Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan: The Road Less Traveled
Ali Raza Khan
Chief Executive Officer in YES Network Pakistan
Social Entrepreneurship is the fastest growing field in the world. The concept of Social Entrepreneurship has not yet arrived at a full understanding in Pakistan. In a country like Pakistan, where social, economic and environmental problems are increasing year after year, Social Entrepreneurship can offer the right inspiration to government, private sector, NGOs, academia and young people to build homegrown solutions to various social problems of the society. The purpose of this paper is to discuss progress made in the field of Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan. The paper is organized in six sections. The paper draws on the work of YES Network Pakistan in introducing and institutionalizing the concept of Youth Social Entrepreneurship in the educational, technical and developmental institutions. The paper adds personal conclusions drawn from both direct and indirect observation.
Key Words: Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan, Social enterprise, Social Entrepreneurs
- What is Social Entrepreneurship? What is the difference between Business Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship?
- What are the advantages that Social Enterprises have over Business and Nonprofit organizations?
- Why there is the need of Social Entrepreneurship in the context of Pakistan?
- Who are the major players involved in the promotion of Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan?
- What are the common ways of creating a rising generation of Social Entrepreneurs?
- What are the challenges for promoting Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan?
Qualitative research methodology has been employed for this study. The qualitative research involves both primary and secondary sources. The primary source involves direct observation
and experience of the researcher on designing and implementing a wide range of social entrepreneurship projects for the integration in public and private institutions of Pakistan. The secondary source comprises of review of books, articles, journals, authentic websites, etc.
Outline of the Paper
The paper is organized in six main sections that can be read in any order based on the reader’s interest and familiarity with the subject.
The first section aims at introducing the concept of Social Entrepreneurship, a history in brief, an overview of the field’s current state and outlook.
The second section presents the difference between Business Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship as well as the difference between Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Organizations. This section also highlights the advantages that Social Entrepreneurship Organizations have over Business and Nonprofit Organizations.
The third section presents the need of Social Entrepreneurship from societal perspective by sharing a few facts and figures about Pakistan. This section discusses the need and urgency of integrating the concept of Social Entrepreneurship into education and development sector.
The fourth section presents a brief overview of some key local, national and international players that have been making contributions in shaping the field of Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan. This section highlights the scope of existing interventions in the subject area with some case studies of institutions who are trying to address local issues of global relevance.
The fifth section presents several common ways of creating a rising generation of Social Entrepreneurs.
Finally, the sixth section examines the challenges for promoting Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
“You must be good in one of two things: presenting problems or presenting solutions.”
Social Entrepreneurship is a new buzz word which everyone is talking about these days. Social Entrepreneurship is not a new sensation as the terms “Social Entrepreneur” and “Social Entrepreneurship” came into widespread use over the last two decades. The term “Social Entrepreneurship” is relatively new but the individuals who practice Social Entrepreneurship to deal with local issues of global relevance are not. Looking back, there were numerous individuals who served the society by providing creative and innovative solutions to the social problems of their time. William Lloyd Garrison established the Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. Garrison was also the first publisher of anti-slavery newspaper. Jane Addams was a social worker and founder of the social settlement Hull House in Chicago in 1889. She provided a shelter to the poor, under-served and destitute people. Her idea was later replicated throughout the country. She also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Maria Montessori was the first female physician in Italy as well as the creator of the Montessori child education system in 1906. Mary McLeod Bethune established the National Council of Negro Women in 1935. Margaret Sanger was the founder of the first American birth control clinic in 1916. She was also the founder of America Birth Control League which later turned into Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Florence Nightingale was the initiator of modern nursing. She founded the first school for the nurses and strived to improve the conditions in hospitals.
These are just a few of many outstanding examples of early Social Entrepreneurs who presented innovative solutions to the social dilemmas. It is important to understand that why Social Entrepreneurship is gaining a lot of recognition now? Why this word Social Entrepreneurship is so popular now? A quick review of the recent history helps to understand the reason of popularity of Social Entrepreneurship in recent years. William Bill Drayton, a MacArthur Fellow, has played a pioneer role in introducing and spreading the concept of Social Entrepreneurship. In 1980, Bill Drayton founded Ashoka, the world’s first-ever organization to promote Social Entrepreneurship by empowering Social Entrepreneurs with financial resources and connections to disseminate ideas and solutions. The concept of Social Entrepreneurship had its first academic home in Harvard Business School in 1993. Harvard Business School launched the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative in 1993. (Seghers and Allemand, 2007) In 1998, the Schwab Foundation, affiliated with the World Economic Forum, launched Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. The Foundation selects “outstanding Social Entrepreneurs.” These individuals receive financial and technical support and also get an opportunity to participate in the World Economic Forum. Jeff Skoll, the first president of eBay, established the Skoll Foundation, which invests in Social Entrepreneurs around the world. There are several other foundations such as the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Echoing Green which offer funding to Entrepreneurs. The Government of United Kingdom (UK) has also played a leadership role in promoting the concept of social enterprise within and outside the country. The 4
UK government has done more in comparison to many other governments in creating supportive environment for the establishment of social enterprises.
Current well known Social Entrepreneurs include Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize; Victoria Hale of Institute for One World Health who taps existing but abandoned pharmaceutical research to bring new drugs to the world’s poorest people and Ann Cotton of CAMFED who is dedicated to educating girls in rural Africa. It is in recent times that these changemakers become popular as Social Entrepreneurs. There are many factors which contributed in shaping the field of Social Entrepreneurship, including nonprofit organization’s quest for financial sustainability and for-profit companies desire to contribute to a broader social good. Social Entrepreneurship has emerged as an important force to support the public and private sectors of the society. It has provided a great route to nonprofit organizations to maximize their mission-related activities through the creation of earned income strategies. It has also provided a means to profit-based companies to add more value to their work by designing and delivering products and services to people who are at the base of the pyramid.
1.2 Definitions of Social Entrepreneurship
There is no single definition of Social Entrepreneurship. According to Austin, Stevenson, Wei-Skiller and Boschee, “One group of researchers refers to Social Entrepreneurship as nonprofit initiatives designed for alternative funding strategies to create social value.” (Austin, Stevenson, & Wei-Skiller, 2003; Boschee, 1998) Another group of researchers describes it as “the socially responsible practice of commercial business engaged in cross-cutting partnerships.” (Sagawa & Segal, 2000; Waddock, 1998) Some researchers also consider Social Entrepreneurship as “a mean to address social problems and catalyze social transformation.” (Alvord et al., 2004; Ashoka Innovators for the Public, 2000)
Social Entrepreneurship can be defined as an alternative business model that produces social, financial and environmental value and outcomes. Social Entrepreneurship aims at addressing social problems. It provides the society with new and innovative solutions for social transformation. It often leads to positive changes in the social, political and economic aspects of low-income and under-served families. Social Entrepreneurship builds new social arrangements and mobilizes untapped resources in response to the public failures.
