Philanthropy over tea: An afternoon dedicated to social sustainability


International students of an executive program managed by Hong Kong based think tank, Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT), hosted an insightful presentation on the importance of driving sustainability in social development projects. 20 executives of nine nationalities including Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Brazil, UAE and India captivated the audience with their presentation on sustainable social projects by leveraging mobile technology.

The forum “Philanthropy over Tea”, co-hosted by LabourNet Services and Sambhav Foundation, was attended by social entrepreneurs and industry experts impacting the ecosystem with their CSR programs. Mr. Chandran Nair, Founder and CEO, GIFT, delivered the keynote address which was followed by a brief note by Dr. Gayathri Vasudevan, Co-founder and CEO, LabourNet Services. Both speakers stressed on the importance of social awareness and responsibility for driving viable projects for a country’s economic development.

Social sustainability GIFT “It is very important that investors seek long term viability of a social project instead of looking at immediate gain. Every social project takes a while to create a positive impact. The major challenge faced by any social entrepreneur is that when a project is unable to show immediate results, investors begin to exit”, Dr. Gayathri said.

“Social entrepreneurs must approach investors whose expectations align with the goal of the development project. There should be synergy between the investor and the enterprise.” – Nagarajan Prakasam, Acumen Funds

Technology, being the primary driver for growth in every sector, was abundantly showcased in the presentation by the participants of GIFT program that covered means to create profitable and sustainable projects in the social sphere by embracing technology. The students pointed out that since internet had reached the rural masses in India as well as widely promoted by the government, it was only natural to leverage internet and ride the mobile wave to attain sustainability.

The program concluded with a lively panel discussion on the topic ‘Social Impact – Driving Sustainability’, presented by Eric Stryson, CEO, GIFT. Panelists included stalwarts like Nagarajan Prakasam, Social Impact Investor – Acumen Funds, Wilma Rodrigues, Founder & CEO, Saahas Zero Waste, Amit Garg, Sr. Manager – Sustainability, Godrej Industries, and Dr. Gayathri. The audience showed its appreciation by participating enthusiastically in the question and answer round that followed the panel discussion. The floor turned into a spirited discussion zone as the panelists, along with the participants of GIFT, answered the volleyed queries patiently.

The program opened up possibilities for viable social development with the help of technology and focused funding.

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