreciate the plights of poor and the challenges of livelihood faced by the lesser privileged
• To appreciate the challenges faced in building a social enterprise in the field of microfinance
• To understand structural complexity of an organization that has a wide span of services integrating holistic objectives
• To apply valuable learnings BASIX can offer to other Micro Finance Institutions and social entrepreneurs
• To enable readers extrapolate the future arenas of work for the Organization

Concepts requirement to undertake analysis

1. Social Entrepreneurship
2. Micro Finance models
3. Principles of Management
4. Development Sector

Assignment Questions

I. What different challenges are faced in building a social enterprise in the field of microfinance?

II. Does the structure of company in providing an integrated solution for poverty alleviation (like BASIX having 12 companies directly held or through affiliations; three engaged in financial inclusion services, three in direct livelihood promotion services, three in livelihood consulting services, and three not-for-profit affiliated companies engaged in action research, training, knowledge management, business development, policy advocacy and international consulting), create organizational complexity like risk exposure assessment and potential profitability resulting into difficulty to raise capital?

III.................

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Abstract

A livelihood comprises the potential, resources and actions required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can handle and recover from the stress and shocks and uphold or augment its capabilities and assets both now and in the future without deflating the natural resource base. The purpose of this case on BASIX Social Enterprise Group is to introduce their Rural Sustainable Livelihood approach for poverty reduction. Established in 1996, BASIX is a livelihood promotion institution, working for more than 3.5 million customers, over 90% being rural poor households and about 10% urban vulnerable sections of the society. BASIX works in 17 states, 223 districts and over 39,251 villages.

BASIX, a Hyderabad-based Social Enterprise Group, is working with the mission to promote a large number of sustainable livelihoods, including for the rural poor, through the provision of financial services and technical assistance in an integrated manner. BASIX endeavors to give a competitive rate of return to its investors so as to be able to access mainstream capital and human resources on a continuous basis. Its strategy is to provide a wide-ranging set of livelihood promotion services that include Financial Inclusion Services (FINS), Agricultural/Business Development Services (Ag/BDS) and Institutional Development Services (IDS) to rural poor households under one umbrella. The case will throw light on the journey of BASIX by outlining anecdote of the beneficiaries followed by how the concept has been put to practical use by the organization. The final section of the case is about challenges faced by the organization during their journey and opportunities that were visualized and grabbed by the benevolent leaders.



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To enable the participants to appreciate the plights of poor and the challenges of livelihood faced by the lesser privileged
  • To appreciate the challenges faced in building a social enterprise in the field of microfinance
  • To understand structural complexity of an organization that has a wide span of services integrating holistic objectives
  • To apply valuable learnings BASIX can offer to other Micro Finance Institutions and social entrepreneurs
  • To enable readers extrapolate the future arenas of work for the organization

Case Positioning

This is a diagnostic-cum-prescriptive case intended to be approached in a manner to explore challenges and opportunities in social entrepreneurship, assessing in depth the customer (beneficiary) needs, designing products and services unique to the beneficiaries given socio-economic and cultural context and developing sustainable livelihood opportunities for the bottom of the pyramid. The case relates to integrated financial inclusion services, livelihood promotion, livelihood consulting and creating evidence-based policies through action research, training and advocacy.

Target Audience

The case is expected to be appreciated by a range of serious to leisure readers and would specifically help students, faculty and learners of development sector, Business Management, Strategic Management, Social Entrepreneurship and Social and Policy Researchers. It can also be of use for budding managers and entrepreneurs to ‘learn by example’ the nuances of running an integrated development model for livelihood. The small group approach of 3-5 students discussing on the issues and comparing and encouraging elaboration on other groups’ ideas will be an ideal way to approach the case. Any suggestions can be shared with the authors on email id given in the corresponding authors details which will be shared with the protagonist.


* 4th FLAME International Conference on Research and Teaching Cases, June 21st 2018 & June 22nd 2018



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