A Cambodian Social Enterprise Model in Pakistan

December 18, 2012 at 7:07 am 3 comments

By Jacen Greene, Ames Fellow for Social Entrepreneurship at Portland State University

This is the story of how a Cambodian social enterprise, a Portland State University social entrepreneurship program, and a Pakistani nonprofit worked together to develop a program that will employ more than 2500 women, individuals with special needs, and internally displaced persons in one of the most remote and impoverished areas in the world.

In early 2012, Impact Entrepreneurs delivered a “Replication School” in Cambodia to five social entrepreneurs from around the world. Participants from South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Pakistan gathered at the headquarters of Digital Divide Data (DDD), an award-winning social enterprise, to learn how to replicate its successful impact sourcing model. Impact sourcing is the new approach of hiring individuals from the base of the pyramid — those making less than $3000/year [1] — to provide high-quality information technology services. With funding from The Rockefeller Foundation, DDD contracted Impact Entrepreneurs to design and deliver the eight-week program onsite in Phnom Penh.

The Rockefeller Foundation selected participants from high-performing organizations that had demonstrated the potential to create  similar impact sourcing programs. Over the course of the training program, participants learned how DDD provides scholarships and employment to disadvantaged individuals, from participant selection and training to best practices for business process outsourcing and working with foreign clients. In addition, the Replication School delivered specialized instruction in business fundamentals, social innovation, and leadership effectiveness — core capacity-building topics that Impact Entrepreneurs also delivers in its Entrepreneurial Leadership Program to the staff of global organizations such as Mercy Corps. Using this knowledge, each of the participants developed and refined a plan to implement or expand impact sourcing operations through their own organizations.

Ejaz Ali

Ejaz Ali

Ejaz Ali, working for the Karakoram Area Development Agency in Pakistan, developed a proposal for a new impact sourcing program in his remote home of Gilgit-Baltistan. Incorporating what he learned in Replication School courses such as financial management and business process design, Ali was able to design a robust, scalable model with measurable impact. Based on the strength of his proposal, the program was recently awarded funding by German aid agency GIZ and is now ready to launch.

Through this project, we are going to create employment opportunities for 2500 disadvantaged people: 60% women, 5% people with special needs, 10% [internally displaced persons], and 25% male youth of Gilgit-Baltistan. This project will help to improve the quality of life of disadvantaged, frustrated youth and will create a healthy environment in our society. — Ejaz Ali

The success of this proposal demonstrates the promise of social innovation replication. By taking a proven model and training others how to adapt it to the unique needs of their own community, new social ventures can be launched with less uncertainty and risk. Combining a strong organizational foundation with DDD’s generous, open-source model of social innovation and Impact Entrepreneurs’ customized trainings, Ali acquired the leadership, skills and knowledge needed to connect the most effective solutions to those with the greatest need.

For materials on replicating impact sourcing operations or to learn more about the Replication School, please email Impact Entrepreneurs.


[1] As defined by the Monitor Group and Rockefeller Foundation in “Job Creation Through Building the Field of Impact Sourcing.”

Entry filed under: DDD Replication School, Social Entrepreneurship. Tags: , , , .

Portland Business Incubators and Accelerators, Part 5 of 5: Women and Minority-Owned Businesses Impact Entrepreneurs’ Work Around the World in 2012

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joel Barranger  |  December 18, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Great update on the Replication School! Happy to hear that it was helpful for Ejaz. I’m very proud of him & the work his organization is performing.

    Nice work Impact Entrepreneurs!

  • 3. joshmathis  |  December 18, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Incredible. You could tell he was absorbing everything during the program. I’m glad to hear he’s putting what he learned into practice. Thanks for the update!


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