Social Entrepreneurship is the process of pursuing opportunities for long-term impactful social change by passionate, visionary and committed individuals.
Social Entrepreneurship is manifested by those individuals who provide innovative solutions to the society’s most urgent social problems. They are determined and persistent. They tackle
major social issues and offer new ideas for solving these social problems. They take initiatives for solving social problems “by changing the system, spreading the solution and persuading the entire societies to take new leaps.” (Ashoka Innovators for the Public, 2012) They do not depend upon government or business sector to solve the social problems. “Social Entrepreneurs act as the change agents for society.” (Ashoka Innovators for the Public, 2012) They seize opportunities which others miss and improve the systems by inventing new approaches and strategies.
Alvord, Brown, & Letts define Social Entrepreneurship as, “Social Entrepreneurship creates innovative solutions to immediate social problems and mobilizes the ideas, capacities, resources, and social arrangements required for sustainable social transformations.” (Alvord, Brown, & Letts, 2004)
According to the SAID Business School, Social entrepreneurship may be defined as “a professional, innovative, and sustainable approach to systematic change that resolves social market failures and grasps opportunities.” (Mair and Marti, 2005)
According to the members of the Skoll Foundation, Roger Martin and Sally Osberg, the field of Social Entrepreneurship has become “a truly immense tent into which all manner of socially beneficial activities may fit.” (Skoll Foundation, 2011) They further stated, “the real measure of social entrepreneurship should be direct action that generates a paradigm shift in the way a societal need is met.” (Skoll Foundation, 2011)
1.3 Common Elements in the Definitions
Social Need: Social enterprises always intend to address a social problem.
Enterprise Orientation: Social enterprises provide products or services in difficult market conditions.
Re-investment of Income: Social enterprises always reinvest surpluses in the mission.
Democratically Owned: Social enterprises are democratically owned. The stakeholders are accountable for their every action.
Autonomy: Social enterprises are autonomous in decision making.
1.4 Difference between Social Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs
Social Entrepreneurship is a field. It is what people do. The term “Social Entrepreneurship” is still very new in Pakistan. An overwhelming majority of the people and the institutions are not familiar with the term “Social Entrepreneurship”. The key principles of Social Entrepreneurship
such as innovation, creativity, risk-taking and earned income strategies have been applied by the people and institutions to address social problems since the inception of the country. It is virtually impossible to track down the history of Social Entrepreneurship movement in Pakistan.
Social Enterprise is defined by their organizational form (nonprofit or for-profit), governance (democratic) social mission and business model (earned and unearned income strategies). The choice to form a nonprofit or for-profit is mainly influenced by the institutional environment and its role in diminishing or enlarging resource attainment. Social Enterprise Europe Ltd defines Social Enterprise as “Businesses whose prime purpose is social, who operate ethically and are democratically owned and governed.”
Social entrepreneur refers to a person who creates, innovates, grasps and assumes responsibility to deliver services and goods for social change. Social entrepreneurs create jobs, “inspire communities and are the leaders in creating social capital and social cohesion.” (Wilson, 2009)
1.5 Players and Events in the Field of Social Entrepreneurship
A brief overview of the players and the events that have contributed in shaping the field of social entrepreneurship is given below:
Microfinance institutions have played a lynchpin role in the advancement of the concept of Social Entrepreneurship. The world’s most famous Social Entrepreneurs are the leaders of microfinance institutions. Muhammad Yunus, a world renowned leader in the field of microfinance is a classic example of it. The growth of microfinance institutions is very encouraging in Pakistan as they are providing a good platform to the most under-served populations to escape poverty by setting-up businesses and social enterprises. The promulgation of the Microfinance Institutions Ordinance 2001 by the Government of Pakistan is also considered as a positive step in enabling the establishment of sustainable microfinance banks.
Institutions like Kashf Foundation, First Microfinance Bank Ltd, “Development Action for Mobilization and Emancipation (DAMEN), National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP), Sindh Agricultural & Forestry Workers’ Cooperative Organization (SAFWCO), Sungi Development Foundation, Taraqee Foundation (TF), Thardeep Rural Development Programme (TRDP), Punjab Rural Support Programme (PRSP), The Bank of Khyber (BOK), etc.” (BWTP, 2012) are playing a very crucial role in promoting innovation, nurturing entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs and offering valuable lessons learnt to build the field of social entrepreneurship.
1.5.2 Private Institutions
Pakistan is seriously struggling in meeting the basic needs of the people. Due to public failures in many sectors such as education, health, environment, there has been a phenomenal rise in the private institutions to meet the unmet needs of people who are living at the base of the pyramid. Many of these private institutions are launched by innovative people who may not be aware of the term of “Business Entrepreneurship” or “Social Entrepreneurship” but they are applying entrepreneurial skills for the creation and sustenance of their enterprises. These private institutions are flexible enough to adapt to local conditions and use local labor markets in a cost-effective manner. It is interesting to observe that private institutions in developed countries tend to serve the needs of the elite but in the case of Pakistan private institutions operating in rural areas are catering to the needs of the most deprived. A vast majority of these educational, health, skill building and environmental institutes are following earned income strategy for their survival and growth.
1.5.3 Civil Society Organizations
Pakistan has experienced the mushroom growth of civil society organizations over the years. These civil society organizations include nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), trade unions, cultural groups, cultural groups and informal citizen organizations. The number of nongovernment organizations has been growing since the 1980’s mainly due to the state’s inability to provide social services. According to one estimate the numbers of NGOs in Pakistan in 2009 were 100,000. (Naviwala, 2010) It is interesting to note that the term “NGO” is very negatively understood and interpreted in the general public because it is attached with foreign-funded organizations or pursuing secular causes. In reality, 87% of NGO funding is based on local sources. Locally-funded NGOs are the largest segment of NGOs in Pakistan. “Half of these locally-funded NGOs generate revenue through fees and user charges.” (Naviwala, 2010) Foreign-funded organizations are also facing serious challenges for their survival due to transitional economies and changing funder priorities.
