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Bridging the Gap between Social Enterprises and Social Impact Investors

socialentrepreneurship-2-1

Recently, I got the opportunity to participate in Bangalore CSR Roundtable hosted by Brillio & Equal Innovation in partnership with India CSR on May 3rd 2017.

Some key points from this event I want to share with you all. Before that let me put some light on what is Social Entrepreneurs and Enterprises (SEE) and how this is related to this event.

Social Entrepreneurs and Enterprises (SEE)

It is an initiative of IITK AA, organised and now carried forward in association with IITKGP AA and supported by PAN IIT, IIMA, PAN IIM and ACB.

SEE started as an event and the first SEE focused primarily on awareness and scaling models for Successful Social enterprises. It had speakers and participants from all sectors. During the first edition of SEE one message came out very clearly that there is an increasing gap between social enterprises (not-for-profit or for-profit) and CSR funds/investors.

Second edition of SEE focused on Healthcare and Education. This edition also looked at setting up the framework so that Alumni from IIT’s can effectively engage and contribute to the critical sector.

It brought various social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, thinkers and enthusiasts under one roof. The event allowed great interactive sessions where on one hand the participants got inspired by conviction-led work by speakers and on the other hand various corporate discussed the challenges and their insights. Mr. Paritosh Segal, Co-Founder Sahyog Foundation, led the curation for the event.

After intensive research on challenges faced by social enterprises and impact investors, a framework was launched during the event by Mr. Pradeep Bhargava, President, IITK AA & IITK AA BLR.  Core objectives of the framework is to identify sectors that may be relevant and that may produce visible outcome, list the key impact areas and the key measures, understand and share the feasibility and impact data, build the stakeholders connect as part of SEE ecosystem which comprises financial institutions, CSR, Angel investors, VC’s, mentors, incubation with IIT and partners and entrepreneurs in the impact space.

We discussed on various aspects of CSR funding and pain-points of corporates as well as social enterprises. It was very enthralling for me to know that all these common problems faced by both entities can be resolved through SEE platform.

I would like to highlight a few key challenges and would like to emphasise on the role of SEE framework in resolving these issues:

Lack of trust between corporates and social enterprise world:

It was evident that corporates are willing to release CSR funds for social enterprises, but whom to trust for measurable impact has become a challenge for them. I strongly believe that SEE body can recognise and validate shortlisted social enterprises who genuinely have good model and thus help them sustain and scale. Corporates can have concurrence and decide where to invest.

Impact assessment of social enterprises by corporates:

Second evident challenge for all corporates is to measure the impact created by the social enterprise. One of the solution which was proposed is to have a set template by corporates where social enterprise can fill their outcomes. But the problem with such template is that there are several different enterprises all cannot be measured with the same template. SEE framework can play a crucial role in impact assessment by providing customised template.

Industry standard reporting by social enterprises:

Another point which was brought into discussion was reporting structure and the quality of report. Corporates feel that there is a need for social enterprises to improve on reporting but the fact that social enterprises many a times are not trained to publish their reports in a professional way. It becomes really challenging for corporates to go through the document and validate the report. We at SEE aim to create a pool of identified experts in different domains with social sector background as mentors. These mentors shall bring guidance to social enterprises and shall organize hands-on training sessions on impact measurement, impact assessment and impact reporting. This shall have positive outcome by reducing frustrations for both corporates and social enterprises.

Identifying the key focus area of corporates by social enterprises:

One of the biggest challenge which almost all social enterprises face invariably is to find out the corporates who have same focus area as their own. I recently faced a problem in identifying a CSR who invest in healthcare area. There is no common platform where corporates list their focus areas and social enterprises list their work.

Participation as SEE evangelist

SEE platform has planned to create a database on SEE website for all participants. This is going to ease the very first step of corporate and social enterprise to find the best match.

Social Enterprises

All these and many more benefits can be obtained by signing up for SEE Framework. SEE as a part of Alumni framework is not chargeable. Please register to be part of the SEE ecosystem and all benefits.

Investment community and CSR support from Corporates

They can leverage the curated social enterprises. Investors and CSR teams may share the success stories, the impact areas of their interest and the measures they use in identifying the right enterprise to support.

Accelerators, Incubators, and Mentors ( AIM)

AIM participants work together with the SEE team to ensure high probability of success for the individual enterprise but also contribute to ensure a higher percentage of successful SE. Commercial engagements are also possible after the initial success is registered.

Look forward to you all being part of SEE

 

 

 

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Enterprises investing in Workplace Mobility Can Survive Pandemics

4 minutes, 21 seconds read

Nearly one-third of the global population is under coronavirus lockdown. Large-scale quarantines and travel restrictions are posing challenges for businesses to continue their operations. While workforce protection remains the top priority for enterprises, prolonged isolation is an eye-opener to adopt workplace mobility.

