The Role And Nature Of Consulting In The Development Of Social Enterprises

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The need for preparing arose out of the academic requirements for completing the Master of Arts in social entrepreneurship at Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai. It was daunting enough in the beginning to narrow down a topic of choice that would form the bases for the research, leave alone pinpoint the exact the topic of the dissertation! Through an aggressive searching process and matching my areas of interest with appropriate themes relevant to the two year study period at TISS, it came down to exploring the subject of 'consulting' with respect to social entrepreneurship. Aspects like whether consulting was needed by social enterprises. If yes, then at what stages of growth. Where did social enterprises meet this requirement and to what extent was it useful.

The journey began with looking for someone who could guide me in the exploration and documentation of the work I was about to undertake. Professor Parasuraman with whom I worked during my first semester internship agreed to provide the academic guidance needed for this project over the various aspects like exploring the literature that would form the bases for the study, reviewing it and coming up with a research proposal alongwith the research objectives and a proposed methodology of study, talking to the different organisations to get their views and perspectives on the topic at hand.

studying the academic papers related to 'consulting' and 'the growth and development of social enterprises'.


The first chapter of the study introduces the audience to the theme of the dissertation and to the concepts of social entrepreneurship, social enterprises, innovation in realigning resources for a social enterprise, the management perspective of consulting, need for consulting in the social sector and the nature of this need for consulting. The chapter tries to compile broadly, the academic research linked to the above concepts to bring out a flavour of 'consulting' when viewed in the context of development of social enterprises. This chapter forms the background for conducting the study contained in the pages that follow.

Social Development

Social development can be summarily described as the process of organizing human energies and activities at higher levels to achieve greater results. Development increases the utilization of human potential. (Social Development Theory, by Garry Jacobs and Harlan Cleveland, Nov 1, 1999)

Many countries now are encouraging the development of "civil society" and other types of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as alternatives for supplementing functions previously assumed by governments or the market, or both (Albo and Zuege, 1999; Antonucci, 2000; Ascoli, 2002; Ehrke, 2000; Marsh et al., 2002; Vaughan Whitehead, 2003). As a result of this "shifting welfare mix," nearly everywhere in the region families and private enterprises are beginning to absorb increasingly higher levels of responsibility for welfare financing and service provision - especially in the areas of health, education, elder and child care, arts and culture, and transportation (Carlson, 2002; Hyde and Dixon, 2002)

There are several players contributing to social development today to bring an increase in the generation of social capital, ranging from the state to the traditional businesses owning up to corporate social responsibility to the non-governmental sector to the newly emerging tribe of social entrepreneurs setting up social enterprises.

<enumerate instances that can be termed social devl>

Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprises

Traditional business enterprises engage in trade of products or services, or both, by making use of market forces and principles and business instruments to achieve the aim of generating monetary profit for the stakeholders of the business. An example of a business enterprise is that of The Royal Bank of Scotland which works to maximise its profit shareholding in the financial market through commercial banking and private investing services. In its aim to achieve increased economic returns, the bank keeps a high value of the minimum deposit required to maintain an account with the bank, thus restricting the profile of its customers, beyond the reach of several.

"A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners"

Social enterprises deal with services and/or products to achieve social and environmental mission. The intent to achieve social goals is combined with the principles of business market to generate social capital that can successfully tackle long standing social problems. These ventures have a social mission and aim to be financially self-sustainable or profitable. It may be for profit, not for profit or non profit in nature. An example of a social enterprise is that of Grameen Bank started by Mohammed Yunus in Bangladesh. The Bank has given out over seven million small loans till date, most of them without any formal contracts or agreements. Of these, 98% have been repaid. 60% of the loans were made to homeless beggars. Grameen Bank has managed to make profit and lift about 57% of its borrowers out of poverty.

Social enterprises are distinguished from business enterprises solely on the basis of their intent of existence and operation - the social mission as opposed to the economic motive of a traditional business enterprise.

Social entrepreneurship is defined as the process of using business skills to create innovative approaches to solve societal problems. Social entrepreneurship views the existence of problems or gaps in the social development pathway as opportunities to create social value.

