By Rasheed Khalid
Published Date: Feb 15, 2016
Ahsan Iqbal, the federal minister for planning and development, has said that we have to reduce cost of doing social enterprise business as we need vibrant civil society and private sector to provide ideas that lead our youth to get proper business opportunities with social development approach.
He was addressing a policy symposium jointly organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute and the British Council as chief guest here on Wednesday.
Ahsan said that Pakistan has a great potential for growth of social enterprise sector in the areas of sustainable resources mobilisation, food production, recycling industry, education and health sectors, infrastructural development, design arts, heritage, tourism and sports. He said that in the wake of Pakistan’s growing labour market needs, we would need 15 to 20 million jobs in the next 20 years which we can provide only by adopting out of box approaches such a developing social enterprises so that our youth generates jobs and not seek them.
He said that instead of looking for foreign aid, we should to develop enterprise spirit in our people to address our social problems, empower our communities and contribute to economy and capital.
He said that Vision 2025 provides basis for growth of social enterprise. He hoped that the forthcoming recommendation from this policy symposium and research on development of social enterprise would be action-oriented providing solutions to promote social enterprise in Pakistan.
Marvi Memon, Chair Benazir Income Support Programme, said BISP is very much related to the social entrepreneurship. She said that BISP gives dignity to poorest 2.5 million women of Pakistan meaning of life to them.
Earlier, Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, said that the motive of developing and promoting social enterprise is to bring social change by business and not through business.
He stressed that it is a big departure from Corporate Social Responsibility where businesses promote social development for increasing their profit. The Social Enterprises do business to promote social development and not merely their profit. Reflecting that in the UK, Social Enterprises are run on corporate model, he said that the word “cooperative” has become a big taboo in Pakistan due to some of the scams of the 1980s and 1990s. “This spirit of cooperation needs to be brought back in Pakistan through Social Enterprises,” he continued.
Jim Booth, Deputy Country Director, British Council Pakistan, said our focus is to integrate sectors of education, capacity building, governance and policy engagement into the fold of Social Enterprise. Social Enterprise is relatively a new concept in Pakistan but it is gaining attention because of the challenges it has taken up to resolve. Tristan Ace, Dr Vaqar Ahmad and Dr Sheharyar Khan also spoke on the occasion.