1.5.4 Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority
The Government of Pakistan established Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) in October 1998. The purpose of SMEDA is to promote and facilitate the process of the development of Small and Medium Enterprise sector in Pakistan by creating an enabling environment. SMEDA offers a wide range of services such as consultant services, training services, financial services, information resource services, intellectual property for business success, legal services, policy and planning service. SMEDA is providing good foundation for the development and growth of social enterprises as well as strengthening ones. SMEDA has the potential to play a vital role in building-up the momentum for social entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
1.5.5 International and Local Organizations
There are many local and international organizations involved in promoting the concept of social entrepreneurship in Pakistan. A brief about these organizations are given below:
Ashoka has played a leadership role in identifying, investing and promoting the work of social entrepreneurs locally and globally. Many of the respected leaders in the social sector in Pakistan are Ashoka Fellows. Ashoka elected its first cohort of Fellows in Pakistan in 1997.
British Council has also played an exceptional role in promoting the concept of Youth Social Entrepreneurship in the technical institutions of Pakistan. Since 2008, British Council has been running a Youth Social Enterprise Competition in the country in partnership with YES Network Pakistan. Under this initiative, over twelve hundred representatives of technical institutions have been sensitized, trained and engaged to involve their students in designing and implementing youth-led micro social enterprises. The competition was launched to promote creativity, innovation, critical and analytical thinking among young people. The overall objective of the Youth Social Enterprise Competition is to nurture a new generation of young social entrepreneurs who are change agents and change makers within their communities and the country at large.
Acumen Fund has been working in Pakistan since 2002. It has invested over $ 14.9 million in organizations crafting innovative solutions to poverty. These organizations are catering to the needs of homeless, poverty-stricken and socially-excluded populations.
German Society for International Cooperation, known as GIZ has been playing a very effective role in facilitating and promoting innovation and social entrepreneurship in the country. It has recently launched Funds for Innovative Training (FIT), Green Skills Initiative to assist the TVET reform in Pakistan through identifying and supporting innovative approaches to skills development. FIT is launched to provide a funding facility to organizations in Pakistan that are trying to introduce, expand and institutionalize skills development initiatives.
In 2011, Agha Khan Rural Support Program launched a Youth Leadership and Employability program in Gilgit, Baltistan and Chitral to train and engage youth in bringing a positive change in their communities. This was the first-ever organized effort in these areas to recognize youth as an important resource in the development of their communities. YES Network Pakistan organized a five-days Training of Trainers workshop in June 2011 to sensitize and train the staff of Agha Khan Rural Support Program on youth development and youth engagement programs such as youth social entrepreneurship, service learning and youth service.
The Planning Commission of Pakistan has also recognized Youth Social Entrepreneurship as a promising strategy for socio- economic development of the country. The Planning Commission
organized a separate session on Youth Social and Economic Entrepreneurship during the national level roundtable on “Youth Development and Economic Growth” held on January 25th, 2011 in Islamabad. The session featured the work of YES Network Pakistan in promoting new ideas of youth engagement such as youth social entrepreneurship, service learning and youth service in the country. During the roundtable, several key stakeholders such as representatives of donor agencies and civil society organizations participated in the event to share their work, experiences and best practices in the field of youth development in Pakistan.
YES Network Pakistan has played a pioneer role in introducing the concept of social entrepreneurship in the public and private sectors of Pakistan. YES Network Pakistan began supporting young people in designing and implementing social enterprises in 1999-2000. In its 15-year history, the YES has launched numerous initiatives to provide support, services and opportunities to youth-serving institutions and young people for the promotion of social entrepreneurship. YES has sensitized, educated and engaged representatives of 1400 youth-serving institutions in creating favorable conditions for meaningful youth engagement in addressing local issues of global relevance. YES has integrated the concept of social entrepreneurship into the curriculum of 172 Vocational Training Institutes. YES has introduced the topic of social entrepreneurship to 25 leading universities of Pakistan.
The efforts of these institutions are encouraging and inspiring many local, regional and international youth-serving organizations to design and deliver social entrepreneurship programs.
1.6 Current Outlook
Social Entrepreneurship has a great scope in Pakistan. There are many Social Enterprises in operation in Pakistan. Interestingly, the founder and head of many of these Social Enterprises are unfamiliar with the term of social entrepreneurship. Therefore, the current pool of self-identified social enterprises is very small and elite. On the other hand, at the practitioner level, the phenomenon of Social Entrepreneurship is exploding naturally due to financial need, leadership style and program innovation.
There is a general perception that Social Enterprise is strictly about earned-income or profit. It is an incorrect perception as no amount of earned income can make up for failure on the social impact side of the equation. It is important to understand that Social Entrepreneurship is not about only income but it is about change and impact. The real yardstick to measure the performance of a social enterprise is not the size of the earned income but it is the ability of the social enterprise to innovate and create an impact. The founders of many renowned social change organizations in Pakistan such as Edhi Foundation in Pakistan (providing social services like medical care, emergency services, air ambulances, burial services and training facilities for the disadvantaged since 1951) and Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre are very good at attracting philanthropic donations. These organizations are registered as
“charities” but they are following both earned income and unearned income strategies to provide services. Therefore, looking only at earned income strategy to measure the performance of a social enterprise would not be a good idea. It undermines the core purpose of the establishment of a social enterprise. Earned income is essential but it not at par with social impact. It would be dreadful to give a reward to some social change organization on the basis of earned income only.
The question arises that why there are so many institutions opening-up in urban cities to provide education and health services to people? Why these institutions are not going to places where there is a dire need? The reason is social impact is not at the top of their lists. It may come after financial impact. These institutions cannot be considered as social enterprises because of the fact that they are earning income and providing a social service. It is important to understand that all income generating public activities do not fall under the category of social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship is about solving a social problem or market failure by using a combination of income generating methods.
“Social entrepreneurs’ first build a model of change in their mind through their personal experiences and then shift all their personal resources (body, mind, heart and spirit) for bringing that social change.”
The second section presents the difference between Business Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship as well as the difference between Social Entrepreneurship and nonprofit organizations. This section also highlights the advantages that Social Entrepreneurship organizations have over business and nonprofit organizations.
“Social entrepreneurship and business entrepreneurship are like two wings of a bird. As a bird cannot fly with one wing, similarly we cannot create a better society by focusing only on one type of entrepreneurship.”
The boundaries between Business Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship are becoming misty nowadays. All the sectors of the society including public, private and NGOs are in process of re-inventing themselves to meet the present realities. The public good will is no
more considered a responsibility of government and NGOs only. Business Entrepreneurs are pushed to contribute socially and environmentally.
There are many similarities between Business and Social Entrepreneurship. These are described below:
Dreamers: Both are dreamers. They dream big.
Risk-takers: Both are risk takers. Business Entrepreneurs take risks of their financial capital and social entrepreneurs take risks of their lives to work on challenging issues.
Imaginative: Both apply their minds in the creation of a new idea or process.