Development of social enterprises and the challenges faced

Social enterprises bring together the resources required to start an enterprise and realign them creatively to address the critical issues plaguing social development today. There are several ways a social enterprise may bring together its resources to generate profits, in order to become self-sustaining and thus achieve its social mission. There are organisations that generate monetary profits solely to reinvest it in an activity aimed at achieving the social good. A second model often adopted by social enterprises is that of cross subsidising their services and products. For example, Aravind Eye Care charges the patients who can afford the eye care services a regular fee and for every two such patients they treat patients from the underserved sections of the society for free, who otherwise would not have been able to afford such a treatment.

Many social enterprises, however, internalise their social mission. They make it central to the way they operate. A business that focuses on employing people long disconnected from the jobs market or ex-offenders needs to make an additional effort to do so. Extra time and costs are involved. Social enterprise is sometimes a more complex, difficult and costly way to run a business. There are often easier ways for a business to make a profit.

(Social enterprise and social innovation, Charles Leadbeater, A social enterprise think piece for the Office of Third Sector, November 2007)

A case in point is that of Mirakle Couriers started by Dhruv Lakra in Mumbai. The organisation is a professional courier and delivery service employing deaf-and-mute people. The purpose of running the organisation is not to provide another courier agency to the public but to design a respectable means of self employment for the deaf and mute people who otherwise do not earn their own money but survive through charity and aid granted to NGOs and schools with which they have been attached.

In innovating upon the financial, operational, marketing and other domains of a regular business enterprise to design activities for achieving the social mission, a social enterprise deals with aspects more challenging than the business enterprise. The task of a social enterprise is onerous in the fact that in its race to challenge long-standing social issues, it has to deal with attitudes and, at times, norms that have become deep seated in the society for their duration and social acceptance.

As diverse are the social issues ailing the society at present, so are the innovative ways to approach them. However, there are few challenges faced more often than the others by social enterprises in the early development stages. Some of which are:

Reaching out to the target people effectively

Communication and marketing related activities

Generating and managing financial resources

Documentation, knowledge mgmt, and impact assessment

Scaling up and managing organisational growth

Attracting capable human resource for running the enterprise and retaining them

Effective multitasking in cases of start-ups

Business management perspective of 'consulting'

The field of management research defines consulting as a process of transferring expertise, knowledge, and/or skills from one party (the consultant) to another (the client) with the aim of providing help or solving problems. (Block 2000; Druckman 2000; Gallessich 1985; March 1991) The literature portrays consulting as a staged process, with specific tasks and functions taking place at different times. The number of stages reported ranges from four (e.g., Dougherty 1990) to seven or more (e.g., Lippit and Lippit 1978). (Consulting As atool for knowledge transfer, Jacobson, Butterill, Goering)

Complexity and uncertainty in today's fast-paced business world are prompting a growing number of organizations - profit and not-for-profit alike - to seek guidance in their concomitant change efforts. External and internal consultants and change agents have become increasingly visible in most, if not all, organizational change initiatives. Individual consultants and consulting firms are becoming increasingly involved in not only providing organizational clients with advice and new ideas but in implementing those ideas and solutions as well. Yet, despite this rapid growth and influence, management consulting is still often criticized for its mystery and ambiguity. (Research in Management Consulting, Information Age Publishing, 2005, edited by Anthony F. Buono, Bentley College)

Theoretical models for knowledge transfer in consulting

A research study links consulting to the following three types of factors:

Sectoral changes that cause them to look for very specialized forms of expertise

Budgetary limitations that make contracting the most cost-effective means of obtaining this expertise

political environments in which using consultants becomes a way of increasing legitimacy

(Gallessich 1982; Sturdy 1997; Van Houten and Goldman 1981)

The role of research in decision-making environments is infinitely more complex than in this imagined scenario of instrumental use. According to Carol Weiss's (1979, 430) description of the seven "meanings of research utilization" the following different types of use can be derived :

In the intellectual enterprise model, both research and policy are seen as social products that "respond to the currents of thought, the fads and fancies, of the period."

