Amneh Shaikh – Farooqui on Growing a Social Enterprise

Here is all you need to know about what Polly & Other Stories has planned for the future and what Amneh Shaikh has to say about how a social enterprise should work around its business plan as well as it impact plan.

Where do you see your company in 5 years?

We hope to be doing so much! We literally eat, sleep and talk vision-casting. But one of the areas we are certain about is capacity-development and skills building. We want to focus more attention on our grassroots work and be more closely involved in Pakistan’s traditional and cultural economies but equally, we want to use traditional skills and support conventional producers in being part of modern Pakistan and its emerging cultural space. We hope to expand our brick-and-mortar concept stores to other large cities but most importantly, we want to have taken our current outreach and social impact to scale!

Social enterprises should have a business plan and impact plan? What is your take on this statement?

In the world of sustainability, there is a truism – “what gets measured, gets managed” – so yes, to some extent, this sort of documentation is needed. Mapping and formal planning are a way of articulating intent and support tracking of activities so you know that you are moving towards your vision. And we do all of this at Polly. We plan and we track progress. On a quarterly basis, we reassess goals and realign our vision, but sometimes I feel like the focus on policies and systems, while important, can also be overdone. You can have the best business plan in the world but it does not mean that you are going to build a legacy or have any social impact. You can have the best documents or frameworks or whatever, but does not guarantee that the social business will grow and expand beyond the founders’ pitch.

We also talked about Revolutionizing Retail in Pakistan and how her idea cam into being.

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