Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship Initiative in Central Asia with Aga Khan Development Network

Aga Khan Development Network and the Synergos Institute Partner to Implement Activities in Central Asia as part of the Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship

Washington, DC, MAY 1, 2013 -- Today the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) announced a grant to the Synergos Institute to work in partnership to advance social entrepreneurship in Central Asia as a path to social and economic development for the region.

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Synergos and the AKDN will implement activities through the Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship, a three-year collaborative program to create and support a robust social entrepreneurship movement in select countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The Alliance currently operates in Egypt, Lebanon and now the Central Asian countries of Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic. Formed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Synergos in collaboration with Ashoka and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the Alliance will work with leading organizations active in social entrepreneurship globally and in these select countries. The Alliance seeks to play a critical role in raising awareness about social entrepreneurship and promoting an environment that encourages growth and greater impact of social enterprises. AKDN’s grant of $250,000 is being matched by the same amount from USAID and Synergos.

In the first phase, the Alliance has developed an understanding of the environments in Egypt and Lebanon to assess the viability and sustainability for social entrepreneurship. The Alliance has identified and engaged with key stakeholders, and approved a detailed plan for each country. In its second two-year phase, the Alliance will continue to build collaborations and pilot projects that address barriers for promoting and scaling up social entrepreneurship.

group photo
Left to right: Robert Dunn, President of Synergos, Natalie Ross, AKF USA Program Associate for Civil Society, Chris Jurgens, Division Director of Global Partnerships Division in the Office of Innovation and Development Alliances at USAID, George Khalaf, Synergos Director for Middle East and North Africa, Afeefa Syeed, Senior Advisor at USAID Middle East and Asia Bureaus, Dr. Mirza Jahani, AKF USA CEO, Frederick Kellett, AKF USA Director of Programs and Investments


On behalf of the AKDN, Dr. Mirza Jahani, CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation USA, observed, “The work of the Alliance is important for understanding the enabling environment for social entrepreneurship,” especially in Central Asia. “We are excited to work with Synergos and apply successful models from the Alliance’s programs to Central Asia. As we help social enterprises and civil society organizations in that region to grow, these efforts create healthy and resilient societies.”

The partnership has specific objectives to:

  • Assess the landscape for social entrepreneurship in Central Asia, beginning with the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan
  • Identify and pilot solutions to create an enabling environment for social entrepreneurship in the region, with a focus on remote mountain communities
  • Build awareness of social entrepreneurship among key stakeholders in Central Asia and globally
  • Integrate key AKDN programs into the global social entrepreneurship movement.

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