In the knowledge-driven model, the research process itself drives the discovery, development, application, and use of knowledge in policy development.

In the problem-solving model as "the direct application of the results of a to a pending decision" (1979, 427)

The political model of research use uses the research evidence to support predetermined conclusions

The tactical model, research becomes an excuse for delaying a decision or a means of deflecting criticism

In the enlightenment model of use, "concepts and theoretical perspectives that.., research has engendered.., permeate the policy-making process"(Weiss 1979, 429)

The interactive model is seen as a "disorderly set of interconnections and back-and-forthness" in which knowledge is produced and used in iterative collaboration

(Consulting as a tool for knowledge transfer, Jacobson, Butterill, Goering)



The second chapter deals with the research setting within which the research theme of exploring the role and nature of consulting in the development of social enterprises has been designed and researched. This section details the rationale of the study, the broad objectives as well as the research questions used to investigate the theme, the methodology adopted in the investigation and the scope or limitations of this study.

Research Rationale

The Indian social development scenario sees the predominant presence of the Non Governmental Organisation working in the nonprofit realm. The idea of social entrepreneurship is fairly new. The intricacies of the social sector prompt these social enterprises to realign the existing resources to come up with a creative solution that can effectively challenge the social problem at hand.

Complexity and uncertainty in today's fast-paced business world are prompting a growing number of organizations - profit and not-for-profit alike - to seek guidance in their concomitant change efforts. External and internal consultants and change agents have become increasingly visible in most, if not all, organizational change initiatives. Individual consultants and consulting firms are becoming increasingly involved in not only providing organizational clients with advice and new ideas but in implementing those ideas and solutions as well. Yet, despite this rapid growth and influence, management consulting is still often criticized for its mystery and ambiguity.

(Research in Management Consulting, Information Age Publishing, 2005, edited by Anthony F. Buono, Bentley College)

Objectives of the Study and Research Questions

Consulting in the social development domain, as well as its documentation is highly unstructured and undefined. This is an exploratory study undertaken to understand the need for consulting in the social development sector for social enterprises.

The idea is to understand the concept of 'consulting' in the social sphere through -

the stages at which a social enterprise seeks external consulting advice

the nature of consulting sought

The study looks at:

the internal structure of the organisation and the flow of information within it, that leads to knowledge generation

role of part-time and fulltime external consultants and the stages at which they enter/contribute

number of projects handled by the consulting firm/individual in a given timespan

sectors and nature of projects seeking external third-party consulting

impact of such consulting advice on the organisational growth (internal and external)


The lack of accessible formal documented research about the nature and forms of consulting advice available to social enterprises, in different areas of operations and growth, prompted me to explore the topic at hand. The questions that prompted the study were the forms of third party consulting entities available to social enterprises. Secondly, how they could be accessed for advice. Thirdly, in the absence of the apt advice, how the organisation/enterprise makes up for the required information.

The broad objectives of undertaking this study are to understand the following, with respect to the domain of consulting in the development of social enterprises:

To identify the need for consulting in the SE realm

To identify the areas of operation needing external third party consulting

To explore the forms of consulting available to SEs at present

To come up with a working definition for 'social consulting'

*also check if the nature of consulting sought and provided change w.r.t. for profit/nonprofit financial model of the social enterprise and the social consultancy

Research questions

The research questions that arise out of the above objectives in understanding and developing the research study are:

Is there a need for consulting in the social sector?

Why is there a need for it? What prompts this need?

In what forms is consulting advice available at present for social enterprises?

What are the positive outcomes and shortcomings of this kind of consulting?

What is the substitute for this shortcoming? (This will also form the base for writing the conclusion)

Methodology of conducting the study

Nature of study

As discussed in sections 1.1 and 1.2, the literature available on the concept of consulting in the context of development of social enterprises in India is thin. This is because of two reasons. First, the idea of social entrepreneurship and social enterprises, in their definitions as understood today, is quite new, both to the industry and the research academia. Secondly, the term 'consultant' is not always viewed favourably in the Indian context for the business minded approach associated with it, which many feel is devoid of the empathy and passion required to work in the social sector. Thus, a lot of people in the social development sector choose to keep the word 'consultant' out of their routine vocabulary.

