Sunday, April 5, 2009

Social Entrepreneurs Target Pakistan and India

Understanding the need to design for extreme affordability is giving birth to a new generation of entrepreneurs. These are entrepreneurs with a social conscience who are motivated by the desire to do good and do well at the same time. They are finding new ways to empower the poor by satisfying their basic needs for safe water and electricity in emerging markets.

According to Wikipedia definition, a social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change. Unlike a business entrepreneur who typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur assesses success in terms of the impact s/he has on society. While social entrepreneurs often work through nonprofits and citizen groups, many work in the private and governmental sectors.

The main aim of a social entrepreneurship as well as social enterprise is to further social and environmental goals. This need not be incompatible with making a profit, but social entrepreneurs are often non-profits. Social enterprises are for ‘more-than-profit’.

In addition to their inner desire to help others while also helping themselves, what has encouraged such entrepreneurs is the successful penetration of the mobile phones among the poor in India and Pakistan, many of whom subsist on less than a dollar a day. The rapid growth of cell phones among the rural poor in South Asia has shown that even the poorest of the poor are willing to offer several months' earnings for the benefit of connectivity. By doing so, they have demonstrated their potential as consumers of affordable products that offer them real benefits, such as a glass of safe drinking water and a bright source of light at night.

Safe, Clean Water for the Masses

Saafwater, Inc. is a startup helping people in Karachi, Pakistan with access to safe drinking water. The company founders, Sarah Bird, Saira Khwaja and Khalid Saiduddin, emerged as finalists in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 100k Entrepreneurship Competition in 2007, and received $10,000 to put the concept of SaafWater into practice.

The company's first product is SaafWater Daily Capsule - a simple capsule of chlorine solution that can treat one family’s daily supply of drinking water. SaafWater’s mission is to provide affordable clean water to low-income communities in urban areas. Their goal is to create a profitable distribution network that can supply billions of people with clean water.

The company has worked closely with the US Centers for Disease Control’s Safe Water System which has been responsible for pioneering this technology and reaching an estimated 16 million users worldwide. With their help the company has learned from their experiences and to ensure that it meets all the relevant World Health Organization Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality.

Going door-to-door, SaafWater representatives sell daily chlorine capsules, which can be immersed in a family’s water container rendering the supply free of contaminants in 30 minutes. Sales representatives offer a week’s supply for about 30 rupees, the rough equivalent of U.S. 40 cents. SaafWater also plans to launch independent programs with existing NGOs to help create self-sustaining water purification programs throughout Pakistan.

Saafwater's vision is to build and extend this network to include many other life-saving and life-enhancing products such as clean-burning fuels, sanitation, renewable electricity, refrigeration, eye-glasses, multi-vitamins for mothers and children, and construction materials to name but a few.

Bright Light for Night

D.light, founded by two Stanford graduates, marries next-generation light-emitting diodes (LEDs), proprietary power-management tools, and increasingly cheap solar panels. The founders, Nedjip Tozun and Sam Goldman, attended Professor Jim Patell's Stanford Business School class called Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability, highlighted recently by Fortune Magazine.

As a result, D.light is able to offer poor communities an affordable alternative to kerosene, which is ubiquitous but hazardous. The quality of the kerosene lamp light isn't good, it emits pollutants, and it's just plain dangerous. "You travel around these villages, and everyone has a story of a child being burned or a house destroyed by fire," says Tozun, speaking to Fortune by phone from his office in Shenzhen, China. "And yet in some places we found that people were spending 15% to 20% of their income on light." The world's poor spend about $38 billion a year on kerosene for lighting, according to the International Finance Corp.

According to Fortune magazine, the D.light lamps sell for about $25, steep for someone earning $1 per day, but the D.light team quickly found that the quality of light was so good that people with the D.light lamps were able to do more work at night and increase their income. Two families in New Keringa, a village of 47 families in southern India, took the plunge on D.light lamps. Says Tozun: "All of a sudden the two families were able to work at night," mostly weaving banana leaves into plates. "Their average monthly income increased from $12 to $18, and they could save the time spent traveling to buy more kerosene." Within a few days the entire village had sprung for the lights. "These people are great customers if you give them a clear value proposition," Tozun says.

In November, D.light raised $6 million in venture capital funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Garage Technology Ventures, among other venture capital firms, to ramp up production and get its lamps into markets, initially in India and Africa.

Empowering would-be customers is one of the mantras of Patell's class at Stanford. Each year some students, like Goldman and Tozun, take their ideas and try to build businesses. Patell doesn't expect every student to start a company, but he does demand that every product in the class offer poor consumers tools for their own microenterprises. "We want to design things so that a farmer can decide to leave his farm and support his family selling water pumps or drip-irrigation tubing," Patell says. "We want things to be sold at a price that covers the cost of manufacturing and distribution."


The need and the opportunity for social entrepreneurs have never been greater. Both SaafWater and D.light are examples of what the institutions of higher learning can do to encourage such entrepreneurship catering to the needs of the billions of poor people in Africa, Latin America and South Asia who can potentially become a huge new lucrative market. What is needed is for the budding entrepreneurs to recognize such opportunities to offer highly useful and essential products at extremely affordable prices. Educational institutions in Pakistan and India can and should play a leading role to encourage and prepare them to do good and do well, and investors should open their minds to see the great opportunities that lie ahead for them to make good returns on such investments.

Here is a Skoll Foundation video on social entrepreneurship:



Related Links:

Supporting Youth Entrepreneurship

iGenius Goes Big in Pakistan

India's Innovative Social Entrepreneurs

Youth Engagement Services (YES) Network in Pakistan

Water Shortage in Pakistan

United Nations World Water Development Report

Water Resource Management in Pakistan

Water Supply and Sanitation in Pakistan

Light a Candle, Do Not Curse Darkness

China Profile

Safe Drinking water and Hygiene Promotion in Pakistan

UN Millennium Development Goals in Pakistani Village

Orangi Pilot Project

Three Cups of Tea

Volunteerism in America

Dr. Akhtar Hamid Khan's Vision

27 comments:

Moin said...

The problem in Pakistan and many other arid countries is not of making water safe to drink. Most of the time the problem is finding water. Scarcity of water is the issue, not making it potable and safe. Pakistan is confronted with the major issue of bringing in pipes and pumps to get water to the areas where water is not available. This assumes that there are enough reserves of water available to pump it from one place to another. Nowadays there is not enough water in the lakes and rivers for even agriculture. Water management in Pakistan has been very poor since 1947. In all major cities the water distribution infrastructure needs to be revamped to account for the current population. Larger underground pipes and bigger pumps are required in most areas. Some affluent areas ( DHS etc) have improved

Riaz Haq said...

Moin:

Water and sanitation related diseases are responsible for 60% of the total number of child mortality cases in Pakistan, with diarrheal diseases causing deaths of 200,000 under-five years’ children, every year.

So, the problem goes beyond water scarcity. Water safety is a huge issue, in Pak and many other developing nations.

Moin said...

Riaz:

You are right in emphasizing the aspect of water sanitation. It is a two pronged beast. Water availability and water sanitation are both Pakistan's problems.

