Revitalizing the Yamuna River: Social Entrepreneurship Approaches

New Delhi, India’s capital city, with a population of almost twenty-two million faces a daunting challenge: Its sacred river, the Yamuna, is one of the most polluted in the world. In fact, within the city limits, the Yamuna is primarily constituted by treated and untreated sewage and other toxic effluents. The water is rendered “dead” with zero oxygen, thus posing serious health hazards to the citizens of New Delhi. Might there be a way to cleanup and revitalize the river plain using social entrepreneurial approaches? In this paper, we propose to study the key ingredients required for creating and nurturing a social entreprenurship and innovation based ecosystem in the region. The methodology employed is qualitative in nature and draws on evidence based on interpretative interviews as well as direct and indirect observations. Using case examples of five socially driven ventures in the region, we examine how they they impact the local community in a manner that opens up new frontiers for positive social change. In doing so, these social entrepreneurs create value by introducing technology innovations that solve problems, while creating new opportunities for organizations and communities involved with the Yamuna river cleanup efforts.