Broadening our partnership engagement

by Helen Harvey / March 2020

Broadening our partnership engagement: SEWF works with LUMS Entrepreneurial Society in Lahore, Pakistan to learn and teach about social enterprise in the region From December 26th – 30th.

Maeve Curtin, SEWF’s Strategic Policy Adviser, attended the 14th Annual Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs Summit in Lahore, Pakistan. This 5-day Summit hosted by the LUMS Entrepreneurial Society (LES) at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) was an SEWF partnership event that brought together over 700 student delegates from high schools, colleges, and universities across Pakistan and South Asia. Over the course of the Summit, students explored different elements of entrepreneurship testing their business acumen and receiving valuable feedback from successful entrepreneurs. Featured image shows SEWF’s Maeve Curtin with one of the teams competing at YLES. For this challenge they had to rebrand and launch and new product line for Girlythings, a social enterprise that provides health and hygiene products for women and girls with and without disabilities.

What initially seemed like a traditional business and case competition was in fact marked by LES’s deep commitment to inspiring attendees to understand social enterprise and to consider the viability of social enterprise careers. At the very least, YLES acquainted delegates with a potentially unfamiliar concept and helped them recognize the role social enterprises can play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SEWF partnered with LES to elevate their social enterprise competition round and help frame the entire event within the context of social enterprise. In addition to speaking at the opening and closing ceremonies about the potential for a new global impact economy and how young people will play a critical role in this type of transformational change within society, Maeve also gave a workshop on social enterprise that was open to all delegates.

Also read:  July opportunities

Top: Students from a high school in Lahore who participate in LES’s social outreach programme competed throughout all of YLES and had an additional opportunity to learn about social enterprise.

Beyond engagement with the students at YLES, there was also an opportunity for SEWF to engage with social enterprise leaders from across Pakistan. SEWF had the opportunity to visit with various social enterprises in and around Lahore to see their work in action.

One of the social enterprise site visits was to Project PAVE’s demonstration fields where SEWF saw firsthand the impact of this seed and fertilizer project on rural farmers across the region.

LES also convened a roundtable on the future of social enterprise policy and practice in Pakistan at LUMS and invited social enterprise leaders from across Pakistan to attend. SEWF learned about the state of social enterprise policy in Pakistan from social enterprise leaders on the ground and shared information on social enterprise policy progress globally.

The roundtable with social enterprise leaders across Pakistan demonstrated a need for more collaboration among sector leaders and highlighted future opportunities for policy action that will ease barriers for social enterprises.

This partnership with LES is ongoing and one that SEWF hopes will lead to more students, and delegates generally, from South Asia attending the SEWF youth and main forums in years to come. SEWF will also continue to support policy developments that advantage the growing social enterprise movement in Pakistan.

Photo Credits: LES Media Team

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Helen Harvey is SEWF's Event Director