In Bangladesh where water is abundant and freely available in most areas the main issue is that of water sanitation. I have spent a lot of time in Bangladesh and was back recently to study this issue of water sanitation. Chlorinating water to make it safe does help in lowering diseases but not by much. In my study I found that the fundamental things that have the most impact on the well being of a community and that bear lasting effetcs is personal hygiene, basic training in cleanliness and training in proper dsiposal of garbage.

You know that it is very difficult to maintain personal hygiene without the availability of water.
Water in a container may be chlorinated and safe to drink But if people cannot keep their hands and utensils clean they will keep infecting each other.

Riaz Haq said...

Moin,

There's no one silver bullet. The best way to solve the problem is to address each piece of it. When Pakistan has the highest infant mortality rate in South Asia (99 per 100,000) and diarrhea a known killer of about 200,000 children, one can not argue that clean water issue should not be addressed as a priority. Studies by US CDC involving 16m people in the dev world have shown the effectiveness of chlorine in fighting a lot of stomach ailments common in Pakistan.

Poor sanitation is also a big issue. There is an example of another Pakistani social entrepreneur Akhtar Hamid Khan who has shown that the problem can be addressed by community based efforts. He did the Orangi Pilot Project, whose link I have included in my post, along with links to the issue of water scarcity.

Mahmood Elahi said...

We would like to let you know that D.light Solar products are now available in Pakistan. You can contact us at info@taxila.com.pk for more information.

We, Taxila Services, are the sole distributor and agent for d.light solar products in Pakistan. d.light offers a unique solar light solution that can potentially eliminate the use of kerosene lamps in Pakistan. For a complete overview of our products please visit http://www.dlightdesign.com/.

d.light Design offers revolutionary power and light solutions that are affordable and energy-efficient. Using cutting-edge technology from Silicon Valley, d.light products provide safe and high-quality replacements for kerosene lanterns, emergency lamps as well as other hazardous or unreliable power sources. Through thousands of hours of field research and continuous contact with our customers, we have a deep understanding of our customers needs. An example is the tough durability of our products designed to accommodate heavy handling by our customers in highly variable climates. Our products are currently being sold in India and throughout Africa, with market tests ongoing around the world.

Riaz Haq said...

Anyone who has seen the blockbuster film “Slumdog Millionaire” would remember the “potty scene” where the young Jamal is shown relieving himself in an open pit. The scene caused a lot of adverse reaction in India as unrepresentative of true India. But according to a joint study conducted by the World Health Organization and UNESCO, 665 million Indians, or nearly two-thirds of them defecate in the open. I am not sure if these 665 included people using indoor toilets without plumbing; if it did not, then the number of Indians defecating in an unhygienic manner is even greater.

Dr. Pathak is an Indian social entrepreneur addressing India's sanitation crisis.

He has founded a movement called “Sulabh International” and developed a simple, low-cost toilet which cost approximately Rs. 700 and could be installed anywhere, including villages without any plumbing. This toilet uses only 1.5 liters of water for flushing as against 10 liters by a conventional toilet. The toilet “system” consists of two pits: when the first one fills up, it is closed and the other one is used. The closed toilet dries up in two years when it is ready to be used as fertilizer and for conversion into biogas for heating, cooking, and generating electricity.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/10/fixing-sanitation-crisis-in-india.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a ranking of ease of doing business in South Asia that puts Pakistan well ahead of India:

Bangalore: The business environment in Pakistan and Bangladesh is far better than in India. According to the latest 'Doing Business Index', India's business environment has become tougher during the years compared to other nations.

Economies are ranked from one to 183 on the basis of their regulatory environment being conducive to business operations. All of India's neighbors except Afghanistan have been ranked better. While India is ranked 133, Pakistan is ranked 85th followed by Sri Lanka (105), Bangladesh (119) and Nepal (123).

"India is a consistent reformer for the past many years. A country's rank in the index is an average of 10 indicators, each with 10 percent weight in the index. India increased the number of judges in the specialized debt recovery tribunals, which led to a major removal of blockages. While India reformed in the area of insolvency, other countries reformed in more than one area," World Bank's Senior Strategy Advisor, Dahlia Khalifa told Economic Times explaining why India has been overtaken by other nations.

The 2010 Doing Business Report prepared by World Bank and the International Finance Corporation averages a country's percentile ranking on 10 topics, made up of a variety of indicators. This includes examining a country's business environment in terms of starting a business, dealing with construction permit, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business.

The first place is occupied by Singapore, which is followed by New Zealand, Hong Kong and the U.S.

To see complete rankings and report, click here: http://www.doingbusiness.org/EconomyRankings/"

Riaz Haq said...

Here's traveler-blogger Sean-Paul Kelly talking about lack of sanitation in India:

In my opinion the filth, squalor and all around pollution indicates a marked lack of respect for India by Indians. I don't know how cultural the filth is, but it's really beyond anything I have ever encountered. At times the smells, trash, refuse and excrement are like a garbage dump. Right next door to the Taj Mahal was a pile of trash that smelled so bad, was so foul as to almost ruin the entire Taj experience. Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai to a lesser degree were so very polluted as to make me physically ill. Sinus infections, ear infection, bowels churning was an all to common experience in India. Dung, be it goat, cow or human fecal matter was common on the streets. In major tourist areas filth was everywhere, littering the sidewalks, the roadways, you name it. Toilets in the middle of the road, men urinating and defecating anywhere, in broad daylight. Whole villages are plastic bag wastelands. Roadsides are choked by it. Air quality that can hardly be called quality. Far too much coal and far to few unleaded vehicles on the road. The measure should be how dangerous the air is for one's health, not how good it is. People casually throw trash in the streets, on the roads. The only two cities that could be considered sanitary in my journey were Trivandrum--the capital of Kerala--and Calicut. I don't know why this is. But I can assure you that at some point this pollution will cut into India's productivity, if it already hasn't. The pollution will hobble India's growth path, if that indeed is what the country wants. (Which I personally doubt, as India is far too conservative a country, in the small 'c' sense.)

Riaz Haq said...

Moderated by Saad Khan, a partner at CMEA Capital, there was a social entrepreneurs panel at Open Forum 2010 that featured Salman Khan of Khan Academy, Leila Janah of Samasource, Tabreez Verjee of Kiva, and Misbah Naqvi of Acumen Fund.

The panelists described what they do as social entrepreneurs and what led them to it. Salman Khan started at a hedge fund before he was inspired by a cousin and her friends to create Khan Academy for tutoring math and science via his Youtube channel.

Leila Janah of Samasource went to work for the World Bank in Washington to fight poverty, but she was soon soured by the bank bureaucracy whose focus was on self-interest rather than the interest of the world's poor which it is supposed to serve. Her first day at the World Bank was spent at a seminar advising bank employees on financing a second home. She quit her job to found Samasource, which is a non-profit service that seeks contracts from companies in the West, and slices large contracts into microwork tasks like data entry, software testing, transcription and research outsourced to the poor, but educated, workers abroad.

Tabreez Verjee serves on the board of Kiva, a Silicon valley startup that combines microfinance with the Internet to create a global community of people connected through lending. The company allows lenders to lend amounts as small as $25 and choose who to lend to via the Internet. The funds are disbursed to small entrepreneurs and loans repaid using existing microfiance companies operating in different parts of the world. Kiva is working with Asasah microfinance in Pakistan.