Enthusiastic: Both are very enthusiastic about their work. They are keen to achieve the desired results.
Organizational Builder: Both are organizational builder. They have a strong desire to build their organizations.
Relationship Builder: Both are relationship builders. Business Entrepreneurs build relationships with others to earn profits while social entrepreneurs build relationships with others to bring change in the society.
|Business Entrepreneurship||Social Entrepreneurship|
|Purpose||Economic value creation||Social and economic value creation|
|Tools Preferred||Rules and Regulations||Care, appreciation and teamwork|
|Distribution among Shareholders||Re-investment in the organization|
|Environment||Operates in stable and risk-free environment||Operates in risky and unstable environment|
|Market Conditions||Promising market conditions for profit to gain are available||No or low market conditions for social and financial impact|
|Measurement of Success||Wealth creation||Social change|
One frequently asked question is why business entrepreneurs are not considered as social entrepreneurs? After all everything they do is social. They provide jobs, salaries, perks and taxes. Of course they are social in that sense but the difference is really in terms of what they want to maximize. The main difference between business and Social Entrepreneurship is of why
they are doing it rather than what they are doing it? One needs to ask a question why there are so many educational and health institutions available in cities? Why there are no or very few educational and health facilities available in rural areas. What is the purpose behind establishing these institutions? Social Entrepreneurship puts social value first and business entrepreneurs put economic value first. It does not mean that social entrepreneurs do not give economic value a priority they do give but it comes after social always.
In developing countries opportunities for Social Entrepreneurship are widespread but legal and supportive environment is missing. In addition to that low initiative and absence of business acumen also poses constants. The phenomenon of Social Entrepreneurship is exploding automatically in developing countries where there are numerous social problems. Unfortunately most of these enterprises are driven by circumstances and not by the opportunity. The people who run these enterprises are more focused on the product or service creation and less on customer development. A person who is living at the base of the pyramid with very less knowledge skills and social capital tend to focus on immediate gains rather than long term gains. The key to starting and running a successful Social Enterprise is to develop a habit of delaying or cancelling personal immediate gains. Social enterprises are more likely to achieve success when it is led by passion and desire to bring change in the society. Social Enterprise struggles when personal ability to delay gratification is not actualized. It struggles when opportunities are exploited for personal gains. It struggles when capacity of Social Entrepreneurs to receive and manage is very low. It fails when financial resources are considered as only resources.
2.1 Social Entrepreneurs Enjoy Several Advantages Over Business Entrepreneurs
Social Entrepreneurs have more opportunities to create and deliver than Business Entrepreneurs. Social Entrepreneurs do not wait for the right time and environment. On the other hand, Business Entrepreneurs need proper playing field. They need right and stable environment to operate. Social Entrepreneurs carry their environment with themselves. They create conditions themselves.
Social Entrepreneurs do not operate with fear. They get involved directly to galvanize support and resources for themselves. They do not sit on the sidelines. Business Entrepreneurs operate with many fears including political turmoil, breakdown of law and order, terrorism, etc. These fears affect their decision making. Social Entrepreneurs develop highly focused and motivated team by transmitting their vision in them. Social Entrepreneurs apply nonmaterial resources such as passion, commitment, sacrifice, resolve, care and appreciation in developing strong teams of workers. On the other hand, Business Entrepreneurs apply material resources to form teams of workers. They offer perks and privileges to workers to develop powerful teams.
Social Entrepreneurs have the freedom to reinvest all the income back into the Social Enterprise in order to reach out to new markets, audiences and places, while the Business Entrepreneurs are bound to distribute profits to shareholders. Social Entrepreneurs use personal
service and contributions to achieve their mission. Business Entrepreneurs apply power and position to achieve their goals.
Social Entrepreneurs develop strong bond with the communities. These communities provide many kinds of support (in-kind, cash, etc.) to Social Entrepreneurs. Business Entrepreneurs have no real connection with the communities. Social Entrepreneurs address local issues of global relevance. It helps them to attract funding from donor agencies which are also dealing with these problems. Business Entrepreneurs do not qualify for donor funding because of their institutional arrangement.
Social Entrepreneurs inspire very competent and experienced people from different fields to serve as volunteers, board members and consultants at no cost or very less cost. Business Entrepreneurs find it very difficult to get the services of other people at no or low cost. They have to pay huge price for it. Social Entrepreneurs develop loyal buyers who prefer to purchase their products or services because of their mission. The customers of Business Entrepreneurs have no permanent loyalty and affiliation. They remain in relationship till their self-interest is met.
2.2 Difference between Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Organizations
“A problem which is solved by donations and grants will likely to come back. A problem is solved permanently only when personal contributions such as thinking, ideas, commitment and determination are applied.”
Social Enterprises have a close association with NGOs model as they are society-focused organizations. For any social enterprise, social mission is the ultimate goal. They give first preference to social value creation and second to wealth creation. The main reason of Social Enterprises to generate an income is to pursue their social and environmental goals independently. The wealth created by Social Enterprises is used for the expansion, improvement and betterment of the society.
The biggest difference between Social Enterprises and NGOs is the source of their earnings. The NGOs rely only on donations, grants and charitable contributions. The Social Enterprises pursue both earned and unearned income strategies. Social Enterprises are considered as “hybrid organizations” having doubled (social and economic) or triple (social, economic and environmental) bottom lines. The success and performance of a Social Enterprise is measured by looking at the double or triple bottom lines. The success of non-government organization is measured on the social value delivered.
There are many push factors which are paving the way for Social Enterprise development across the country. It includes decline in donations, grants and unconditional financial assistance. Social Entrepreneurship will continue to flourish naturally (out of necessity) and unconsciously due to the decline in public funding and inability of NGOs to generate funds by their own. There are many examples of NGOs engaged in income generating activities recently due to the reduction in their funding. Although these NGOs have established small revenue streams for earnings but they are still not fully exploiting their potential in establishing permanent revenue streams. There are several examples of income generation by NGOs in the past, even before the term Social Entrepreneurship was coined. The rise of Social Entrepreneurship strategies in the NGO sector is mainly due to the mushroom growth of several community-based organizations and cutbacks in public and private funding. These cutbacks have forced NGOs to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset willingly or unwillingly.
Bankruptcy is the ultimate destination for many NGOs which continue to focus on thinking in one direction. If these NGOs will not revisit their approach and practices, they are going to isolate and roll back their operations. They need to understand that it is not their beneficiaries who need to rebuild their lives but it is also their management practices which need to be redesigned by applying the entrepreneurial principles.
