Almost 50 youngsters, aged between 10-16 from across Karachi attended Pakistan’s first Startup Weekend Youth organised by The Nest I/O from 18-20 July.
Over 30 ideas were pitched on the first day of the event, out of which 10 were shortlisted by the participants for the final round.
The young teams spent 48 hours turning these ideas into revenue generating business models with the help of mentors and coaches present throughout the two-and-a-half day event.
Hot Tray, an app to improve the food court experience, won first place while Project Polaroid, an idea to “deliver memories to your doorstep”, won second place. The second runner-up was Amuse Cards, an app to replace amusement cards while Re-Green, an idea to reduce plastic waste through recycling, received a special mention from the judges.
“When I first came to attend Startup Weekend, I wasn’t expecting much. I just thought we will do a few activities and go home, but when I came here the second day I realised it was a lot more fun, I made new friends, and we all worked on a project together," commented Ammar Naqvi, one of the young participants at the event.
"Even though we didn’t win in the end, it was a lot of fun and a great learning experience,” he said.
“My dad forced me to attend Startup Weekend and I’m so glad he did because now I don’t want to leave. It was a fabulous event. I learned so much, made so many new friends. I broke down in the end and didn’t want to pitch because I felt my idea was not worth it, but the coaches and mentors helped me through it and our team won second place,” commented Hani Zeeshan, team member of Project Polaroid.
These young entrepreneurs presented their final pitches to a room full of fellow aspiring founders, successful startup founders, and a panel of esteemed judges including Nadia Patel Gangjee, Founder of Sheops and Femprow, Sadaffe Abid, CEO and Founder CIRCLE, and Rabia Garib, Co-Founder Toffee TV and The New Spaces.
British Deputy High Commissioner, Elin Burns was the chief guest at the event.
"The ideas we heard today were innovative and focused on making Pakistan a better place, please don't lose this passion. Congratulations to all and I cannot wait to see these ideas in the marketplace,” Elin Burns said.
The judges were so impressed with all the pitches, they announced small rewards for the winners on the spot. Nadia Gangjee offered to do exclusive online coverage for the winner and runner-up on the She Inspires series on Femprow, Sadaffe Abid offered an opportunity for the winner and runner-up to pitch at the final round of She Loves Tech competition, while Rabia Garib also generously offered to make jingles and ads for all winners which will run on Toffee TV.
The biggest surprise came from Ashraf Kalim who offered to fund the production of the first 1,000 recycled plastic bags for Re-Green, the team that received the special mention award.
“The turn out at Startup Weekend Youth was great and the quality of participants and pitches was even better. I am so proud of all these youngsters who pitched so confidently in front of such a big audience. All these young participants are winners because they learnt more about entrepreneurship in last 54 hours than many adults do in a lifetime. They also had fun, made friends and developed ideas that they were passionate about,” said Jehan Ara, President of P@SHA and founder of the tech incubator The Nest I/O.
The complete list of ideas pitched at Startup Weekend Youth can be seen here.