Misabah Naqvi is the business development manager of Acumen fund which invests in social enterprises. She was originally a banker in Pakistan before joining the Acumen Fund. The fund is a business rather than a charity, and puts all of its returns back into the fund to support more social efforts based on sustainability, scale and social impact. In addition to investing in microfinance, the Acumen fund has invested in Saiban which is building low-cost housing in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent HBR article on social entrepreneurship, arguing that US is lagging in this field:

In 2009, William Kamkwamba, a teenager from Malawi, made the rounds on American talk shows and coauthored a best-selling book. The source of his notoriety? A homemade windmill that provided power and running water for his family. Kamkwamba built it from trash, using an old textbook as his only guide.

In the United States, the idea of deploying small-scale windmills had been abandoned as too expensive and horribly inefficient. In Malawi, a teenager had built one spending less money than the average American eighth-grader's weekly allowance.

Kamkwamba's story points to an unrecognized truth of social entrepreneurship and innovation. The United States isn't a leader; it's a laggard.

Consider some of the most important social innovations of the past 20 years. The modern microfinance industry was pioneered in Bangladesh and has spread to virtually every country in the world. The business model that allowed the near-universal penetration of cellular phones into poor communities was born in Bangladesh, as well.

Meanwhile, two innovative ways to use cell phones' ubiquity in poor communities to change the world have emerged from Kenya: M-Pesa, a mobile-to-mobile money-transfer service, has become a model worldwide. And Ushahidi, a technology platform that relies on text messages to guide crisis response, became an important part of the rescue and recovery efforts in Haiti and Chile after the earthquakes there. It's currently being used to track the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

India is the home of world-class innovators like Aravind Eye Hospitals and the education-focused NGO Pratham. The latter has had such success that its teaching approach is being adopted in several African countries.

So how does the U.S. stack up? Compare the negligible impact of One Laptop Per Child to the pioneering role of GrameenPhone in the global mobile phone revolution and the attendant gains in real income. Meanwhile Voxiva, a U.S.-founded social entrepreneurial firm, offers a complex, proprietary system to gather information from the field — a system that can cost more than $1 million to operate. But Ushahidi boasts a simple, nearly free (I just contributed to the $600 fund needed to deploy Ushahidi in Kyrgyzstan) open-source platform that was up and running in Haiti in less than 48 hours after the earthquake there. Finally, a recent report has shown that the most profitable microfranchise operations all originated in the developing world

Sure, there are examples of impressive and effective American social entrepreneurship. But, as these comparisons make clear, most world-changing innovations aren't coming from the United States.

Why? Well, for one thing, we haven't figured out how to train entrepreneurs successfully. The rates of entrepreneurship (measured by self-employment and age of operating businesses) are lower in the United States than in most other countries (even OECD countries). Despite all the money poured into various entrepreneurship-training programs, the failure rate of U.S. entrepreneurs, social or otherwise, has held largely constant for decades.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting excerpt from a recent Newsweek story on "Creativity Crisis' in America:

Researchers say creativity should be taken out of the art room and put into homeroom. The argument that we can’t teach creativity because kids already have too much to learn is a false trade-off. Creativity isn’t about freedom from concrete facts. Rather, fact-finding and deep research are vital stages in the creative process. Scholars argue that current curriculum standards can still be met, if taught in a different way.

To understand exactly what should be done requires first understanding the new story emerging from neuroscience. The lore of pop psychology is that creativity occurs on the right side of the brain. But we now know that if you tried to be creative using only the right side of your brain, it’d be like living with ideas perpetually at the tip of your tongue, just beyond reach.

When you try to solve a problem, you begin by concentrating on obvious facts and familiar solutions, to see if the answer lies there. This is a mostly left-brain stage of attack. If the answer doesn’t come, the right and left hemispheres of the brain activate together. Neural networks on the right side scan remote memories that could be vaguely relevant. A wide range of distant information that is normally tuned out becomes available to the left hemisphere, which searches for unseen patterns, alternative meanings, and high-level abstractions.

Having glimpsed such a connection, the left brain must quickly lock in on it before it escapes. The attention system must radically reverse gears, going from defocused attention to extremely focused attention. In a flash, the brain pulls together these disparate shreds of thought and binds them into a new single idea that enters consciousness. This is the “aha!” moment of insight, often followed by a spark of pleasure as the brain recognizes the novelty of what it’s come up with.

Now the brain must evaluate the idea it just generated. Is it worth pursuing? Creativity requires constant shifting, blender pulses of both divergent thinking and convergent thinking, to combine new information with old and forgotten ideas. Highly creative people are very good at marshaling their brains into bilateral mode, and the more creative they are, the more they dual-activate.

Is this learnable? Well, think of it like basketball. Being tall does help to be a pro basketball player, but the rest of us can still get quite good at the sport through practice. In the same way, there are certain innate features of the brain that make some people naturally prone to divergent thinking. But convergent thinking and focused attention are necessary, too, and those require different neural gifts. Crucially, rapidly shifting between these modes is a top-down function under your mental control. University of New Mexico neuroscientist Rex Jung has concluded that those who diligently practice creative activities learn to recruit their brains’ creative networks quicker and better. A lifetime of consistent habits gradually changes the neurological pattern.

Riaz Haq said...

CK Prahalad's theory on the purchasing power at the 'bottom of the pyramid' (BOP) has set the MBA circles buzzing about the big corp making money off the poor people in India by selling products to them.

Recently, Indian govt tried giving away cell phones to the poor in India who wondered out loud what they'd do with them. They'd rather have food rotting in govt warehouses given away to them so they can fill their hungry stomachs to survive.

Michigan professor Aneel Karnani calls Pralahad's BOP theory "at best a harmless illusion and potentially a dangerous delusion".

His new working paper, Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid: a mirage, really takes late Professor Pralahad to task.

Karnani argues that "the best way for private firms to help eradicate poverty is to invest in upgrading the skills and productivity of the poor, and to help create more employment opportunities for the poor".

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a NY Times report on Khosla's SKS microfinance going public in Mumbai:

MUMBAI, India — Vinod Khosla, the billionaire venture capitalist and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, was already among the world’s richest men when he invested a few years ago in SKS Microfinance, a lender to poor women in India.

But the roaring success of SKS’s recent initial public stock offering in Mumbai has made him richer by about $117 million — money he says he plans to plow back into other ventures that aim to fight poverty while also trying to turn a profit.

And he says he wants to challenge other rich Indians to do more to help their country’s poor.

An Indian transplant to Silicon Valley, Mr. Khosla plans to start a venture capital fund to invest in companies that focus on the poor in India, Africa and elsewhere by providing services like health, energy and education.

By backing businesses that provide education loans or distribute solar panels in villages, he says, he wants to show that commercial entities can better help people in poverty than most nonprofit charitable organizations.

“There needs to be more experiments in building sustainable businesses going after the market for the poor,” he said in a telephone interview from his office in Menlo Park, Calif. “It has to be done in a sustainable way. There is not enough money to be given away in the world to make the poor well off.”

