The Impact Network is a formal collaboration between Incubation Centers, Social Entrepreneurship Support Organizations, Universities, Public Sector, Donors and Investors to stimulate, support and scale critical social innovations.
The Network was established on March 1, 2018 and is supported by the PEP Foundation. The Network has been designed with the specific objective of promoting and guiding social innovations that have the potential to solve large national problems.
Pakistan is currently the sixth largest country by population in the world. At its present rate of growth, the current population of 200 million is estimated to increase to 385 million by 2050 which will make it the 3rd largest country after China and India. Pakistan’s economic growth during the 1st 70 years of its independence was slow which left it behind countries like Japan which were in a similar situation after the 2nd World War. Thus, Pakistan is facing a double challenge, catching up with lost time and competing with industrialized countries.
While Pakistan lacks the natural reserves like oil in Saudi Arabia and Iran, it has one of the world’s highest potential intellectual capital in the form of approximately 126 million youth. Of these about 60 million are 20-24 and about 70 million are below the age of 15 of which over 22 million children are out of school. Education is the economic engine of a nation. While Pakistan has also serious deficits in health care, energy, water and agriculture sectors, given the large size of young human capital, education and innovation opportunities can effectively rescue them. It is my vision that through education and innovation, especially through technology, Pakistan will be able to have its masses educated and enjoy economic prosperity, a high standard of living and a peaceful living with no religious, racial, ethnic, color, class and cultural discrimination. Today we launch the Impact Network to work towards this vision.
KHALID IQBAL, PHD
PEP FOUNDATION, INC., NEW YORK
MESSAGE FROM TEAM LEAD
Pakistan is in a state of flux. Pakistan has one of the fastest growing economies and one of the largest, dynamic young populations in the world, yet it is also considered a “failing state” by many, due to the failure of the public sector to adequately address critical social needs. A variety of stakeholders including NGO’s, International Donors and Private citizens have attempted to fill this void, but have been unable to create meaningful, financially sustainable impact at scale. PAKISTAN scored 55.6 in the SDGs’ global index against a far better regional average of 63.3. It is even lower than our regional peers Bangladesh’s (56.2) and India’s (58.1).
At the same time, the past decade in Pakistan has seen the rise of entrepreneurship, establishment of incubators and accelerators, various innovation programs, and increasing interest by Public and Private Funders. This developing entrepreneurial ecosystem, provides a unique opportunity to find and scale solutions to complex social problems. Solutions that are also financially sustainable. To take advantage of this opportunity, we must bring social entrepreneurship out of the margins, and into mainstream discussions.
Social Entrepreneurship is difficult. Not only must an enterprise solve a social problem, but it must also generate revenue to achieve financial sustainability. Reaching the millions of people that can benefit, is no small task. Creating Impact at scale will require collective leadership, thinking, and collaborations.
TEAM LEAD IMPACT NETWORK
PEP Foundation, Inc. is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, with offices in New York City and Islamabad. The PEP Foundation was founded to ensure the right of every young man and woman in Pakistan to have access to quality higher education; and with the understanding that “through academic excellence Pakistan will be able to produce outstanding professionals and leaders, and bring economic prosperity to its masses”.
The PEP Foundation has now been working for 24 years, and is the only non profit organisation focused on Pakistan’s Higher Education sector. Our efforts to date, have focused on providing direct financial assistance to deserving students, highlighting critical gaps and solutions, and embedding systems change.
The PEP Foundation’s ongoing S.A.F.E. program (Student Advancement Endowment Funds), established in 42 universities, continues to provide scholarships to deserving students, and the SSBC Program (Student Start-up Business Centers) across 9 universities has till date produced 62 new businesses. The Sughra Begum Policy Center for Education has been operating its Mphil program on education policy at the Punjab University.
In 2018, the PEP Foundation has been able to expand its work to include stimulating, supporting and scaling social innovations. The new program, Impact network.pk, fosters cross sector collaborations connecting academia to the real world.