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Social Impact: What Does It Really Mean?

A conference seeks to shed light on the challenges and opportunities within the social impact sector



A panel at the DSIC conference. Picture courtesy: Amani Institute

NSoJ Bureau

In lay terms, social impact and social work sound alike. However, not many people know that the social impact sector has been expanding rapidly over the last decade. “People who choose this path are primarily motivated by a desire to make change,” said Roshan Paul, co-founder of the Amani Institute. Paul was addressing an audience of social entrepreneurs at the ‘Demystifying Social Impact Careers’ conference at the National School of Journalism on September 7, 2019.

In the recent years, individuals from India and across the globe have increasingly been choosing more unconventional career paths than ever before. “Young people are choosing social impact careers that give them a sense of purpose earlier in life,” says Sudha Srinivasan, CEO of N/Core, an organisation that provides support systems and access to funding, etc, to impact startups.

Organised by the Amani Institute, Arthan and the International Innovation Corps, the conference sought to highlight the diverse options that a career in social impact would offer, while equipping potential social entrepreneurs with the required skill- set. “The career opportunities in [social impact] are huge,” said Shehzia Lilani from Amani, “the social enterprise landscape has been growing tremendously.”

The conference aimed to address the opportunities as well as the challenges one might face in social impact work. Issues such as transitioning from the private to the social sector, the managerial skills required for social enterprising, etc were also key points of discussion.

The conference included events such as The Long Conversation, panel discussions, workshops on topics such as ‘Becoming Good at Networking’ and ‘Meaningfully Engaging with the Government’. Speakers included Vishal Talreja, co-founder of Dream a Dream, Ved Arya, founder of Srijan and Jyothi Thyagarajan, founder of Meghshala Trust, amongst others.

The highlight of the event was the ‘Walk your Talk’ speech format where entrepreneurs, impact investors, and social innovators shared their experiences in social enterprise. Recounting anecdotes from their lives lent a personal touch to the conference, inspiring attendees and further motivating them to effect change.