Mr. Khosla’s advocacy of the bootstrap powers of capitalism is part of an increasingly popular school of thought: businesses, not governments or nonprofit groups, should lead the effort to eradicate global poverty.

Some nonprofit experts say commercial social enterprises have significant limitations and pose conflicts of interest. But proponents like Mr. Khosla draw inspiration from the astounding global growth of microfinance — the business of giving small loans to poor entrepreneurs, of which SKS Microfinance is a notable practitioner.

Advocates also find intellectual support for the idea from the work of business management professors like the late C. K. Prahalad, who have argued that large corporations can do well and do good by aiming at people at the so-called bottom of the pyramid.

Besides Mr. Khosla, entrepreneurs like Pierre Omidyar, a co-founder of eBay, and Stephen M. Case, a co-founder of America Online, have started funds with similar aims.

But Mr. Khosla, 55, who moved to the United States from India as a graduate student in 1976, has another motive, too. He wants to goad other rich Indians into giving away more of their wealth.

India’s torrid growth over the last decade has helped enrich many here — Forbes estimates that India now has 69 billionaires, up from seven in 2000 — but only a few have set up large charities, endowments or venture capital funds.

“It surprises me that in India there is not a tradition of large-scale giving and helping to solve social problems and set a social model,” Mr. Khosla said.

Mr. Khosla is not alone in worrying about the state of Indian philanthropy. Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, who was in China last week with the billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett, said Thursday that he and Mr. Buffett might go to India as part of their campaign to get the very rich to give away half their wealth.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's the story of how Acumen's Jacqueline Novogratz got into microfinance, as published by Businessweek:

I was an accidental banker. To please my parents, I went for an interview with Chase Manhattan Bank in 1983. They promised to send me into their offices in more than 40 countries and essentially audit the practices. It was an extraordinary job.

I had an epiphany in Brazil. We had made a $100 million loan to an airline owner who immediately moved the money to the Cayman Islands. Yet I saw all these people in the favelas who were incredibly productive but had no access to capital. I decided to leave Chase to work with a group that wanted me to help create credit systems in Africa.

As I was preparing to leave, though, the COO offered me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work directly with him. He made it clear that, in a few years, I would be able to write my ticket on Wall Street. I was torn. No one wanted me to go to Africa: not my family, my friends, or my employers. But I thought, "If I don't go now, I might never go." So I quit.

I ended up going to Rwanda in the late 1980s to set up a microfinance institution and a bakery. I came back to the U.S. to get an MBA and work at the Rockefeller Foundation before returning in 1996. When I got back to Rwanda, all the women from the bakery had been killed. Of the other women I'd worked with, one was killed in the genocide, another saw her family killed, and another was a perpetrator who was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The aid system was broken. The financial markets alone weren't going to solve the problem. I wanted to invest in entrepreneurs who could see the potential of the very poor. The poor want to produce and consume and solve their own problems. In 2001, I started Acumen as a nonprofit venture capital fund. Instead of giving their money away, philanthropists could invest it in businesses. Now it's a $50 million fund that has leveraged another $200 million of capital and created 35,000 jobs. My dream is to build this into a more powerful asset class. Everything comes at a price. I have to say no to a lot of things I love to do. But we have the potential to help build businesses that change lives.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts from Knowledge at Wharton website:

Ibrahim received a master's degree in economics, an MBA and a PhD in geopolitical strategy at Cambridge University. He is currently a research scholar at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and has been named an "emerging global leader" by Yale University's World Fellows Program and an "ideas scholar" at the recent Aspen Ideas Festival. He also was a paratrooper in the British Army and speaks four languages --- English, Arabic, Punjabi and Urdu.

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Arabic Knowledge@Wharton: What did Pakistan's government ask you to do in terms of economic strategy?

Azeem Ibrahim: My friend, Dr. Nadeem-Ul-Haq, who was a key economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), asked me to help him out. We were talking about setting up the first think tank in Pakistan, specifically to concentrate on economic development. We had a number of discussions about it before he left for Pakistan. A few days later, he called me [in May] and said, "Listen, I've just been appointed head of the Planning Commission and I'd like you to be a key adviser." We had a couple more discussions about it, and we thought the focus should be to encourage a more entrepreneurial and innovative environment in Pakistan. I thought I would give him some advice and that would be it, but what he had in mind was a little more ambitious. He said, "We have to write a whole new national economic strategy from a blank slate."
---------
Arabic Knowledge@Wharton: You mentioned in other interviews six main points you envision for Pakistan's economic recovery, including identifying people with business acumen. Can you expand on that point and tell me about the other points?

Ibrahim: I believe entrepreneurs are people who have the imagination to recognize a new product, process or service, and possess the ability to make their ideas happen. Entrepreneurs, and the new businesses they create, are the engines of economic growth and job creation, which in turn underpin political stability and the growth of a civil society.

To that end, we can identify experienced and potential entrepreneurs through schools, colleges, science and technology institutes, and civic organizations. We would seek entrepreneurs from "no-tech" and "low-tech" businesses, like agriculture, handicrafts and tourism, as well as high-tech businesses. We would work closely with development agencies, which have access to many "feeder" organizations to identify entrepreneurs.

The second point is to train and encourage entrepreneurs through domestic and international programs, varying from two-week boot camps to multi-month immersion programs. Third, we want to help develop networking, mentoring, incubation and acceleration programs. One example would be to establish an entrepreneur-in-residence program, which would include entrepreneurs from the diaspora who are familiar with Pakistani language, culture and business. Also, we'd like to establish a web-based backbone, with mentor-mentee matching as well as a contacts list for services, similar to Craigslist.

Funding, of course, is important, and that is my fourth point. We want to engage private sources of finance to provide funding for start-up ventures, including the creation of angel investor networks. We want to find the best possible partners to mentor young entrepreneurs and help them develop funding strategies and learn how to make the best possible presentations to potential funders or investors.

My fifth point is to combine diplomatic advocacy and foreign assistance to reform financial, legal, policy and regulatory impediments to private-sector development, and help entrepreneurs get access to early-stage capital.

Lastly, we want to promote the accomplishments of local entrepreneurs, who can be role models. .....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Christian Science Monitor report about inexpensive health insurance for the poor in Pakistan:

Karachi, Pakistan

Wilayat Shah, a security guard at the luxury Avari Towers Hotel in Karachi, Pakistan, was rushed to a hospital last December after experiencing headaches and losing consciousness at work.

Unlike the wealthy patrons of the hotel he guarded, the father of four wouldn't ordinarily have had access to top-notch medical treatment.

But thanks to a health-care program run by the nonprofit Naya Jeevan (New Life), Mr. Shah, who earns just $150 a month, paid nothing for the MRI scans and treatment he received, worth some $1,400. He now has returned to work.

Shah is one of some 13,000 low-income workers in Pakistan signed on to the Naya Jeevan program. It was founded in 2007 by surgeon-turned-social entrepreneur Asher Hasan and began operating in Pakistan last summer.

"In Pakistan, privileged people can afford their care," Dr. Hasan explains. "The poor, who work alongside the rich, were just excluded from the system."

Hasan left a successful career in the United States to return to Pakistan, where he had spent his formative years, on a mission to provide affordable health care to low-income workers.

