The DICE programme (Developing Inclusive Creative Economies) is an initiative funded by the British Council to help build links and foster knowledge exchange between the UK and other countries.
Impact Hub King’s Cross has partnered with Invest2Innovate, a pioneer organisation supporting the start-up community in Pakistan since 2011, to learn about each country’s social and creative ecosystems and the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in each country respectively.
In June 2019 through the DICE programme the Impact Hub King’s cross welcomed a delegation from Pakistan and organised a series of visits in London and Bradford to explore the social and creative entrepreneurship ecosystems in both locations. The delegates that joined the visit came from our partners Invest2Innovate, and, other key stakeholders from Pakistan including the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and The Nest I/O.
The first part of the visit took place in London, where the delegates were introduced to the Impact Hub King’s Cross and our community of social entrepreneurs, as well as the varied portfolio of impact driven business support programmes we deliver. The 5-day visit in London continued with visits to other social enterprises, organisations supporting the creative and social sector and investors:
A collective that explores social and environmental criss-crossing the boundaries between visual arts, architecture and activism. Through permanent installations, functional sculptures and public performance that build communities and create new ecologies. The delegation also had a chance to visit one of their projects, Peckham Palms, an Afrocentric retail space providing exceptional hairstyling and beauty services fighting back the wave of gentrification by providing employment and career development opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
A coding bootcamp on a mission to prove that for many people peer-led learning is the most effective and least expensive route into the tech industry and supporting under-served communities by upskilling them through their bootcamps.
A ground-breaking social enterprise creating the UK’s most ethical personal care and household brands. They champion this vision by manufacturing luxury bath and beauty products, alongside everyday cleaning and toiletry products, by a workforce that is predominantly blind or otherwise disabled.
A specialist tutoring service for looked after children who believe every child should get an equal chance when it comes to education and the opportunities it brings. They we work directly with schools and virtual schools to narrow the attainment gap between children in care and those who aren’t.
Nesta is an innovation foundation backing new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time. Their mission is to spark and shape new ideas to improve how the world works for everyone. Nesta use their knowledge, networks, funding and skills to take on big challenges, working in partnership with others to make change happen.
Mustard Seed are a principal investor in world-class early-stage businesses that generate compelling financial and societal returns. They do so in conjunction with their global member network of business luminaries, an FCA-authorized venture fund, and events at many of the world’s leading universities.
Bethnal Green Ventures are an early stage investor for founders using technology to change people’s lives for the better. They help talented teams launch and grow tech for good ventures that significantly improve millions of lives and deliver great returns for investors.
The last 2 days of the visit were spent in Bradford where the delegation had the chance to engage with key stakeholders from the Pakistani diaspora. Impact Hub King’s Cross’ partner 30 Chapel Street, organised a roundtable event with several entrepreneurs from the Pakistani community allowing for many collaboration opportunities with the visiting delegation. The attendees included the Abid Hussain (Director of Diversity for the Arts Council England), Bana Gora (Chief Executive of the Muslim Women’s Council), Alex Croft (Creative Director of Kala Sangam), Dr. Tariq Shah (President & Founder of Healthcare4All), Amjad Pervez (Chairman of Jumpstart), Mark Garratt (Director of External Affair, Bradford University) and many others.
During the trip to Bradford the delegation also had the chance to engage with the varied cultural offer of the city by meeting the Founder and Director of the Bradford Literary Festival and being invited to it’s inaugural dinner, as well as, a Mushaira organised by Ishtiaq Hussain celebrating traditional Pakistani poetry and the Urdu language.
The visit overall proved to be a success, with many opportunities to learn first-hand about the social and creative sectors in the UK, the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in this ecosystem, and the support and different approaches available to help them overcome those challenges.
The second part of the DICE initiative will take place in Pakistan in September, where a delegation from the UK will visit to find out more about the social and creative ecosystems in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore. By taking the learnings from the UK visit back to Pakistan and discovering the unique challenges faced by entrepreneurs locally, the Impact Hub King’s Cross and Invest2Innovate will work in collaboration to develop a personable and practical solution to support organisations in scaling in both countries.