Pakistan Gives Rise to a New Wave of Social Entrepreneurs

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The emergence of social enterprises over the last two decades has driven social innovation and created sustainable and scalable solutions in several parts of the developing world. Social enterprise, a relatively new concept in Pakistan, is rapidly gaining a foothold in various areas of development. The country is pinning its hopes on new social startups to reduce the country’s dependence on aid, and develop innovative and affordable solutions to tackle the challenges of water, energy and construction.

This encouraging development is the subject of a new “Opportunity Pakistan Report” brought out by i-genius, an initiative supporting social entrepreneurs globally. Despite the prevailing social, economic and political challenges in Pakistan, new social enterprises are emerging in the country to build momentum for development, investment and innovation.

A surge in the number of young entrepreneurs in areas such as health, environment and skills is occurring, with young women and men from remote regions of Pakistan coming forward with innovative ideas and promising social business projects. Commission coordinator of i-genius, Shivang Patel, says that they found Pakistan progressing through slow but significant positive reforms, despite the negative media attention that the country usually attracts.

Pharmagen Water is an example of a successful social enterprise in Pakistan, which aims to provide affordable clean drinking water to the economically weaker communities. The enterprise has received financial support from the Acumen Fund. SRE Solutions is another social enterprise offering renewable energy solutions to parts of Pakistan’s energy-deficient areas. The enterprise provides a viable solar alternative to kerosene oil-based lanterns currently being used in most of the remote off-grid rural communities.

Ghonsla is a low-cost construction and engineering enterprise that was established in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Pakistan in 2005, which killed 73,000 people and left millions homeless. The enterprise is providing sustainable, greener insulation for the housing solutions designed to help those impacted by the earthquake. The initial funding for Ghonsla came from Seed, a venture supporting startups and grassroots innovations. Seed’s incubation centers across Pakistan provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs in their initial years of business.

Source: The Guardian

Image Credit: Flickr via DFID - UK Department for International Development