He lived a "clichéd life," he says, with a résumé that includes an MBA from New York University, research work at Harvard Medical School, and a stint as a senior executive at a California-based pharmaceutical company.

"I knew there was much more I could be doing in Pakistan," Hasan says.

By working with insurance companies to spread risk across clusters of low-income workers, who typically earn less than $200 a month, Naya Jeevan opens up high-quality health care to a segment of the population that couldn't afford it before.

Each participant pays in about $1.80 per month. The maximum catastrophic payout is $1,800 per year – the average cost of heart bypass surgery at a good private hospital in Pakistan, Hasan says.

That low monthly premium, which he calculates as roughly 2.1 percent of the monthly income of the working poor, as well as the absence of deductibles and copayments, is "commendable," says Farasat Bokhari, a Pakistani-American health economist at King's College in London.

"More impressive is the fact that they have contracts with a large number of private hospitals, which are presumably of higher quality compared with the public hospitals, which are severely underfunded," Mr. Bokhari says.

Last year, the Pakistani government spent an average of $18 per person for health care, one of the consequences of its struggle to deal with an ongoing battle against Islamist insurgents on its western border and the aftermath of last year's catastrophic floods.
-----
Hasan has first-hand experience. Born in London into a middle-class family, his mother moved him and his three sisters to Karachi following the death of their father in 1983. On a trip back to Britain, Hasan's mother suffered a nervous breakdown. She had no contact with her children for the next three years.

During this time, Hasan grew close to the children of his maid. While his education was provided for by the colleagues and friends of his late father, his maid was unable to tap any wealthy connections when her father fell seriously ill, forcing her to withdraw her children from school.

"I realized that a single catastrophic event can lead to the perpetuation of the cycle of poverty," he says. "We had to create a system which could break that cycle."
---------
The next step after that, he says, will be to work with other major institutions to sign up 2.5 million Pakistanis and lobby the federal government to set up a similar program of private health-care insurance nationwide.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report about Dawood Foundation encouraging entrepreneurship in Pakistan:

KARACHI - Six of the most dynamic women entrepreneurs talked about their experiences, triumphs and losses before a spell-bound audience at the second Ladiesfund Entrepreneurship Conference (LEC) hosted by the Dawood Global Foundation (DGF) at the Avari Towers.
The event was organised in partnership with the Higher Education Commission, the Avari Group, the Dawood Capital Management, and over 60 partners, sponsors and supporters. The audience was diverse and consisted of Very Important Persons, top entrepreneurs, budding entrepreneurs, journalists and enthusiastic university students.
The Ladiesfund was established in 2007 as an initiative to provide financial security to women and to promote and train women entrepreneurs. It aims to integrate the entrepreneurial needs based on the economic and social aspects of the local communities with respect to greater women participation in the workforce.
The conference started with recitation of the Holy Quran, followed by a welcome address by TU Dawood with an introduction to virtual businesses and how they are a fabulous option for women entrepreneurs. This was followed by a speech from British Deputy High Commissioner Francis Campbell, who was the chief guest. He spoke on the importance of entrepreneurship in Pakistan and how much it could help boost our economy.
To educate the budding entrepreneurs and students in the audience about what entrepreneurship really is, there was a short academic presentation by Avari Karachi General Manager Gordon Gorman. Then followed the first panel of the conference, which consisted of Mehrbano Sethi of Luscious Cosmetics, Ayaz Khan of Okra, and Wajeeha Malik of Olive Soap.
And as a pleasant surprise for the audience, Rohail Hyatt, the powerhouse behind the famous Coke Studio, joined the panel. This panel focused on the basics of entrepreneurship. They answered questions about the realities on entrepreneurship and what made them decide to become entrepreneurs.
The second panel comprised architect Naheed Mashooqullah, designer Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, and Naila Naqvi of Pie in the Sky and Chatterbox. They shared the inside scoop on how their brands tipped to being the best in their industries, despite facing the problems that all Pakistani entrepreneurs face, like electricity, human resources, etc.
They talked about expanding businesses, and whether expanding through other people, platforms or on your own is a better option. This was followed by a question-answer session. At the end was an art auction by Mehreen Ilahi of the Majmua Art Gallery to raise funds for the DGF, followed by a lucky draw conducted by the chief guest.
The conference was moderated and hosted by Sidra Iqbal. TU Dawood finally presented the plaques to the chief guest and panellists. The event concluded with thanking all the sponsors, supporters, students, event catalysts, volunteers and ambassadors. Funds raised from the LEC 2011 are audited by Ernst & Young Ford Rhodes Sidat Hyder, and go toward Ladiesfund Fellowships & Scholarships as well as women development initiatives.


http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/09/women-entrepreneurs-discuss-experiences-triumphs-and-losses/

Riaz Haq said...

A big donor is giving $50 million to Stanford to help promote innovation and entrepreneurship for alleviating poverty in the developing world. Here are some excerpts from a Mercury News story:



A Silicon Valley venture capitalist has donated $100 million to Stanford University's Graduate School of Business to establish a new institute to promote entrepreneurship in developing countries and eventually alleviate poverty.



Robert King, along with his wife, Dorothy, also gave a second gift to the entire university, $50 million in matching funds to encourage more donations to Stanford. The couple's gift is the second-largest publicly disclosed single donation to the school, behind a $400 million donation in 2001 by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.



---------------


"The institute will be about sponsoring and creating entrepreneurial activity in developing economies," said Robert King, 76, who founded Peninsula Capital in Menlo Park. "Stanford is in an absolutely leading position to do that."



The Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies will be devoted to research, education and on-the-ground support to help entrepreneurs innovate and grow their businesses. Students and faculty will travel abroad to help businesses overcome obstacles to growth. The institute also will provide formal courses for entrepreneurs and nonprofit employees overseas.

----------------

The Kings say the inspiration for their philanthropy grew from hosting foreign students while they attended Stanford, a more than four-decade experience that underscored the importance of the link between education and entrepreneurship. It also led to a successful investment by Robert King, who provided seed money for China's giant search engine, Baidu, after he met the company's co-founders, Eric Xu and Robin Li, through one of the couple's home-stay students more than a decade ago.



"If anyone knows the value of encouraging entrepreneurship in the developing world, it's Bob King," Li said in an email statement. "Bob took a big chance on Baidu in our earliest days, investing in a Chinese search engine at a time when China's Internet was still in its infancy. I'm sure that this generous endowment will help create some great business leaders in the developing world."



The institute will build on work Stanford students and faculty already are engaged in through a collaboration of the business school and the university's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design in which products and business models are created for the developing world.



One venture to emerge from this work is d.light, a company creating products for people without access to reliable electricity. The institute will dispatch students and faculty members to work with overseas businesses and NGOs, or nongovernment organizations, identified as having great promise by other organizations.



---------------


"If their research is focused on Guatemala, we will send them there," Lee said.



The university is beginning the process to hire three tenure-track professors to fill research positions in the institute. They will join four current Stanford professors, Saloner said.



The Kings, who are active philanthropists, also founded the Thrive Foundation for Youth, which supports research on youth development and organizations that work with young people.