The author admits that transforming the financial models of NGOs or charity organizations into Social Enterprises or auto-financing model would not be a good idea. Countries like Pakistan where natural calamities and disasters visit frequently, auto-financing model will not help many NGOs to meet the immediate needs of earthquake or flood affected people.
Social Entrepreneurship is expanding silently in Pakistan. The boundaries among NGOs, private companies and public institutions are diminishing. It is not only including NGOs but profitable companies to think outside the box for their survival and growth. This breaking of barriers means that NGOs have to learn from businesses and businesses have to learn something from NGOs.
The concept of Social Entrepreneurship is very new in Pakistan. It is not a new concept only for government institutions, NGOs, private companies but also for the donor agencies. Donors have always laid great importance on the sustainability of the funded projects in the past but now they have to adopt a bigger and larger approach to bring the whole organization in screening process by looking at the capacity and management practices of organizations for sustaining their operations and achieving long-term impact.
The third section presents the need of Social Entrepreneurship from societal perspective by sharing a few facts and figures about Pakistan. This section discusses the need and urgency of integrating the concept of Social Entrepreneurship into education and development sectors.
Pakistan offers great platform for Social Entrepreneurship. Pakistan has accumulated a great backlog of needs and do not command the resources to pay for them in full via market. It is quite important from a sheer societal functional point of view to find ways to advance the common good through Youth Social Entrepreneurship programs. A democratic and prosperous society needs engaged citizens and not citizens in waiting. The service needs of our society are mounting every day. It is virtually impossible for the government to meet the high service needs of the society. Some of the facts which highlight the societal need for Youth Social Entrepreneurship are as follows:
- According to UNESCO, “Over 7 million children of age 5 to 9 are out of school, and most of these children belong to poor families and disadvantaged groups, particularly the rural girls.” (UNESCO, 2011)
- Half of the adult population and two out of every three females in Pakistan are illiterate. (DFID, 2012)
- 60 million people live in poverty. (DFID, 2012)
- 60 million people do not have access to safe drinking water. (UNICEF, 2011)
- 90 million people lack access to sewerage systems (Chair, 2010)
- One in 11 children die before they reach the fifth year of their lives (DFID, 2012)
- 1.3 million Jobs are required every year (Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan, 2011)
- 12,000 women die in childbirth every year (DFID, 2012)
- Almost half of the children under the age of five suffer stunted growth which affects the development of their brains and minimizes their learning abilities (DFID, 2012)
- Pakistan has also been facing serious and devastating natural (earthquakes, floods) and man-made disasters (terrorism and accidents).
- On the top of that, Pakistan houses the largest number of youth in its history. 2/3 the total population (68.36%) is concentrated below the age of 30. The 15-29 years old form 27.63% of Pakistan’s population; described as the youth cohort. The proportion of female population in existing youth cohort (15-29) is relatively higher than other cohorts except for 30-39 age group. (Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan, 2011)
It is clear from the above-mentioned facts that Social Entrepreneurship on a broad scale is an idea whose time is long overdue. The basic reason for starting Social Entrepreneurship programs is the work to be done. Social Entrepreneurship is needed because there is no other way to meet the needs of these individuals. Our nation needs the active contributions of young people to address challenges in areas such as education, employment, skill building, health, emergency responses, drug use, crime, care for the elderly and disabled. These are just some areas in which
young people can improve the quality of life in Pakistan by providing services not readily available in the labor force. Social Entrepreneurship will improve the economic viability of the nation in the long run by increasing the employability of those who serve and learn. It will help to head off violence, crime and terrorism from the society.
There is also a huge gap existing in the learning environments of children and young people. There is a serious disconnect between theory and practice. There is a dire need to shift the focus of educational and technical institutions from inward looking to outward looking. They need to reinvent themselves as places for public good. They need to bridge the gap between their institutions and communities. They carry an obligation to listen, feel, respond, understand and work out solutions of the problems which are faced by their communities or country. Countries like Pakistan cannot afford to see its major chunk of population i.e; young people sitting and watching things happening around them and cannot do anything about it. It is very important for the survival and growth of Pakistan that everyone should be given an opportunity to contribute in the best possible way in dealing with these challenges. Several questions arise, such as how can we benefit from the creative abilities of our young people? How can we mainstream young people into the development process of Pakistan? How can we reach out to maximum number of young people to develop this confidence, knowledge and skills, so that they are fully capable of bringing change in their lives and the lives of other now? The best place to start is educational and technical institutions. It is these institutions where majority of young people can be found. It is very unfortunate that rarely any educational and technical institution focuses on creating a rising generation of Social Entrepreneurs. These institutions hardly focus on helping young people to use their imagination in designing and executing ideas for social change. The outcome of this is that a vast majority of public educational and technical institutions are not serving the large majority of young people. It is serving a tiny minority of young people. Our educational and technical institutions are still focusing on the preparation system of rote memorization and traditional skills building in premises. There is a need to move forward and adopt an engagement system where young people are provided new environments and spaces where they can learn empathy, problem-solving, creativity, resolve and determination. These skills cannot be taught in the classrooms. This raises a question that how can educational and technical institutions create a new culture where students can discover their natural abilities such as thinking, building, creating, solving and intelligence in dealing with social problems of their choice?
Educational institutions are always considered as places for preparing students to respond to social and economic challenges in future. The students are never given an opportunity to learn to create and execute solutions of the social and economic challenges. Students are always judged based on their academic abilities. They are not judged based on their natural abilities to think, create, build, design and contribute. The young people are always considered as future leaders or leaders in the making. They are never treated as present leaders or human beings fully capable of turning their ideas into reality. The success is always defined for them in terms of reaching ‘somewhere’. That somewhere can be attaining a degree, diploma, job, etc. What happened when you promote such thinking among young people? You are basically sending a message to young people that you are not capable of doing anything at the moment? You are not talented enough, intelligent enough, skilled enough and grown enough mentally to take on any
bigger challenge. Why a degree or diploma is not enough? Why scoring an A or A+ is not enough? It is not enough because young people do not need knowledge only to be successful. They need to learn how to work together. Skills like empathy, problem-solving, creative thinking, teamwork, relationship-building and leadership are more critical to the success of young people than their ability to remember the names of innovators or scientists.
The fourth section presents a brief overview of some key local players affiliated with YES Network Pakistan that have been making contributions in shaping the field of Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan. This section highlights the scope of existing interventions in the subject area with some case studies of institutions who are trying to address local issues of global relevance.
