Social Stock Exchange gains traction, attracts diverse investors

India's Social Stock Exchange (SSE) is gaining momentum as a platform for social enterprises and non-profit organizations (NPOs) to raise funds, attracting a growing pool of investors seeking both financial returns and social impact.

Launched to promote inclusive growth and financial inclusion, the SSE has seen several successful listings and fund raisings.

Notable examples include Bengaluru-based SGBS Unnati Foundation, which raised Rs 1.8 crore to train and employ government college graduates, and Transform Rural India, securing Rs 2 crore for skill development projects.

"The SSE provides a structured way for investors to support social causes they care about," market analyst Mahesh Kumar said. "It's not just philanthropy; for-profit social enterprises offer potential financial returns, similar to impact investing."

Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement and three other organizations have collectively raised Rs 8 crore, focusing on education, health, and sustainable livelihoods.

The SSE's rigorous listing standards, requiring regular audited reports and independent verification of social impact claims, are attracting investors. "Transparency and accountability are key," noted Megha Shah, an impact investor. "I can track the tangible outcomes of my investments."

Tax benefits recommended by the SSE committee are expected to further boost investor interest, although specific rules are yet to be defined.

While the SSE doesn't explicitly list top-performing stocks, its growing roster of organizations spans various sectors, reflecting India's diverse social welfare needs.
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