....................




http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_19262908

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from Forbes cover story (Dec 19, 2011) on venture money for Pak entrepreneurs:

Novogratz plays the role of auditor because, as CEO and founder of the Acumen Fund, helping people starts with financial due diligence. In April Acumen sank $1.9 million into the bank (National Rural Support Programme Bank in Pakistan) in exchange for an 18% stake, one small investment in a decadelong experiment in charitable giving. Instead of shoveling aid dollars to causes or governments that give away life-­sustaining goods and services, Acumen espouses investing money wisely in small-time entrepreneurs in the developing world who strive to solve problems, from mosquito netting to bottled water to affordable housing. It’s a new twist on the old adage about teaching a man to fish, except that Novogratz wants to build an entire fish market.
------------
Acumen has given Pakistani farmers the ability to access cash at credit card rates, versus the loan shark terms of before—a staggering 125,000 clients have tapped the bank for $30 million in new credit this year. Novogratz’s infusion has also allowed the bank to take deposits for the first time, introducing the idea of savings, and 6% interest rates, to a community that has been locked in poverty for centuries. Since April 10,000 farmers have deposited $7 million in the bank, which of course has resulted in yet more loans.
----------
Weeks later Novogratz fortuitously got two anonymous gifts of $500,000 each and took her first trip to Pakistan in January 2002. Acumen has since invested $13 million there in 12 businesses: Ansaar Management Co. (affordable housing), Kashf Foundation (microlending to women) and Micro Drip (agricultural irrigation), among them. She has also collected $2.7 million from 40 Pakistani donors and traveled to that country 20 times, turning one of the most volatile, anti-American populations into a vibrant experiment in alleviating poverty.
-------------
That’s why I find myself in a rural village 10 miles outside the city of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city. Novogratz has come to check on another investment—and to collect the precious data she hopes to use in new fundraising. Here on 20 acres, Saiban, a nonprofit developer, has built homes for an eventual 450 Pakistani families, most of whom earn $2 to $4 a day. The $4,000 units are 85% occupied. You see the occasional motorcycle parked in front, where a few women mill about, talking or hanging laundry.
-----------
These aren’t the answers Novogratz is fishing for. She wants to hear examples of people using their homes as collateral to get college loans for their children or amassing a better dowry for their daughters so they can marry into a more prosperous family. She wraps up the meeting. “So, the next time I come, you’re going to have some good metrics for me? ’Cause this is my challenge for the world.” Someone says, “Inshallah [God willing].”

Novogratz smiles, but shakes her head: “Not inshallah. We’re going to do it!”
....


http://www.forbes.com/sites/helencoster/2011/11/30/novogratz/4/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's part 1 of National Geographic story about Pakistan's heartland of Punjab:

The fertile alluvium deposited by the mighty Indus river and its tributaries in Pakistan have given the country’s demographic heartland of Punjab an agrarian edge. Yet, errant canal planning and over-pumping from tube-wells have degraded vast tracts of land. Salinity and water-logging afflicts around 6.3 million hectares of land and an additional 4,000 hectare of land gets affected every year (estimates from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, November 2011). Climate change and conflicts over hydroelectric impoundment infrastructure have also made the arable lands of the country further vulnerable to flooding, as we saw in the epic floods of 2010 when an estimated 20 million people were displaced.

Amidst all these challenges to the farming economy of the country, there are glimmers of hope that Pakistan’s elite are trying to reconnect with the land in sincere and innovative ways. During my last trip to Lahore – the capital of Punjab province and Pakistan’s second-largest city (after Karachi), I was heartened to see urbanites retreating to farms in the surrounding countryside. Previously such farms were merely ornamental playgrounds of wealthy families but now there is a growing interest in these ranks to reconnect with the earth for societal good.

Zacky Farms, just outside Lahore, is the brainchild of Zafar Khan, a Caltech-educated software engineer who runs one of the most successful information technology companies in Pakistan named Sofizar. What started off as a recreational venture is now a side-business supplying sustainably produced organic milk, vegetables and meat to nearby Lahore suburbs. The farm is modeled on a cyclical model of minimal wastes and multiple product usage. The cows are fed pesticide-free oats, clover and grass and their manure is used to fuela biogas plant which runs the dairy facility. In an era of electricity load-shedding, such an alternative source of energy at a local industrial scale is immensely valuable to replicate as a development path. The residue of the biogas is used to fertigate the fodder fields and vegetable tunnels, which along with green manuring obviates the use of fertilizers. Free-range chickens grace the fields and there is even a fish farm on site. Zafar and his Ukrainian-born wife are committed to sharing their experiences with other farming entrepreneurs in the country.

Further south in a more rural and remote part of Punjab, famed writer and erstwhile lawyer, Daniyal Mueenudin, maintains a mid-size farm which is exemplifying other kinds of innovations. The farm does not boast ecological farming practices, apart from tunnel farming that can help with land conservation and humidity control. However, Daniyal has changed the social landscape of his area through implementing a “living wage” for all his employees. Noting the high level of inequality in Pakistan’s hinterland, the Yale-educated former director of the university’s Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, is practicing what he preached. He also owns a farm in Wisconsin and could have a comfortable life in the States but his social obligations keep him ensconced in Pakistan for most of the year.....


http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/23/farming-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's part 2 of National Geographic story about Pakistan's heartland of Punjab:

...Further south in a more rural and remote part of Punjab, famed writer and erstwhile lawyer, Daniyal Mueenudin, maintains a mid-size farm which is exemplifying other kinds of innovations. The farm does not boast ecological farming practices, apart from tunnel farming that can help with land conservation and humidity control. However, Daniyal has changed the social landscape of his area through implementing a “living wage” for all his employees. Noting the high level of inequality in Pakistan’s hinterland, the Yale-educated former director of the university’s Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, is practicing what he preached. He also owns a farm in Wisconsin and could have a comfortable life in the States but his social obligations keep him ensconced in Pakistan for most of the year.

Raising the wage several-fold for works and farm manager, and also offering bonus incentives for performance, has led to positive competition that can help to erode the feudal levels of income disparity which exist in this part of Pakistan. At the same time, Daniyal is also committed to providing new livelihood paths for the agrarian workers as automation reduces farm employment in some areas. He has has fully funded a school and provided a merit-based scholarship for advanced degrees to students from the nearby village. One of the children from this school (the first in his family to even go to school) is now making his way through medical school in Lahore!

Zafar and Daniyal’s stories of commitment to constructive farming for social and ecological good may appear to be outliers but they are catching on and provide hope to a country which is all too often shadowed by despair. In the suburbs of Islamabad, tax incentives and planning rules to encourage farming by urbanites are leading to a growing culture of reconnecting with the land in residential farms. In rural areas, the disaster caused by the floods of 2010 brought forth numerous aid agencies with new ideas for sustainable farming. The Pakistani diaspora, often known in the West for professions ranging from taxi-driving to engineering, may well find opportunities for reconnecting to their land in far more literal ways. With growing commitment from land-owners it just might be possible to use the existential shock of recent natural disasters that have befallen the country into a proverbial opportunity for positive change.


http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/23/farming-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Energy Matters report on solar lights for flood affected villagers in Pakistan:

A cheap Australian-designed solar light is changing lives in developing nations, including 80,000 refugees in Pakistan still struggling to rebuild after the country suffered devastating floods a year ago.

