Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Aravind Case: Business at its Best

It is worth studying the Aravind case - a business that does well by doing good. Aravind has overcome barriers of distance, poverty and ignorance to create a self-sustaining system; social entrepreneurship at its best with latest in technology, revenue generation for sustainability and a business model for scaling.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has selected the Aravind Eye Care System , to receive the 2008 Gates Award for Global Health.

But the contribution made by Aravind is broader than just healthcare - they validate and thrive on the concept of "doing well by doing good".

"Founded in 1976 in a rented house with only eleven beds, Aravind has grown into a thriving network of hospitals and satellite clinics that provide eye exams and surgeries, train healthcare professionals, conduct research, and manufacture eye-care products. In the past year, the Aravind network provided out-patient care to approximately 2.4 million patients and performed more than 280,000 surgeries. Thanks in part to its efforts, the estimated number of blind people in India fell from 8.9 million in 1990 to 6.7 million in 2002 -- a 25 percent decrease according to Philanthropy News."

What I hope this recognition will catalyse is growth in investment in social enterprises, like Aravind, early in their lifecycle so it does not take 30 years to scale.

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