US speaker Dawn Manske with women entrepreneurs who participated in the talk on ‘social entrepreneurship’ in Guwahati, Assam  Credit: EastMojo image 

Guwahati: The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) Ladies Organisation of Northeast in collaboration with the United States Consulate organised a talk on ‘Social Entrepreneurship: Building a Business Around People, Planet & Profit’ in Guwahati, Assam recently.

The talk was presented by US speaker Dawn Manske, founder chief executive officer (CEO) of ‘Made for Freedom’, a social enterprise using fashion to empower sex trafficking survivors through its products that are made by women rescued from sex trafficking and those coming out of marginalised situations.

The round-table discussion and presentation was attended by nearly 35 women entrepreneurs from the region. It mainly focused on encouraging and facilitating women to showcase their talents, skills, experiences and energies across sectors and verticals of the economy, for a truly inclusive economic growth trajectory. The event was conducted by the FLO (Northeast) secretary Shweta Jindal.

While talking on ‘social entrepreneurship’, Manske said that business building models across the globe have changed a lot over the years and at present it primarily focuses on people, for the benefit of the planet and profit making.

She also informed that people today as consumers can question a brand or company to find out who makes the products and can refuse to buy things if the makers are not treated properly, or given their due.

“We as consumers can start asking — who made our clothes? We can refuse to buy things if the makers are not treated properly,” she said.

Through her presentation, Manske informed that in the world of business today, non-profit and profit making organisations have merged and as an outcome of it, the newest figure of ‘social entrepreneur’ has emerged.

Talking about a ‘social entrepreneur’, Manske expressed that it is usually someone who thrives to make a positive impact on the world but believes that the best way of doing it is not by giving poor people a fish and feeding them for a day, but teaching them to fish in the hope for feeding them for a lifetime.

Addressing the gathering, FLO (Northeast) chairperson Dr Srutimala Duara said, “FLO was established in 1983 and as a division of FICCI it aims to empower women and make them economically independent.”

“It is not enough to be economically independent ourselves but we need to hold the hands of those who need that push, help others earn and together we can create a rich society,” Duara said.

Citing an example of renowned businessman and chairman of Du Pont, Edgar S Woolard, Duara said that Woolard once declared himself to be chief environmental officer of his company and this is the way how we can give back something good to our society as the environment and our planet has nourished us a lot.

Other than making products with service provided by sex-trafficing survivors, Make for Freedom also provides a safe place, a good wage, and further empowers them with the dignity to support themselves. Made for Freedom currently works with centres in many countries across the globe including in India, the United States, China, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.

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