Preparing to launch our Social Enterprise

PCL Student, Sam Applebee

A group of our students will be flying out to India this month to set up a pioneering social enterprise. Sam, who is part of the team, told us about what they’ll be up to.

In Maharashtra state, India, an uncommonly high proportion of farmers are committing suicide, with this number reaching 17,000 in 2011. This is largely down to financial difficulty; small independent cotton farmers have invested in genetically modified cotton seeds, using credit from banks. After crops have failed, many farmers have turned to loan sharks and other sources of credit to make up for financial shortfalls. These debts cause a range of socio-economic problems, including declines in living standards, taking children away from education and poor physical and mental health.

Over the last few months, we’ve been studying a social entrepreneurship module, and have taken on the challenge of developing a strategy to address the issues above. We have been working with Chetana Vikas, a non-Governmental organisation in India, and No Nasties, an ethical fashion brand, and will be travelling out to India to launch our project on April 20th.

We’ll travel to Wardha, in central India, and over two weeks we’ll lay the foundations to:

· Employ unemployed women to produce upcycled fashion items

· Sell the products in the UK and India (initially) to create sustainable income

· Reinvest all profits back into raising wages and into community projects such as social support

The project team is made up of Pearson College London Students Ed, Ryan, Taz, Calvin and myself, and once we’ve achieved the above with our partners in India, we’ll then work to gradually hand it over to the project’s beneficiaries.