Qualitative research is subjective and allows the subtler biases of the research setting to unfold a clearer image that would answer the research questions. For the above reasons among others, the study is exploratory and qualitative in nature.

It undertakes the case study approach to highlight the example of an entity providing consulting solution to social enterprises.


The examples taken have been chosen using the Chain Referral Sampling technique, a kind of purposive sampling. It is also popularly known as the snowballing method of sampling. Since this is an exploratory study into a theme not much searched into through academic research, the snowballing technique suited the methodology of conducting the data collection. In this method, respondents from the social enterprises and the consulting individuals/organisations with whom contact had already been made referred other people who could contribute to the study. Snowball sampling is often used to find and recruit "hidden populations," that is, groups not easily accessible to researchers through other sampling strategies.

Primary and secondary data sources

Secondary Data - The background context for the study was compiled using secondary data from the internet to understand the theoretical concepts and the associated academic research in the areas of consulting and the development of social enterprises. Secondly, business plans and vision/strategy papers of the social enterprise, internal reports and working papers from the organisation's project data were studied to understand the nature of operations of the organisation and the challenges faced by it where it seeks intervention in the form of consulting advice.

Primary Data - The primary data was collected through interviews conducted with two entities. First, the operational models and the challenges faced by the social enterprises were studied to understand the nature of consulting intervention sought by them. Secondly, organisations functioning to provide consulting advice to social enterprises were interviewed to gain an understanding of the workings of this sect

the different stakeholders in the organisation's projects, involved at several different hierarchial levels. The interviews were of two varieties, unstructured and semi-structured. They were conducted both telephonically and in person.

Scope of the study

The formal acceptance of social enterprise as a type of firm in the economic theory has been fairly recent. Though there are good examples of social enterprises working towards generating social capital in the country, their documentation still needs attention. Also, the available academic research on the subject is thin for a lot of it is still ongoing and available only in the form of a working study. Secondly, though there are people working to provide consulting advice in the sector, the term 'consultant' isn't viewed favourably with the third sector. Hence, identifying the relevant respondents that could be a part of this study itself was a challenge



The third chapter contains the findings of the study undertaken to investigate the research objectives and questions enumerated in Section 2.2, using the methodology described in Section 2.3. A summarised description of the general findings is followed by case studies of two organisations highlighting the form and nature of consulting practised by them in contributing to the development of social enterprises.

Research Findings

The modern day accepted definition of a social enterprise may be new but the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship isn't. The use of business principles to further a social mission has been in practice since long. In the earlier times, often prominent family-run businesses would open a socially-oriented organisation for philanthropy and charity. The development of these social enterprises happened with the help of the parent business management team, usually managed by the family members. In such cases the leadership and management level business expertise to run the trust or charitable organisation was provided by the parent business house. However, as the nation progressed from abundant resources and fewer populations towards fewer resources and increasing populations, businesses began focussing more on the core activities of trade and service for achieving economic profits.

How this need is identified by the organisation's internal management

Usually the above areas or processes that seek external third party involvement face neglect and translate into inadequate results and therefore inefficiency in the operations of the organisation.

In case of organisations that have already traversed their early development stage to enter the growth phase, periodic upgradations, usually annual or biannual, help the organisations assess their needs in terms of the targets set and achieved and the ways of overcoming the gaps. Therefore, for such organisations, the consulting happens both, internally across departments/divisions, and externally by hiring sector specific consultants and domain experts.

Off-late several organisations and individuals have come up in this field as 'social consultants', and have begun holding frequent workshops and interaction sessions with the social entrepreneurs to help them assess the growth stages in the lifecycle of the enterprise and to identify the areas of operation in the venture that demand additional attention.

Forms of consulting available to Social Enterprises

Multinational consulting firms with wings catering to social research and consulting

CSR wings and Employee Engagement Programs of Corporates

Large donor agencies undertaking consulting as a part of their monitoring and evaluation of the investee

Niche consulting firms or organisations that provide training and consulting solely to social enterprises (both NP & FP)

Freelancing individuals

industry experts and academicians that consult in their spare time

fulltime consultants (like Vinay Dabholkar etc.)

