Pushing the Boundaries: RISHI’s Legacy of Social Entrepreneurship

“Social entrepreneurship” – that’s a bit of a tough pill for people to swallow, not in the least because most people don’t have the foggiest conception of what it’s supposed to be. In a start-up culture where an enormous focus is upon developing technology and all about maximizing the profit margins, it can be difficult for people to break down their bottom line in favor of being a do-gooder. But that’s what makes USC Project RISHI and its commitment to social entrepreneurship so special – we don’t measure our success based solely on how well our fundraisers do, we focus on creating the greatest social impact in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

            When I started out in Project RISHI as a greenhorn freshman, I had no clue what I was doing in college or where I was going in life. There were some nebulous dreams of being a hotshot lawyer somewhere in the distant future, or perhaps some sort of entrepreneur, but I had never wavered from a dream of being able to wake up and diving into mountains of money in a Scrooge McDuckian vault (the dream is still there, guys). College smashed my conception that business is solely about the profit margins and introduced me to the alien concept of maximizing the public good while making top dollar – a utilitarian goal in every sense of the word.

            USC Project RISHI has taken the idea of social entrepreneurship to heights I have never seen in another college organization. From my freshman year - USCPR’s very first year in operation - to now, I have seen one common goal amongst all of its members: not profit, not competition with other chapters, but a coming together of talents to create a lasting social impact amongst people who need it. We conduct extensive empirical and anecdotal research for all of our missions, asking the communities we serve what problems they want solved most and honing our efforts on these inequities to create the largest amount of change possible. Amongst the most recent additions to the RISHI family, our Research and Development team works tirelessly to find new ways to improve our research techniques, and a burgeoning videography/film division forges its way into new media to highlight the plight of our communities. USCPR is constantly innovating, bringing new talent into the fold and never wavering in its commitment and dedication to serving underprivileged communities of the Indian subcontinent. I have been consistently impressed with this organization’s ability to bring together both entrepreneurs and philanthropists alike and have them serve a common goal, and it is my hope that I (and all of my fellow members) can continue to build upon this legacy far into the future.