Promoting social entrepreneurship and community welfare, STEP awards $30,000 to social startups in Pakistan
Entrepreneurship and Youth Development Society (EYDS) along with Phillips Morris Pakistan and SEED Ventures launched a six month long project, Social Technology Entrepreneurship Program (STEP), aimed at nurturing budding social entrepreneurial ventures.
The program identified young social ventures utilising technological tools to address socio-economic issues while proposing business process innovations.
In the past 1.5 years, the world has faced unprecedented challenges due to Covid-19, changing the landscape of work, technology and society.
Recognising the potential of tech-empowered social ventures in promoting employment, alleviating poverty and mitigating social and economic challenges, EYDS decided to boost 40 local start-ups by young people who have innovative ideas to counter socio-economic problems within society.
Why social entrepreneurship?
According to the Labour Force Survey, unemployment rate for the year 2020-21 has been estimated at 9.56 per cent; with 6.65 million without an income source.
The unemployment rate amongst youth and degree-holders is especially high.
The highest overall unemployment rate, 11.56 per cent, is found among the age group of 20-24 years. Graduates with professional degrees comprise thrice the overall unemployed segment.
Hence, entrepreneurship allows individuals to start their own ventures as well as create employment opportunities for others.
EYDS foresees that social technology enterprises have the potential to grow and impact society in the upcoming years.
Supporting and guiding youth-led initiatives
STEP's aim was to provide a platform, mentorship and funds to social start-ups which have the capacity to grow into larger social enterprises impacting community welfare.
40 start-ups were given a chance to interact, build and innovate their business ideas into tech-powered social ventures.
In appreciation of the initiative, Sarwat Nasim Shah, Managing Director Zaamin Group, remarked, "I got connected to Social Technology Entrepreneurship Program as a jury member and later as a mentor for ModulusTech, who also ended amongst the top 3 winners. Moreover, I got a heartening opportunity to mentor and advise other startups in the program such as Boltay Huroof, DeafTawk, SMT, etc. I personally believe STEP is a brilliant program and I hope to see them run another round to facilitate and flourish the startup ecosystem in Pakistan to newer heights".
Greenovation, Modulus Tech and DeafTawk received the first three positions, having addressed energy solutions. sustainable housing and inclusivity obstacles, respectively.
The top 3 enterprises received $10,000 each, 12 additional weeks of mentorship and a DUNS number free of cost from Dun & Bradstreet Pakistan.
Three additional promising start-ups, Slosh, SMT and Mapalytics, were offered space to incubate at the DHA Suffa University's Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management.
To learn more about STEP, check out Seed Venture here.
This content is produced in paid partnership with Entrepreneurship and Youth Development Society and is not associated with or necessarily reflective of the views of Dawn.com or its editorial staff.