Some examples of consultants that cater to the specific needs of social development organisations are:

Self-consulting (internal) and providing consulting to other smaller players in the field: WWF

Engaging part time external consultants and building the team's capacity anticipating future needs: PLAN India

Organisations providing fulltime consulting to Social Enterprises: DASRA, Intellecap

Organisations acting as a channel for networking Social Enterprises with the vertical industry experts: Khemka Foundation (Khemka Social Entrepreneurship Forum)

Commercial business consulting firms: McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Booz, Monitor, Mercer, L.E.K , A.T. Kearney. Each of these has a small but fast growing department catering to the specific consulting needs of the nonprofit and off late, the for profit organisations working towards social development. Eg. Monitor Group's Monitor Inclusive Markets, IMRB's SRI, KPMG etc.

While there are several areas that seek external intervention in the form of third party consulting,

The key areas identified by several of the organisations working to provide consulting advice or, linking the industry experts and the social entrepreneurs (and their social enterprises), fall in the following domains:

Legal - social enterprises are often unaware of the different opportunities and advantages of adopting a particular legal structure while registering their organisation. In their quest to work towards the social aim they often neglect the important aspects of proper documentation and paperwork. Secondly, once the enterprise is in place, a lack of in depth knowledge in the legal domain makes several of them miss opportunities that involve the usage of more than two or three different types of laws. This is especially true in cases of organisations dealing with sensitive issues like juvenile delinquency, providing food and shelter for the homeless, alternate livelihood opportunities for the displaced tribal populations etc.

Government subsidies and regulations - similar to the earlier point, there is a lack of awareness about the plethora of underadvertised government schemes designed specially for the people working in the social development sector.

Marketing and branding -

Documentation and knowledge management -

Impact assessment, measurement and review

Case Study I: Intellecap

About the organisation

Intellectual Capital Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd (Intellecap) is a Mumbai based Indian consultancy firm. It works in the areas of business innovation, capacity development, and investment initiatives for social enterprises and other entities of teh social development sector. It provides strategic advice as also the direct design of initiatives devised to leverage profit-oriented solutions for addressing the issue of poverty.

Intellecap is a leading professional advisor, intermediating capital in order to catalyse the growth of early stage for-profit social businesses.

By providing a nurturing ecosystem for such entrepreneurs and working closely with its clients to achieve their goals, Intellecap is helping to define the practice of business led development. Staffed and led by a deeply committed team of professionals with varied backgrounds in finance, consultancy, industry and entrepreneurship, Intellecap is a distinctive and market leading organisation with unique insight into how business works for underserved communities. Intellecap's clients include private equity investors, corporations, entrepreneurs, foundations and governments.

The Business Model

By providing a nurturing ecosystem for such entrepreneurs and working closely with its clients to achieve their goals, Intellecap is helping to define the practice of business led development.

What is the organisation's perspective on social value creation?

Intellecap's tagline says Shaping Outcomes for Effective Social Enterprises. It places a lot of value with the aspect of being profitable by social enterprises to become self sustainable and generate its own funds.

Organisational Structure

The management team at Intellecap consists of the Executive director and four team leaders. Co-founder, executive director and board member Vineet Rai has 12 years of experience working in the development, social venture capital, and small and medium enterprise sector.

He is also a founding partner of Aavishkaar India Micro Venture Capital Fund, Asvishkaar Goodwell Microfinance Fund, and Rural Innovation Netowrk, a business incubation fund. Mr Rai holds a post-graduate diploma in forestry management from the Indian Institute of Forest Management, based in Bhopal. Mr. Rai also sits on the board of directors for CASHPOR, an Indian microfinance institution.

Anurag Agrawal, team leader, had previously worked for ICICI Bank in India (see previous who's who on microcapital) before joining Intellecap. Mr. Agrawal focuses on capital and investment advisory and has experience working in financial modeling, equity valuations and business planning. He has also helped Intellecap develop and execute the franchising of microfinance across India.

