Since the economic liberalization measures in 1991 in India there has been massive growth in the number and wealth of billionaires in India. Yet, at the same time there are more poor people living in eight Indian states than in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. As the wealth in the country is rapidly growing, there is also a growing consciousness that wealth should be shared with the less fortunate. The Indian government has now passed a bill that mandates a philanthropic approach to corporate social responsibility defined as spending 2% of net profit on social welfare. This will give a boost to corporate spending on CSR, a good opportunity for Women on Wings.
To get a better idea of the funding opportunities for Women on Wings in India, fundraising expert Martha van Dijk visited India in the week 3-9 March. She met Dutch and Indian corporates and institutions in Mumbai together with Women on Wings consultant Rupa Girish and in Delhi with Ronald van het Hof, MD Women on Wings India. Women empowerment is high on the agenda of most parties involved in India. There are different ways of achieving this. Bottom up: training women and setting up small-scale businesses. Or top down like Women on Wings does: accelerating growth of existing social companies and thus creating jobs for women. The counterparts were very interested in this specific business model of Women on Wings as it is a new concept to most of them. Martha, Rupa and Ronald believe there are abundant opportunities to work together in public private partnerships where corporates provide funding and social entrepreneurs take care of the execution; the challenge is to connect the dots.