India is home to a vibrant ecosystem of social impact startups that are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of marginalized communities and addressing critical social challenges. These startups combine innovation, entrepreneurship, and a deep sense of purpose to create sustainable impact across various sectors, including healthcare, education, environment, livelihoods, and more.
With their unique approaches and innovative solutions, these social impact startups are reshaping the landscape of social entrepreneurship in India. They go beyond profit-making and prioritize social and environmental objectives, leveraging technology, partnerships, and community engagement to drive positive change.
10 Social Impact Stars: Revolutionizing India’s Social Entrepreneurship Scene
Avanti Learning Centers
Founder: Akshay Saxena and Krishna Ramkumar
Established Year: 2010
CEO: Akshay Saxena
Impact: Avanti Learning Centers provides affordable and high-quality education to underprivileged students through its innovative classroom programs and online platforms. The organization has helped thousands of students gain access to quality education and achieve academic success.
Unique Services: Avanti Learning Centers offers personalized mentoring, rigorous curriculum, and access to study materials, enabling students to excel in subjects like math and science. The organization also focuses on building students’ problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
Founder: Anshu Gupta
Established Year: 1999
CEO: Anshu Gupta
Impact: Goonj is a social enterprise that focuses on addressing clothing and basic needs for marginalized communities. The organization collects and distributes unused clothing, as well as other essential materials, to those in need.
Unique Services: Goonj promotes a unique “Cloth for Work” initiative, where individuals contribute their time and effort in community development activities in exchange for the clothes they require. This approach fosters community engagement and empowers individuals while meeting their basic needs.
Founder: Harish Hande
Established Year: 2010 CEO: Prasant Biswal
Impact: SELCO Foundation works towards providing sustainable energy solutions to rural and underserved communities. By promoting the use of solar power, the organization enables access to clean and affordable energy for various purposes, including lighting and productive uses.
Unique Services: SELCO Foundation focuses on designing and deploying customized solar solutions that cater to the specific needs of communities. The organization also provides training and support to local entrepreneurs, empowering them to become solar technicians and service providers.
Aravind Eye Care System
Founder: Dr. G. Venkataswamy
Established Year: 1976
CEO: P. Namperumalsamy
Impact: Aravind Eye Care System is a network of eye hospitals that aims to eliminate needless blindness. The organization provides high-quality, affordable eye care services, including cataract surgeries and treatment for various eye conditions.
Unique Services: Aravind Eye Care System operates on a unique cross-subsidy model, where revenue from paying patients helps subsidize the cost of free or low-cost services for those who cannot afford them. This ensures that quality eye care is accessible to all sections of society.
Founder: Madhu Pandit Dasa
Established Year: 2000
CEO: Shridhar Venkat
Impact: Akshaya Patra is a nonprofit organization that addresses hunger and malnutrition among children. The organization operates a mid-day meal program in government schools, providing nutritious meals to children to support their education and overall development.
Unique Services: Akshaya Patra uses centralized kitchens and efficient logistics to prepare and deliver meals to thousands of schools across India. The organization’s innovative approach ensures that children receive healthy meals regularly, encouraging school attendance and academic performance.
Founder: Rikin Gandhi
Established Year: 2008
CEO: Shonali Pachauri
Impact: Digital Green leverages technology and community engagement to empower small-scale farmers. The organization provides training and knowledge-sharing platforms that enable farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices and improve their livelihoods.
Unique Services: Digital Green utilizes video-based extension services to disseminate agricultural knowledge and best practices among farmers. The organization also facilitates peer learning and community-led initiatives, ensuring that knowledge transfer is effective and sustainable.
Founder: Safeena Husain
Established Year: 2007
CEO: Safeena Husain
Impact: Educate Girls focuses on addressing gender disparities in education. The organization mobilizes community volunteers to enroll out-of-school girls and works towards improving the quality of education in underserved communities.
Unique Services: Educate Girls employs the “Team Balika” model, where young volunteers work closely with community members and families to advocate for girls’ education. The organization also uses data-driven approaches to monitor progress and measure the impact of its interventions.
SELCO Solar Light Pvt. Ltd.
Founder: Harish Hande
Established Year: 1995
CEO: Vishwanath C. Hande
Impact: SELCO Solar Light Pvt. Ltd. aims to provide sustainable lighting solutions to rural and underserved communities. The organization develops and distributes solar lighting products, reducing reliance on kerosene lamps and improving energy access.
Unique Services: SELCO Solar Light Pvt. Ltd. offers a range of solar lighting solutions tailored to meet the specific needs of different user groups. The organization also provides technical training and after-sales support, ensuring long-term usability and maintenance of solar products.
Rangsutra Crafts India Ltd.
Founder: Sumita Ghose
Established Year: 2006
CEO: Sumita Ghose
Impact: Rangsutra Crafts India Ltd. is a social enterprise that empowers rural artisans, especially women, by providing them with sustainable livelihood opportunities. The organization connects artisans with market demand and ensures fair wages and working conditions.
Unique Services: Rangsutra Crafts India Ltd. focuses on preserving traditional crafts and techniques, incorporating them into contemporary designs and products. The organization facilitates skill development, design inputs, and market linkages to help artisans thrive in the modern marketplace.
Founder: C. P. Vishwanath
Established Year: 1996
CEO: N. Seshadri
Impact: Karadi Path is an educational initiative that aims to improve English language learning outcomes for children from low-income backgrounds. The organization develops innovative audio-visual learning materials and teacher training programs.
Unique Services: Karadi Path’s audio-visual learning materials, including stories, songs, and activities, provide an immersive and engaging learning experience for children. The organization also offers teacher training programs to enhance pedagogical skills and create impactful classroom environments.