Aparajita Agrawal is also a team leader. Ms. Agrawal gained experience in microfinance, project evaluation, and microenterprise training development and delivery with CARE India prior to joining Intellecap. With Intellecap Ms. Agrawal works within Knowledge Management as well as strategic communication advisory and information management.

Manju Mary George has experience of working in the microfinance sector with Kudumbashree, a microfinance and microenterprise initiative of the state government of Kerala. As a team leader with Intellecap Ms. George has lead Intellecap's product development and the design and delivery of training. Ms. George's primary focus is in microfinance/microcredit operations and financial analysis.

Shree Ravindranath was a co-founder of a social enterprise focusing on livelihood enhancement before becoming a team leader with Intellecap where she leads operational strategy, growth and resource management. Ms. Ravindranath also has experience in strategic and operational consulting for microfinance institutions and small and medium enterprises.

In addition to Mr. Vineet Rai, the Intellecap board is made up of 3 further members, all of whom are co-founders of the organisation. Ms. Swati Rai has 11 years of experience working in market research and development. Before setting up Intellecap she had worked for the Gujarat Ecology Commission and Euromonitor, a market research firm. Ms. Rai also has an MBA from the Indian Institute of Forestry Management.

Pawan Mehra has 9 years of experience in venture capital and investment in both India and the US. He is founder of the US chapter of the GIVE foundation, connecting charity projects between the US and India, and has experience working with the Honey Bee Network at the Indian Insititute of management - Ahmedabad (IIMA) which works with micro-entrepreneurs. He has also worked closely with the Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network (GIAN). Mr. Mehra has a degree in engineering from the Delhi Colelge of Engineering, and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad.

Upendra Bhatt has more than 10 years experience in planning, consulting and project management. He is also currently a director on the board for the US chapter of the GIVE Foundation and prior to co-founding Intellecap he worked in the infrastructure sector and collaborated with the World Bank, KfW and the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). Mr. Bhatt has worked for UPS, Skanska AB, a construction group, and Itochu Corporation, a Japanese basd multinational. He also has a degree in engineering from the Delhi College of Engineering and an MBA in international relations from Thunderbird, the US graduate school for international management.

Michael Warmington; Research Associate


Business Consulting

Business Consulting Group provides business advice and operational support to organizations that seek to engage with Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) markets*, across several sectors, including microfinance, agribusiness, livelihoods, water and sanitation, education, clean energy, and health. *(the socio-economic group that has the lowest income levels and which is not considered credit-worthy by commercial banks)

1. Supporting social enterprises with financial and operational assistance.

2. Using our exposure and experience in the social development sector to function as strategic advisors to corporations and other enabling organizations interested in the BoP space.

3. Conducting customized, multidisciplinary research and delivering cutting edge analysis to bring insight into businesses, industries, and markets across all areas of social development.

4. Pilot testing new ideas on the ground and scaling them up.

revenue model

What strategies does the organisation adopt in assessing the impact it creates, and at what intervals?

S. No.



Services provided by I

Social Enterprises


Funding Agents

Social Impact

Intellecap creates and optimises business models that promote economic activity, better quality of life and participative ownership amongst bottom-of-the-pyramid markets;

Intellecap channels commercial capital to help such enterprises increase scale and impact;

Intellecap forges partnerships amongst its clients, creating a greater critical mass and broader impact;

Intellecap continually attracts leading talent, furthering its mission and increasing the sophistication of business led development.

Perspective of the organisation on consulting in the social domain

How do you define 'consulting'?

Do you view it differently from the business management perspective? If yes, then how?

How do you get connected with the clients?

What forms of consulting do you provide?

What methodology do you adopt in assessing the problem statement before devising the solution/advice?

How does the nature of advice differ between the different types of clients?

At what levels (in the client enterprise) do you provide consulting?

Consulting advice is generated for all the levels of organisation that the client seeks. From imparting capacity building training for the field teams and management professionals to designing strategic plans with the top management and the social entrepreneurs themselves.

What is the average cost of seeking consulting advice from your firm?

