AzCorp Entertainment is a for-profit social enterprise, providing meaningful and entertaining storytelling with embedded themes of civics, social justice and gender equality through comic books, audio series, short documentaries and school and community interventions. We talked to Imran Azhar: The Founder of AzCorp on how he came up with the idea and how he plans to grow it.
How did the idea come about and how has it evolved since your started out?
As a former hotelier, I lived and worked in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Indian Ocean for over 20 years. During these years, I would frequently visit Pakistan and each time the lack of positive narrative for our local youths became more and more evident. I felt that Pakistan needed many more local heroes who symbolize positive values such as tolerance, compassion and empathy, traits that visibly exist, but their stories are never told, at least not enough. In 2014, I moved back to Pakistan to set up AzCorp Entertainment. The company’s vision is to create a relatable universe of heroes and villains that come alive through thought-provoking stories, that prompt dialogue, instill critical thinking, evoke social consciousness and compel positive local action by its readers.
What is your take on social entrepreneurship?
It’s just a mind set, every business impacts lives positively one way or another, maybe we can try to completely discontinue CSR divisions from our corporate structures and implant the impact element within the core business solution, just a thought.
Social enterprises should have a business plan and impact plan? What is your take on this statement?
At AzCorp Entertainment, we have rooted social impact and business aspect of our core business as one and are not taken as separate. Hence, whatever we do must have both facets otherwise we don’t go there.
What do you think is lacking in Pakistan when it comes to the understanding of a social enterprise?
There are no rights or wrongs, just different ways of doing things and I feel that all angles from all directions play a role in shaping our social landscape, only time will tell what worked and what didn’t and why.
In your opinion, what can we do to fix the problem?
We just need to document and record and assess everything we are doing and iterate as and when required. That is the reason we focus a lot on research and data collection before launching any initiative. In fact we intend to upload many of our findings and research papers on our website by the second quarter 2019.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
We aspire to see our company expand its reach way beyond Pakistani audience and hopefully have a few animation projects out by that time. Focus is more geared towards international franchising and licensing contracts.