As we've reported before, the adverse effects caused by the estimated one billion people living off the grid in poor countries who use kerosene lamps for lighting often outweigh their benefits.

Kerosene can account for a third of a family’s monthly income and toxic fumes from the lamps, which are often included in aid packages, can cause a number of illnesses. Soot and carbon dioxide created when burning kerosene also adds to the world's carbon emission woes.

Recognising the problem, Melbourne inventor Shane Thatcher founded illumination Solar in 2010, and the Mandarin Ultra solar light was born.

The Mandarin Ultra can provide up to four times more light than a kerosene lamp from 12 super-bright LEDs, illuminating a room for up to eight hours on a full charge, which is sourced by exposing the Ultra’s back solar panel to sunlight for six hours or more.

At a cost of less than $10 per unit, the Mandarin Ultra is touted to be the cheapest, quality solar light in the world. It costs a fraction of competing designs because it was designed with the income level of the target customer and the generation of UN accredited carbon credits in mind.

"What makes the lights affordable is the generation of carbon credits as the lights are sold and used. We worked with our alliance partner, CarbonSoft (a Standard Bank joint venture) on the complex accreditation program," says Liz Aitken, illumination’s CFO.

The governments of Britain, the USA, Japan and the EU have all bought the new lights and supplied them to refugees via the International Organisation for Migration.

"We created this light for the billion people who live off the grid and survive on less than a dollar a day. Buying fuel for a kerosene lamp can take a third of their income, the kerosene fumes are polluting, and the lanterns often start fires," Thatcher says.


http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3098

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of a David Brooks' NY Times column on why political participation is important for idealistic youth:

Often they are bursting with enthusiasm for some social entrepreneurship project: making a cheap water-purification system, starting a company that will empower Rwandan women by selling their crafts in boutiques around the world.

These people are refreshingly uncynical. Their hip service ethos is setting the moral tone for the age. Idealistic and uplifting, their worldview is spread by enlightened advertising campaigns, from Bennetton years ago to everything Apple has ever done.

It’s hard not to feel inspired by all these idealists, but their service religion does have some shortcomings. In the first place, many of these social entrepreneurs think they can evade politics. They have little faith in the political process and believe that real change happens on the ground beneath it.

That’s a delusion. You can cram all the nongovernmental organizations you want into a country, but if there is no rule of law and if the ruling class is predatory then your achievements won’t add up to much.

Furthermore, important issues always spark disagreement. Unless there is a healthy political process to resolve disputes, the ensuing hatred and conflict will destroy everything the altruists are trying to build.

There’s little social progress without political progress. Unfortunately, many of today’s young activists are really good at thinking locally and globally, but not as good at thinking nationally and regionally.

Second, the prevailing service religion underestimates the problem of disorder. Many of the activists talk as if the world can be healed if we could only insert more care, compassion and resources into it.

History is not kind to this assumption. Most poverty and suffering — whether in a country, a family or a person — flows from disorganization. A stable social order is an artificial accomplishment, the result of an accumulation of habits, hectoring, moral stricture and physical coercion. Once order is dissolved, it takes hard measures to restore it.

Yet one rarely hears social entrepreneurs talk about professional policing, honest courts or strict standards of behavior; it’s more uplifting to talk about microloans and sustainable agriculture.

In short, there’s only so much good you can do unless you are willing to confront corruption, venality and disorder head-on. So if I could, presumptuously, recommend a reading list to help these activists fill in the gaps in the prevailing service ethos, I’d start with the novels of Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler, or at least the movies based on them.

The noir heroes like Sam Spade in “The Maltese Falcon” served as models for a generation of Americans, and they put the focus squarely on venality, corruption and disorder and how you should behave in the face of it.

A noir hero is a moral realist. He assumes that everybody is dappled with virtue and vice, especially himself. He makes no social-class distinction and only provisional moral distinctions between the private eyes like himself and the criminals he pursues. The assumption in a Hammett book is that the good guy has a spotty past, does spotty things and that the private eye and the criminal are two sides to the same personality.

He (or she — the women in these stories follow the same code) adopts a layered personality. He hardens himself on the outside in order to protect whatever is left of the finer self within.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/opinion/brooks-sam-spade-at-starbucks.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of Daily Mail report on Dr. Hasnat Khan who dated Princess Diana now volunteering in Pakistan, following in the footsteps of plastic surgeon Dr. Jawad of "Saving Face" fame:

The backwater in Pakistan for which Hasnat Khan will leave Britain couldn’t be further removed from the glamour of his London life and his Kensington Palace liaisons with Princess Diana.

But his work there will at last fulfil a dream that he and Diana once shared – to help those in need.

As head of cardiac surgery in the first charity-run hospital of its kind in Pakistan, Dr Khan will transform lives and communities.

The Abdul Razzaq Medical Trust hospital, in Badlote village, will treat for free rural patients too poor to afford even the transport fares to a hospital in the nearest town, let alone surgery costs.

Those patients will include children suffering rheumatic fever, which leaves many with narrowed arteries to the heart which become fatal if untreated.

Even for the few families who can afford surgery, waiting lists for treatment at the nearest heart hospital are two years. Most have no choice but to watch their children weaken and die.

Every time Dr Khan visits his parents in the nearby town of Jhelum, a queue of patients forms outside the house to seek his help, many of them poor families with desperately ill children.

‘They ring my mother to find out when I am coming home,’ he said.

He recalled a nine-year-old boy who came to see him with his father, with arteries so narrowed Dr Khan realised he would not survive long.

‘I said to his father, “I can’t believe he has got to this stage and you haven’t taken him to hospital,” ’ he said. ‘He told me he had taken him to hospital but it was going to cost 250,000 Rupees (£171) for an operation and there was no way he could afford it.

‘So he just left it, knowing the boy was going to die soon. He was such a happy kid. He was still running about and he had no idea what was going on.

‘I felt helpless. All I had was a stethoscope. I couldn’t even give him the money for the operation because it was too late for him to be operated on. He wouldn’t have survived the surgery.’

As he recounted the case, Dr Khan phoned a friend in Jhelum to find out if the boy was still alive. An hour later, the call came back with the news that first the boy and then his father had died.

The hospital where Dr Khan’s heart unit will be based is the first charitable cardiology unit in Pakistan. He is setting it up with fellow cardiologist Dr Azhar Kayani, director of medicine for the Pakistan Armed Forces and the Pakistani president’s personal physician.

Dr Kayani, who grew up in Badlote and studied with Dr Khan in Lahore, said the hospital would cost the equivalent of £1 million and should open before the end of the year. It is named after his father.

Volunteers from Basildon Hospital in Essex, where Dr Khan works, are helping the fundraising drive for the unit and will help train doctors and nurses. They have also helped find donated equipment from other NHS hospitals.

Describing the life that awaits him in Pakistan, he said: ‘If you look out from the hospital you see open countryside with cows and camels. There are no taxis or cars or buses. People walk for miles and miles just to see someone.

‘It is very simple to live here. My [family] home is just down the road so I will have no rent to pay.

‘This unit is a dream come true. It is very satisfying. Of course I find my work in England satisfying but my work there is also routine. To come here and to build something from scratch is very different.’..