The duration for generating and implementing the professional solution or advice designed for the gap identified, varies from a couple of weeks to a couple of years. It varies from the nature of advice sought. For example, a strategy level intervention might require a less intensive involvement of about a couple of months than a field level training and capacity building one of almost six to eight months a la handholding.

To ensure that the consulting advice generated is the optimal one, Intellecap employs a host of professionals with expertise across sectors like energy, livelihoods, education, health etc., and from different domains like finance, operations, human resource management etc.

How do you measure the outcomes and impacts created as a result of the advice provided?

Since the company is a for profit one and deals mostly with for profit social enterprises, the financial resources required for the consulting input are borne by the enterprise themselves. This funding may be generated through their for profit businesses or through additional loans and fundraising activities.

Ensuring the future 'usability' of the advice - The solution designed for the enterprise according to their specific need, is done keeping in mind the nature of the problem to be tackled. The social problems being addressed by social enterprises are of long standing nature and are deep-seated in the society's cultural and socio-political maturity. Therefore, the consulting solution itself that would help the organisation overcome the challenge that stalled their ability to tackle the social problem is designed for a long term use and adaptability.

Intellecap's USP and Achievements

It facilitated investments of USD 100 million into social businesses across continents. It took the consulting advisory beyond the microfinance genre to the water and agriculture sectors. For startups in the MFI sector, it began with Intellecash to give operational excellence and on-lending support. It also launched Intellecap US to address the needs of the marketing domain. Microfinance Insights as the leading international microfinance publication. It launched two prominent events in the city of Mumbai, namely, Sankalpand Srijan,to promote social businesses.

The business consulting team at Intellecap is experienced in the field of business and development in various industries, including mainstream business and finance, development, research and entrepreneurship, contributing to the group's unique approach that balances financial and social outcomes.

Our understanding of grassroots realities and business principles enables us to approach development challenges creatively and find innovative, enterprise-led solutions.

Social Enterprises

Intellecap gives advice and hands-on support to social businesses at different growth stages: start-up mode, organizations preparing for commercial investments, fast growing businesses seeking process efficiencies and product diversification strategies and organizations looking to forge new strategic partnerships for expanding their outreach.

Services we offer to enterprises include:

Strategic planning and support:

Capital structuring and investment readiness

Legal structuring and transformation from not-for-profit to a commercial structure

Operational excellence

Market access and value chain enhancement

Designing organizational strategies to manage growth challenges and risks, and to create new partnerships, products or services

Financial modeling

Hand holding support to implement strategies, build capacities, make business plans operational and pilot new products, services or models

Operational and financial analyzes to plan, monitor and optimize financial performance, efficiency and profitability

Classroom trainings aimed at building the skills and knowledge of top and middle management

Monitoring and evaluation of business performance (financial and operational)


We work with corporations to enable the inclusion of the poor in their business models, as consumers, producers or contributors to the value chain by leveraging our extensive experience with low income markets and strong relationships with social enterprises with well developed last mile distribution channels.

Services we offer corporations include:

• Designing strategies for the inclusion of low income communities in mainstream business as:

Consumers; by designing appropriate products and marketing and distribution channels to reach them

Producers; by developing strategies for the procurement of goods from them

Contributors in the value chain; by engaging BOP entrepreneurs in micro franchise models for distribution

• Graduating CSR activities from philanthropy to sustainable business

• Market research on specific sectors and scoping studies to evaluate opportunities

• Hand holding support to implement strategies and pilot new pro-poor business models

• Facilitating market building partnerships with financiers, demand generators and social enterprises with last mile distribution networks

• Monitoring and evaluation of project performance (financial and operational)

Funding Agencies & Service Providers

We support Investors, Bankers and Donors seeking suitable investment opportunities, an understanding of social sector trends, and to identify appropriate use for capital - grants, debt and equity investments - in social enterprises with high-impact and growth potential.