4.1 Institutional Case Studies
Catholic Board of Education, Lahore: The Catholic Board of Education in the Archdiocese of Lahore is running over 150 schools. A vast majority of these schools are Urdu-medium and establish in the remote areas of the city. Over 40,000 children are receiving education from these institutions. YES Network Pakistan and Catholic Board of Education joined hands in 2008 to introduce a wide variety of capacity building and engagement programs. YES Network Pakistan has launched service learning program in the leading Catholic Schools with the purpose of connecting theory to practice and extending the process of learning of students beyond the classrooms. Service learning program is providing a foundation to students of all ages (starting from grade one) to use their imaginations, knowledge and skills to address developmental issues. YES has trained 1100 faculty members of these schools to facilitate students in designing and implementing service projects. The Service Learning program has engaged over 30,000 students in a wide variety of social action projects. A few of the Catholic Schools has also included service learning in the syllabus. YES Network conducted impact survey in 2009 in 6 leading Catholic schools in Lahore in which Service Learning projects were implemented. The survey results showed that majority of the students’ attitudes changed after the implementation of these projects. They had become more caring, courteous and concerned about others. The Service Learning Projects contributed a lot in increasing the sense of purpose in the life of students. It gave direction to them in spending their lives for some good purpose. The Service Learning Projects were mutually beneficial for the students and the teachers and created a positive effect on the community. Such projects inculcate academic learning, life skills, leadership skills, communication skills, management skills, self-esteem and self-confidence in students and help them in their self-development and self-grooming. (YES Network Pakistan, 2009)
Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA): TEVTA works to enhance competitiveness, though supporting the development of a high quality and productive workforce. It aims to do this by developing demand drive, standardized and integrated technical education and vocational training. YES Network Pakistan and the British Council launched a joint initiative entitled “Youth Social Enterprise Challenge Competition” to introduce the concept of social entrepreneurship in the TVET system of Pakistan in 2008. The competition is still going on and has already sensitized and engaged over 1400 TVET institutions across Pakistan in promoting the concept of social entrepreneurship among teachers and students. Under this initiative, several hundred young people are engaged every year in designing and implementing innovative projects. Recently, the British Council invited a third party, i.e; ASK Development Pvt. Ltd. in March 2012 to evaluate the “Youth Social Enterprise Challenge” project implemented by YES Network Pakistan in TVET sector. According to the findings of the evaluation report, 93% of the respondents believed that this project has benefited them in terms of developing their entrepreneurship skills, starting their own business, improving confidence levels and enhancing team building skills. An overwhelming majority of the participants of the survey, i.e; 93.3% have started their own business after participating in this project. (British Council, 2012)
Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC): It is an independent corporate body established by the Government of the Punjab through the PVTC Act of 1998. It intends to address poverty through Muslim charity (zakat) and private sector contribution by providing demand driven skill training and enhancing employability for under-served youth. In 2011, YES Network Pakistan has integrated the concept of social entrepreneurship into the curriculum of 170 Vocational Training Institutes of PVTC. PVTC has become the first organization in the country which has launched Social Entrepreneurship and Service Learning course for transforming disadvantaged youth from victims to Social Entrepreneurs. The duration of Social Entrepreneurship and Service Learning course is fifty hours. This includes 10 hours of actual class work to assist participants to get familiarized with the concept of Youth Social entrepreneurship and the process of development of a Social Enterprise plan and 40 hours of field work to serve the society. YES Network Pakistan conducted baseline survey from 126 principals/lead instructors of 126 technical institutions of Punjab. The opinions of principals or lead instructors were obtained to know their current level of knowledge and views about Youth Service, Youth Social Entrepreneurship, Service Learning, Youth Engagement, youth development and the involvement of youth in the community service activities. The findings of the survey revealed that the majority of the participants, that is; 83.3% were not acquainted with the term of Youth Social Entrepreneurship. 86.5% of the participants had no knowledge about the difference between Business Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship. 70.6% of the participants stated that the students are unable to start their own Social Enterprises (or become self-employed) due to lack of money, fear of failure, other interests, burden of work and due to the government obstacles. 65.1% believed that the best resource for the young people to learn how to start a Social Enterprise is through non-profit organizations. 70.6% of the participants believed that the possible ingredients for running a Social Enterprise with success are hard work and determination. The participants mentioned numerous segments which are missing in the curriculum to prepare youth to become self-employed. These include Youth Social Entrepreneurship education, practical experience, Business Management, emerging trends of marketing, social awareness and life skills. The views of the participants reflected the need for
incorporating the subject of Youth Social Entrepreneurship in the curriculum of the technical institutions. Through the induction of Youth Social Entrepreneurship course, the students will learn employability skills, social enterprise development skills, interpersonal skills, life skills, planning skills, management skills, research skills and communication skills and will contribute in enhancing confidence and self-esteem of students to carry out initiatives. (YES Network Pakistan, 2011)
University of Agriculture, Faisalabad: The University of Agriculture, Faisalabad and YES Network Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding in 2010 to provide social entrepreneurship education, skills, infrastructure and linkages to students. The outcome of the partnership is the inclusion of youth social entrepreneurship into two disciplines (population studies and rural sociology).
Work in Progress: It is very unfortunate that university education seldom focuses its attention and imagination on preparing students how to turn a vision into reality and how to design and develop solutions of the most persistent developmental problems. Education is becoming increasingly irrelevant to real issues of society. Students have become objects or passive recipients rather than actors. The education systems in Pakistan are finding it difficult to prepare students for life as they are giving too much focus on the curriculum and theory. It would not be wrong to say that education systems in Pakistan have become self-centered. It is time to address deficiencies in our education system. The educational institutions need to re-think or re-define their role in addressing the challenges being faced by Pakistan. Educational institutions have so much to offer in the shape of human (students, teachers, volunteers and parents) and material (physical infrastructure such as buildings, classrooms, libraries, computer labs, science labs, transports, etc.) resources to address the present challenges. Youth Social Entrepreneurship provides an exciting opportunity to educational institutions to use these resources for both meeting the educational needs of students and addressing serious social problems. In order to fill this huge vacuum, YES Network Pakistan has recognized Youth Social Entrepreneurship as a valuable strategy for preparing youth to become self-reliant and contributing members of the society. YES Network Pakistan has signed MOUs with 25 leading universities of Pakistan to provide young people with opportunities to become Social Entrepreneurs.
The fifth section presents several common ways of creating a rising generation of Social Entrepreneurs.
In order to fill the huge gap existing in the area of facilitating young people to become Social Entrepreneurs, YES Network Pakistan has launched several initiatives to create conditions that can best support young people in unleashing their entrepreneurial talents in developing and implementing social change ideas.