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2143555/Phone-hacking-Princess-Dianas-lover-Hasnat-Khan-victim.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Guardian report on social entrepreneurship in Pakistan:

The social enterprise landscape in Pakistan is nascent but fast-growing. From diverse sectors ranging from dairy farms to educational hubs to micro drip irrigation, early-stage enterprises have the potential of achieving hybrid financial return and social impact. Crucially, they are attracting interest from impact investors and business angels alike.

But how can these entrepreneurs be better financed, nurtured and trained?

Crucially, funding for small enterprises should meet the specific needs of the entrepreneur from seed financing to venture capital to growth equity. Social entrepreneurs need financial, but also non-financial, support such as mentoring, implementation guidance, and skills training development. Business school 'accelerator' programs and incubator hubs, which aim to accelerate the development of successful enterprises through such support mechanisms, combined with strong policy frameworks, can help create a long-term, self-sustaining ecosystem.

A report launched today by the Economic Policy Group (EPG) explores how incubator hubs can unlock the innovation potential of Pakistan's social entrepreneurs.

Successful incubator models already exist in some of Pakistan's premier business schools. The country's top business school, the IBA in Karachi, has in fact launched a partnership with Invest2Innovate (i2i), a social impact intermediary, to fast track the best entrepreneurs through its i2i Accelerator, a four-month program providing access to quality entrepreneurship education, skills, and opportunities.

"The IBA-i2i partnership helps start-ups who have passion and ability, but not the resources, to start their own businesses. It is a necessary step for growing and scaling viable businesses in the Pakistani market," says Kalsoom Lakhani, founder of i2i.

Other independent incubators across Pakistan, such as the Pasha Social Innovation Fund and Women's Business Incubation Centre, work with entrepreneurs across demographic segments in both rural and urban areas. The rise in popularity of these players is largely due to their ability to harness technology and digital media as communication platforms to empower entrepreneurs.

In the northern areas of Pakistan, where honey is one of the main agricultural commodities, Hashoo Foundation's Honeybee Project provided women beekeepers with beehives, as well as the associated training programmes to transfer this specialised skill-set to the wider community.
------------
According to Dr Iman Bibars, regional director of Ashoka Arab World, "creating awareness for the potential of entrepreneurship among policymakers, relevant institutions and the public at large is essential to help establish an enabling environment that social entrepreneurs can flourish in."

On a macro level, the investment in human talent and institutions will raise both investor confidence and entrepreneurial confidence in the country. By changing minsets through incubator hubs, education, mentoring and training programmes, a strong enabling environment for social entrepreneurship can be fostered in Pakistan.


http://socialenterprise.guardian.co.uk/social-enterprise-network/2013/feb/07/pakistan-social-entrepreneurs-innovation-potential

Riaz Haq said...

The term social enterprise may be relatively new in Pakistan but it is gaining popularity in its areas of development.

While it may be an unfamiliar concept for many engaged in local grassroots businesses they can nevertheless see the potential of engaging in ventures which have a social impact.

According to the Opportunity Pakistan Report – produced by i-genius, an initiative supporting social entrepreneurs worldwide – despite the country’s social and political unrest, it offers opportunities for investment and innovation.

“Countries experiencing transition are fertile places for new ideas to thrive”, said Shivang Patel, commission coordinator of i-genius. “Despite media attention in the west on all things bad in the region we found a country progressing through slow but significant positive reforms. There is considerable untapped potential for social businesses”.

A new wave of creative and confident young entrepreneurs has emerged developing innovative start ups in areas such as environment, health and skills. Scores of young women and men from remote areas of Pakistan are becoming social entrepreneurs.

A longstanding lack of investment in Pakistan’s public sector has prompted local business leaders to invest in ideas which tackle issues such as water and sanitation problems as well as those which can address its energy and environmental concerns.

One such example is Pharmagen Water. Established in 2007,it aims to provide poor communities in Pakistan’s second largest city, Lahore, with affordable clean and purified drinking water. It is supported by the Acumen, which invests in entrepreneurs and creates venture capital which can provide solutions to causes of poverty.

Another business offering a solution to parts of Pakistan’s energy strapped areas is SRE Solutions. Established just last year with Acumen’s support it offers to harness solar energy for off-grid customers in districts of Punjab and Khayber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

Similarly a low-cost engineering and construction enterprise, Ghonsla, was set up in the aftermath of Pakistan’s devastating earthquake in 2005. With 73,000 people killed and large parts of its cities and villages destroyed in the north by the disaster, the plight of 2.5 million people left homeless hung in the balance

The initial funding for Ghonsla’s pilot project came from Seed, Social Entrepreneurship and Equity Development, a venture which supports startups and grassroots innovations.

Its incubation centres in Pakistan provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs in their early years of startup.

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/oct/10/social-enterprise-is-an-emerging-force-in-pakistan

http://www.i-genius.org/

Riaz Haq said...

Opportunity Pakistan Report by i-genius commission on social entrepreneurship:

In September 2013, fifteen people (Commissioners) from Australia, Italy, Pakistan and the United Kingdom, embarked on a journey to a country which for many was an entirely new experience. The aim was to discover the true story of a country which much has been written about but few, outsiders at least, have understood. The prism of this journey was social entrepreneurship – a form of business whereby the initiators explicitly seek to develop businesses to achieve a social or environmental benefit.

This Report seeks to articulate what the Commission discovered. Yes, it illustrates the many problems facing Pakistan but as any entrepreneur - social or otherwise - knows, such problems represent opportunities.
Pakistan’s problems present Pakistan with opportunities. Pakistan is a highly complex country. No body of people, however well intentioned, can hope to capture the magnitude of this complexity in a short visit of several days. But this, we trust, is an
authentic and considered portrayal of what we found.
All members of the Commission were agreed, Pakistan is a land of opportunity
---------

The Commission, convened by i-genius, comprising 15 members from UK, Italy, Australia and Pakistan,
visited Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Punjab to ascertain the opportunities and challenges facing the
development of social entrepreneurship and innovation. In understanding its work, the Commission was
mindful of the positive changes taking place such as the historic transfer of power from one
democratically elected government to another, the talent residing amongst young people, the growing
empowerment of women and the long tradition of social giving.
The Commission was impressed by the optimism and resilience of all those it encountered in both urban
and rural communities, but it does not underestimate the enormous hurdles Pakistan faces in
overcoming corruption and division within its society, which are the primary barriers to fulfilling its
potential.
Social entrepreneurs are people who create businesses to promote social or environmental
improvement. The agenda for social innovation and entrepreneurship in Pakistan and beyond is to build
sustainable businesses and institutions for all the people of Pakistan.
The guide for all stakeholders who desire a prosperous and inclusive economy should be to make easier
the journey of those who desire to improve their country. The commission believes Pakistan has
considerable untapped potential amongst all sections of society which needs to be recognised and
supported.
A full report will be published in the coming weeks which will include recommendations for political
leaders, corporations, NGOs, finance and by specific sections of society including the wealthy elite. The
Commission encourages relevant government ministries to integrate social entrepreneurship and
innovation into government policy. It is willing to contribute to this process by sharing better practice
from other parts of the world.


http://www.i-genius.org/images/Opportunity-Pakistan-Final-Report.pdf