As the world continues to fight the pandemic, flatten the curve and try to maintain normalcy by working from home — teams everywhere are trying to stay productive so that daily operations can continue to some degree. But this is not an easy task. By working remotely, there are a lot of challenges especially in communication and connectivity, not to mention challenges with remaining productive throughout the day. 

There was a time when mobility at work was considered a perk. Today, almost everyone, at some point, agrees that flexibility and liberty to work from home is essential. The 2020 Enterprise Mobility Trends Report anticipates that 42% (18.7 billion) of the global workforce will embrace mobility by 2020.

The need for workplace mobility

Workplace mobility empowers people to work from anywhere, at any time and from any device. It directly impacts employee productivity as well as the speed to execute business processes. How?

Dan Ariely, in his book Predictably Irrational, categorizes human behaviour in lines with the market and social norms. Market norms apply a monetary value to every transaction — salaries or payments against skill/talent. Whereas, social norms rely on the exchange of gifts, kindness, favour, etc. and is far away from any monetary transaction. 

While stringent work policies tend to inculcate market norms (skills are calculated against salaries), flexibility instils social norms (empathy and concern). People are willing to do more on their free-will.

In this 24/7 work environment social norms have a great advantage: they tend to make employees passionate, hardworking, flexible, and concerned. In a market where employees’ loyalty to their employers is often wilting, social norms are one of the best ways to make workers loyal, as well as motivated.

– suggests Ariely

How apps and AI-driven mobility solutions for employees can keep businesses operationally afloat?

By 2025, the number of unique mobile subscribers is projected to reach 5.9 billion. Market researchers also anticipate that there’ll be nearly 25 billion IoT devices, most of which will comprise business-related connected devices. However, it’s not just handy devices that are enabling mobility at work. Technologies are also empowering businesses to readily adopt mobility. 

For instance, Google has introduced a deck of enterprise mobility solutions. It provides cloud support to collaboration apps and management tools. Apart from G Suite, Google has invested in android and chrome platforms to support workplace mobility. 

Workplace mobility apps and features

Many organizations require time logs to ensure overtime and bonuses. Apps like SecurTime provide a cloud-based time-attendance workforce management solution with real-time tracking. It seamlessly integrates with payroll/HRMS and biometric systems without any dependency on hardware.

When people work remotely, creating a virtual collaborative environment can concern businesses. While email is the channel for all formal communication, it’s usual to lose track of conversations in emails and messengers. To organize work and priorities at the team level, Slack and Trello are popular apps.

Organizations with in-house software development teams often face hassles while planning, tracking, resolving bugs & issues and releasing products. Jira — an agile project management tool helps organizations to track every phase of product development and team progress irrespective of their physical location.

AI-driven enterprise mobility solutions

Mobile devices and cloud platforms are making it easier for teams to collaborate and deliver. Moreover, employees save substantial time on travelling, which gives them time to indulge in activities that foster creativity. 

Gartner predicts that by 2021, 40% of new enterprise applications will include AI technologies. So far, the adoption of AI was seen in consumer-facing operations to enhance customer experiences. Now, organizations are also focusing on enhancing employee experiences. For example, leading organizations are using NLP-powered chatbots for handling employee-queries regarding leave, work from home intimation, business-travel, etc. 

[Related: AI in recruitment and discovering talent]

Technology can equip employees with information at hand. AI solutions like Zelros provide instant information to Insurance sales advisors regarding products, clients, etc. 

AI-powered applications are becoming more human-centred and they can execute commands without touching/pressing a button. For example, with gesture recognition technology and voice user interface, simple tasks like sharing a file, reading a report, etc. can be done while driving, spending time with kids, evening walks, etc. removing dependencies that delay work.

[Related: How does AI recognize hand gestures]

The use of AI is evolving to automatically prioritize problems and send notifications to the concerned departments. SVM (Support Vector Machine) and CNN (Convolutional Neural Network) are machine learning algorithms for building classification models.

The bottom line

While one can prevent wars, natural calamities and pandemics are unavoidable. In the current context, the heat of the Corona outbreak is severely impacting industries including aviation, e-commerce, education, tourism, entertainment, hospitality, electronics, consumer and luxury goods. Businesses are thriving to remain operationally afloat. 

Embracing mobility at work today can prepare organizations for tomorrow’s pandemic resilience. 

Mantra Labs is helping enterprises invest in building their pandemic resilience by planning and scaling their mobility infrastructures, and enable greater use of mobility as a service. Talk to us today to know how we can help you, or reach out to us at hello@mantralabsglobal.com.

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