This section describes several initiatives launched by YES Network Pakistan in partnership with local and international organizations to create a rising generation of young Social Entrepreneurs. This section provides key insights to readers about the ways of nourishing, developing, unleashing and sustaining a rising generation of Social Entrepreneurs. The initiatives taken by YES Network Pakistan are described below:
5.1 Social Enterprise Challenge Competition
Social Enterprise Challenge Competition was launched to introduce the concept of Social Entrepreneurship in the technical colleges of Pakistan. The competition provides an opportunity to teachers to develop an understanding about the subject and to create an environment where they can support their students to develop solutions of social problems by sharing their innovative ideas and approaches. The competition was launched in partnership with the British Council in year 2008 and has been in operation since then. The competition was launched to promote creativity, innovation, critical and analytical thinking among young people. The overall objective of the Social Enterprise Challenge Competition is to nurture a new generation of young social entrepreneurs who are change agents and change makers within their communities and the country at large.
Under this competition, YES Network Pakistan carries out a series of activities from sensitizing and engaging representatives (head of technical institutions/principals/senior instructors and teachers) of Technical Vocational Educational Training (TVET) colleges in rolling out the concept of Social Entrepreneurship to providing orientation, training and financial assistance to students. YES Network Pakistan has educated and engaged over 1,400 representatives of technical colleges so far. The students of these technical institutions are provided with an opportunity to participate in the Social Enterprise Challenge Competition every year. Five to ten best ideas of students are selected every year. Students are asked to participate in the competition in the form of a team. Each team of student should not be comprised of less than 3 and more than 5 members.
5.2 Youth Social Enterprise Generator
Youth Social Enterprise Generator project has been launched to introduce and institutionalize the concept of Youth Social Entrepreneurship in the higher education in the year 2011. The project has sensitized, trained and engaged the representatives of over 25 leading Universities of Pakistan in creating a social and physical infrastructure for the promotion of social entrepreneurship among young people. The project has already played an important role in enhancing the development of an institutional culture that fosters creativity and innovation among youth to solve social problems.
5.3 Show Your Creativity Competition
Show Your Creativity Project is launched to promote entrepreneurial spirit among the younger generation of Pakistan. The project is designed to introduce and advance entrepreneurial education within youth-serving institutions. The project inspires students to think creatively and innovatively to make money and make a difference. The project helps students to develop their enterprise skills. Each student is loaned one thousand rupees and encouraged to make a social impact and profit as much as possible through enterprising activities during the course of two weeks. Once the challenge is over, the students are asked to return the original borrowed one thousand rupees, and feel free to keep or donate the profit they have made. Awards and certificates are given for the biggest social investment, the highest financial return and the best business idea. YES Network Pakistan has launched this project in schools, colleges and universities. The project has contributed immensely in changing the mindset of young people.
5.4 Service Learning Program
YES Network Pakistan in collaboration with Catholic Board of Education, Lahore launched the Service Learning program in the leading Catholic Schools of Pakistan to enrich learning process of students, to mainstream students into the development process and to connect theory to practice. It was launched to re-define the role of students in the educational institutions from passive beneficiaries to active citizens that are making efforts to address critical issues being faced by the country. It was designed to re-define the role of teachers from leading the students to facilitating the students in experimenting new ideas. Service learning has a very positive effect on student’s personal development and growth. They have developed a sense of caring and a sense of connectedness with the society. Students of all ages from kindergarten to senior class helped in improving the lives of others in a wide range of areas.
The sixth section examines the challenges for promoting Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
6.1 Absence of Institutional Environment
The promotion of Social Entrepreneurship is not possible without a solid institutional environment which facilitates and motivates people to embark upon a new journey. Institutional environment can only be created if the government recognizes and understands the potential role
social enterprise can play in delivering government’s agenda. The government of Pakistan has recognized the importance of small and medium sized business organizations but has not developed any policy or agenda to put Social Enterprise at the center of its social reform policy. Social enterprise is the fastest growing sector in the world. Many countries have taken concrete steps to establish an enabling environment for the growth of Social Enterprise. A few of these countries are United Kingdom (created a separate legal entity i.e. the community interest company), Italy (social cooperative), Portugal (social solidarity co-operative), Spain (social initiative cooperative), Greece (social co-operative with limited liability), United States of America (the low profit limited liability company) and India (section 25 company).
6.2 Absence of Social Entrepreneurship Education
Social entrepreneurship is still a “new cup of tea” for many educational and technical institutions of the country. Education can be the best source for producing Social Entrepreneurs. There are courses offered on Business Entrepreneurship but there are no examples of specific curriculum on Social Entrepreneurship. It is mainly due to knowledge gap among key stakeholders about the concept of Social Entrepreneurship. Due to this gap in the education and technical institutions, social entrepreneurship sector is still underdeveloped and struggling. This lack of Social Entrepreneurship knowledge presents the major stumbling block in creating a rising generation of Social Entrepreneurs.
6.3 Absence of Government Support
The government support in the field of Social Entrepreneurship is virtually little. It is mainly due to the knowledge gap in the field of Social Entrepreneurship. Considering the social and economic challenges being faced by the country, Social Entrepreneurship could be the most promising strategy to deal with these challenges. There is a dire need to create conditions at both micro and macro levels by the government to pave the way for Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
6.4 Lack of Donors’ Support
Donors and international organizations are playing a very important role in meetings the unmet service needs of our society. There are very few donor and international organizations which are pushing forward the agenda of social entrepreneurship in the country. The concept of Social Entrepreneurship is not new for the public and private organizations but it is also very new for many of the donor and international institutions.
6.5 Lack of Skilled Manpower
Social Enterprises do not have the luxury of hiring the most talented and the most educated people from the society. They have to focus primarily on identifying people from low-income and disadvantaged families with less education or no experience. It takes a lot of time and effort to train these people which in fact presents the biggest challenge as Social Enterprises have to realize their mission in a holistic manner (social, financial and environmental) regularly.
6.6 Social and Cultural Values
Social and cultural values in the rural areas sometimes create problems for Social Enterprises to operate. Due to the mushroom growth of NGOs and charity based organizations in Pakistan, people are very reluctant to pay even a low cost for any services. It reflects the lack of knowledge of the local communities in distinguishing between NGOs and Social Enterprises.
6.7 Little or No Research
It is very unfortunate that there is hardly any data available pertaining to the Social Entrepreneurship field in Pakistan. It is perhaps the reason that Social Entrepreneurship has been facing greater challenges in seeking the greater attention from the different sectors.
6.8 Lack of Financial Support
Lack of financial support is one of the biggest challenges being faced by the Social Entrepreneurs. Very often, the Social Entrepreneurs run their enterprises with their own resources. The reason behind it is the absence of provision of loans on easy conditions from the banks. Since Social Entrepreneurs operate in low or poor market conditions, hence, it is very challenging for them to generate resources from their activities in the beginning.
