Value creation: the role of femS3
femS3 Sustainable Social Solutions is a non-profit organization. We, at femS3, are offering consulting services for the Indian social enterprise sector as well as for funders and investors.
Our value proposition is based both on some very positive results from our project partnerships and also on some rather sobering experiences. In May 2010 we launched the project “Microentrepreneurial Models and Services for the Self Development of the Working Poor in India”. The project aims to research, validate and develop market–based solutions focused on the primary needs of the population at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) in India. Together with high profile local organizations, we have been developing pilot-projects in the areas of urban water supply, health care, low-income housing, microfinance/ microin-surance, organic farming, shop systems and waste management.
One thing is clear by now: if there are “Markets at the Base-of-the-Pyramid” at all, they first have to be created. And this kind of market development can only be successful if it is being done bottom-up in cooperation with local entities!
We see three areas of work for us:
1. result-oriented, solution focused interventions for social businesses
2. advisory research to enable strategic investing – supporting impact investors
3. consulting corporations on social investments in India
We believe that partnerships between a variety of players such as social enterprises, NGOs, corporations, communities and government enable the creation of effective solutions that can be incrementally replicated. Through such partnerships femS3 has managed to build several successful social business models.
Our focus is on “last mile” consultations and executions. Only recently, more and more funders and investors have become aware of the fact that whereas there is no lack of high-profile consulting organisations who are creating social business models in various areas from affordable housing, to water supply to health and waste management, there is a vast gap when it comes to supporting local implementers of these models.
With strategic consultants the accountability stops, once a social business model has been created. Their focus is on creating business models whereas femS3 is all about the social enterprises themselves! We research problems and ideate impactful and sustainable solutions. We identify partners with whom we can work closely to implement the solutions at a community level.
Based on the knowledge that we were able to create in the past years we know: You cannot only go with an idea! Exactly here is where our work begins and where we see our business opportunity! We at femS3 have been able to work with a whole variety of for-profit and non-profit partners at a very deep level.
These are the key principles of our approach:
• target communities play the central role in our approach – direct involvement is a must
• we follow an inclusive approach in working with non-profits, commercial players and governments
• we believe in participatory decision-making: The views of all partners will be considered in detail
• femS3 is the nodal interface between all stakeholders – we drive the process
• the final design will be synthesized and formalized by femS3