Grants, incubators and innovation: a snapshot of social enterprise activity in Pakistan

Research reports and studies
December 2015
Bushra Ali and Emily Darko
As their name suggests, social enterprises are businesses that seek to achieve social impact, often in tandem with financial returns. The social enterprise sector is growing rapidly in developing countries, largely driven by the push for more sustainability and accountability in the pursuit of socio-economic development. While there is no universally accepted definition of the term ‘social enterprise’ (with few countries having yet adopted a definition or created a legal entity, it is generally used to refer to organisations that adopt a commercial approach to achieving social objectives.

Pakistan is a populous country that faces a range of challenges to achieving social and economic development. This paper provides an overview of the role that social enterprises play in addressing social challenges and explores the obstacles that they need to overcome in order to achieve both social impact and financially viability.

While this paper provides only a general overview of social enterprise activity in Pakistan, it has identified some key issues and opportunities for the development of social enterprises in future, some of which are reasonably applicable to or similar in other countries while others are specific to Pakistan.