The main purpose of this article is to gain an understanding about the latest developments in the field of social entrepreneurship in Pakistan. It would not be wrong to say that Social Entrepreneurship as a practice always existed in Pakistan. After achieving independence from Britain in 1947, there have always been problems and problem solvers. Social Entrepreneurship as a concept is introduced recently in Pakistan. The term ‘social entrepreneurship’ is just emerging. It is mainly due to the contributions of several local and international organizations
and institutions. Pakistan provides great platform for Social Entrepreneurship. There is a lot of talent unrealized due to socio-economic environment that hinders the growth of entrepreneurial talent. Pakistan has a huge demographic opportunity in the shape of the presence of a very large youth population which means that a lot of untapped talent is available. If it is properly harnessed and realized, it can accelerate the pace of socio-economic development in the country. Political inputs can play an instrumental role in providing an enabling environment for the promotion of Social Entrepreneurship. There are many strong reasons to promote Social Entrepreneurship among young people of Pakistan. It creates employment for the young people. It helps the government and civil society organizations in taping into the dynamism of young people to find new solutions, ideas and ways of serving the needs of the society.
The spirit of Social Entrepreneurship is desperately needed in the NGO sector as well. Many NGOs in Pakistan are seriously confronting resource scarcity due to ever-increasing funding gap. The future of these NGOs is based on their ability to replace unearned income strategies by other means. Social Entrepreneurship provides a solution to the most pressing issues which is being faced by the NGOs, that is; how to accomplish ongoing sustainable impact. It is high time for the Government of Pakistan to recognize Social Entrepreneurship as a viable strategy to achieve its developmental goals by creating supportive and favorable conditions for people and organizations. Social Entrepreneurship provides an investment mechanism to profitable companies to find new markets and accomplish social mission.
As a new and emerging concept, social entrepreneurship provides great opportunities for future research. This article might give some directions. There is a dire need to raise scholarly interest the field of social entrepreneurship for its advancement and experimentation. Social entrepreneurship is yet to gain same attention given to business entrepreneurship. Many people and organizations treat social entrepreneurship as a sub-category of entrepreneurship, there is a dire need to identify social entrepreneurship as a distinctive domain because it gives higher worth to social value creation.
There are several ways for the encouragement and promotion of Social Entrepreneurship in the country. A few of the ways to embrace the concept of Social Entrepreneurship is given below:
- Converting Government-owned Public Institutions into Social Enterprises
There is a dire need to convert government-owned technical and educational institutions into social enterprises in order to enhance their performance and quality of services. Many of the technical and educational institutions are crumbling down due to poor leadership, curriculum, and ownership and financial cut-downs. Social enterprise can be applied as a transformation and strengthening strategy that can contribute in mission accomplishment and enhancing institutional and financial performance.
- Re-inventing the Role of NGOs
Social Entrepreneurship elements should be strategically incorporated in the mission of NGOs to help them in creating and sustaining social and economic values.
- Social Entrepreneurship Education Programs
There is a dire need to introduce Social Entrepreneurship in the curricula of the educational and technical institutions. It will help young people to get acquainted with social economies through action-oriented projects. Educational and technical institutions need to realize that they are living in absolutely different environment than they were a few years ago. These institutions have to become outward looking. They should not focus only on preparing students to respond to social and economic opportunities but they also need to help young people in creating new social and economic opportunities. They need to provide new learning environment to young people where they can integrate theory and practice.
- Re-defining the Role of the Government
A cricket player might possess an extraordinary talent. His/her contributions would remain unknown to the world of sports if his/her performance is restricted to the courtyard of his/her own house. He/she needs a cricket stadium to practice and showcase his/her talents and abilities. He/she also needs encouragement and support from the concerned authorities so that he/she could play freely with others. Similarly, a Social Entrepreneur regardless of how much creative and innovative he/she may be, cannot function in isolation without the support and encouragement of the government. In the past, the Government of Pakistan had taken several steps to facilitate business entrepreneurship and growth of NGO sector, now the same or even more support is needed from the government to flourish the field of social entrepreneurship so that new and exciting ways of improving the society can be unearthed. The challenges that are faced by the social entrepreneurs (particularly young social entrepreneurs) are: lack of education and opportunities for social entrepreneurship education, lack of financial assistance, lack of institutional support and legal framework and lack of on-going mentoring and support.
- Smart Giving
Donors, private companies and international organizations needs to revisit their priorities and criteria for giving donations and grants to organizations working to address social and economic issues. They need to encourage and support social enterprises which have the ability to create and sustain social impact for a longer period of time.
- Youth-led Social Enterprises
There is a dire need to promote social entrepreneurship among in-school and out-of-school youth to benefit from huge demographic opportunity. Social entrepreneurship will promote innovation and resilience in young people as they will try to find out new and better ways of helping the society. Youth-led social enterprises will provide goods and services to people who are hard-to-
reach and often forgotten. This will result in building and revitalizing communities from inside-out.
- Engagement of Social Entrepreneurs
Pakistan is a home of many social entrepreneurs and renowned social enterprises. These social entrepreneurs should assist in the development and promotion of the social entrepreneurship field. They need to apply network approach to spark a social entrepreneurship revolution in the country.
About the Author
Ali Raza Khan is a proven social entrepreneur, motivational speaker and trainer whose passion is to promote youth as a solution in the society. Ali has endeavored to bring business practices to nonprofit organizations and international development agencies, encouraging their sustainability through earned income, in more than 200 organizations nationwide for over a dozen years. Ali has played a pioneer role in introducing and institutionalizing the concepts of youth service, service learning and youth social entrepreneurship in the country. Ali Raza Khan is the Founder of Youth Engagement Services (YES) Network Pakistan. His nonprofit Youth Engagement Services (YES) Network Pakistan has planted the seeds of youth engagement in the country.. His organization has impacted the lives of several thousand young people.
Ali has won several international awards. He is given the title of “Architect of the Future” by the Waldzell Institute in Austria. He has been selected as one of the top ten young social entrepreneurs under Young Social Enterprise Initiative (YSEI) fellowship of Global Knowledge Partnership. He has also been bestowed with AZM Alishan 2011 Award by the leading media companies of Pakistan. He has served as a consultant, trainer and facilitator for several local and leading international organizations such as ILO, British Council, Population Council, Church World Service, Caritas Pakistan, Sisters of Charity of Jesus & Mary, etc. He has conducted over 300 training workshops for over 1,000 small and medium scale youth driven and youth serving organizations. He has given talks and presentations at the leading international platforms and educational institutions of the world.
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