Services we offer to investors, donors, bankers and other industry contributors include:

• Research on markets, sectors, trends and emerging ideas

• Strategic and operational advisory support to existing social enterprise investees

• Market scans to identify and profile high potential investment opportunities

• Studies to enable high impact program-related investments (PRIs) for donors

• Hand holding support to implement strategies and pilot new models

• Monitoring and evaluation of project performance (financial and operational)

Case study II: DASRA



The following chapter presents the conclusions derived from the research findings written in sections 3.1 and 3.2. By linking the findings to the research objectives and the available literature, the conclusion explores answers to the research questions of section 2.2. The conclusion also aims to raise further questions in case of not being able to answer the research questions satisfactorily.


Appendix I: Questionnaire 1

Following is a sample semi-structured questionnaire. It was designed to probe into the needs of social enterprises for internal and external consulting.

The department head level

The Organisation and the nature of prioritising its activities

What is the nature of work of the department and the kind of projects handled?

What have been the implications of the projects completed so far?

How does the department identify the problem or opportunity ie. the method of prioritising?

Knowledge generation and transfer

Within the department, what methods are adopted to update the awareness and skill levels of the members?

What kinds of information repositories are maintained at the department's offices, other than the project data?

How is the knowledge generated through projects and reports, and other activities codified?

How is this information accessed interdepartmentally and especially over long durations of time, for example ten to fifteen year periods?

How is the information shared between other organisations collaborating, projectwise of for a sustained period?

Are any third parties involved in the knowledge management process?

If yes, at what levels and for what duration?

The project team level

Designing of and decision-making in the projects

Upon a project's assignment to the department, how does the team plan out the project in its available resources?

What are the parameters and constraints kept in mind while designing the project?

How are the sub-components of the project assigned to the team members?

Whether any tasks are outsourced to third parties (for design or implementation, review etc.)?

What kind of inter-departmental assistance is sought for the project?

What is the nature of involvement and the type of exit strategy of the project team in the projects already completed?

What are the factors kept in mind while taking decisions on matters clashing with and/or outside the mission and scope of the organisation?

(This would be drawn from past examples of projects already concluded as well as from specific examples encountered in the ongoing projects)

Exit and Impact assessment

Is the exit planned in the initial phase when the project is designed or left semi-structured and reviewed periodically?

What is the nature of exit planned ie. how are the roles and responsibilities created through the project handed over to the next stakeholder?

How is the post-exit monitoring of the project done?

What is the level of involvement post-exit?

How does the end-stakeholder derive from and view the entire project cycle?

What is the nature and level of involvement of the end-stakeholder in the different phases of the project?

The idea of collecting information about the above factors is to develop a case study to understand the organizational structures (both inter- and intra- departmental) based on:

Revenue model

Perspective of profit v/s non-profit

Core and additional activities of organization

Services such as Funding, auditing, market survey are core activities, consulting as an additional activity

Sources of Expertise/resources

Involvement of third party stakeholders in the operations and activities of the organisation

Appendix II: Questionnaire 2

This questionnaire formed the bases for the semi structured interviews with the consultants who advise social enterprises at various stages of their development and growth.


Framework of questions

Shomita Kundu

M. A. in Social Entrepreneurship

Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai

[email protected]


About the organisation

How and when was the organisation born? What is the mission of the organisation?

What are the activities undertaken?

What is the organisation's perspective on social value creation?

What is the organisational structure - both internal and external?

What is the revenue model adopted?

What strategies does the organisation adopt in assessing the impact it creates, and at what intervals?

Perspective of the organisation on consulting in the social domain

How do you define 'consulting'?

Do you view it differently from the business management perspective? If yes, then how?

How do you get connected with the clients?

What forms of consulting do you provide?

What methodology do you adopt in assessing the problem statement before devising the solution/advice?

How does the nature of advice differ between the different types of clients?

At what levels (in the client enterprise) do you provide consulting?

What is the average cost of seeking consulting advice from your firm?

For what durations do you provide consulting advice?

How do you ensure that you provide the best advice/solution in the given situation?

How do you measure the outcomes and impacts created as a result of the advice provided?

Who provides the financial resources required for consultancy? How do the clients generate income for themselves?

How do you ensure the advice given out is useful to the client in the future?