Social enterprise or non-for-profit model? A word from last year’s Project Inspire winner, Protsahan

Social enterprise or non-for-profit model? A word from last year’s Project Inspire winner, Protsahan

Does social enterprise hold the key to women’s empowerment? And are social enterprises more effective than non-for-profits in this mission? A lively debate ensued when we posed these questions to a panel of experts at our 2014 launch event. Here, Roop Wadhwani, who works with Protsahan, last year’s Project Inspire winner, discusses how Protsahan addresses the same issues.


Roop at the Project Inspire 2014 launch event at Hub Singapore.

“As a social enterprise, our main goal is to bring a change in the status of women’s empowerment in developing countries. Our efforts have largely been supported by initiatives like Project Inspire and our large group of volunteers.”

“We are commonly perceived as a charitable organisation, rather than a social enterprise; we always struggle to distinguish ourselves from the image of an NGO. As social change-makers with a focus on education, we had no means to be sustainable in the beginning. Slowly, now that we’re moving into livelihood programs, we are becoming sustainable but we haven’t completely moved away from the charity model.”

“As we enter the growth stage of our organisation, the discussion around this at the launch event was very helpful for us. The panel emphasised the importance of ensuring the sustainability of a social enterprise, which resonated with our current ideology—as suggested, we plan to work with larger corporations, and nurture a bigger support system to ensure long-term sustainability.”


Tripti poses a question to the panel, at the Project Inspire 2014 launch event.

Tripti Bhadauriya, Chapter Head, Protsahan Singapore put a similar question to the panelists to differentiate between the two models (NGO and social enterprise), and the answer given by the panel was very insightful and thought-provoking. Protsahan was honoured and excited to be present at the launch event for Project Inspire.

We’d love to know your thoughts on the subject. Which model is more effective: social enterprise or non-profit? Leave your response below.


Protsahan is a social enterprise that uses creative education and art innovation to empower street children and young adolescent girls. Find out more:

Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World is a joint initiative from the Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard. Project Inspire offers 18-35 year olds worldwide a chance to win a US$25,000 grant for an existing social enterprise or non-profit organisation, which benefits women and girls in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and/or Africa. Find out more:




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