ISLAMABAD: DeafTawk, a pioneering Pakistani startup committed to improving the lives of the deaf community, Sightsavers, an international organization dedicated to preventing avoidable blindness and promoting disability inclusion welcomed the second cohort for Innovation Challenge Futuremakers (ICF) program. As part of this welcome session, an orientation session was held where the startups were introduced to the ICF program through various icebreaker activities.
After a rigorous evaluation process involving a review of more than 173 applications and interviews conducted by industry specialists and mentors, a total of 8 exceptional startups have been chosen as part of the second cohort. These startups, hailing from diverse regions of Pakistan, showcase a wide range of innovative solutions poised to make a significant impact in various domains.
Ali Shabbar, the CEO of DeafTawk, expressed his heartfelt appreciation, saying, “Following the remarkable success of our inaugural cohort, we were eagerly anticipating the second one. I extend my sincere gratitude to all the startups that have applied for this acceleration program and to our invaluable partners for their unwavering support. Through the ICF program, our aim is to equip these exceptionally talented startups with the essential skills they need to not only accelerate the growth of their ventures but also to harness their innovative ideas in ways that benefit individuals with disabilities.”
Munazza Gillani, the Country Director of Sightsavers Pakistan Office, enthusiastically shared her insights on the program, stating, “The Innovation Challenge Futuremakers program is playing a pivotal role in supporting entrepreneurs with disabilities as they embark on their journey towards establishing successful startups. It’s particularly heartening to witness a significant number of women-led startups stepping up through this program. I extend my best wishes to each and every startup as they embark on this exciting acceleration phase, and I’m confident in their potential for remarkable success.”
Ali Mehdi, Chief Financial and Investment Officer, DeafTawk joined the orientation virtually from the USA. He added, “Cultivating global perspectives is the key to entrepreneurial success. As an overseas contributor to the DeafTawk team, I’m thrilled to welcome the startups. Embrace the journey, and remember, the world awaits your innovative imprint. Think global; the potential for growth and investment, particularly in the expansive US market, is immense. I will be personally working with all the founders and identifying areas of expansion in the US market particularly.
The startups selected for the second cohort of the Innovation Challenge Futuremakers are Assistive Tour Companion for providing comprehensive support for visually impaired travellers, Inclusive Hill which is is reshaping e-commerce by offering a comprehensive marketplace tailored to the unique needs of individuals with disabilities, Deaf Art Wala is a venture specializing in selling captivating calligraphy and digital frames, Hira’s Kitchen providing a welcoming place for quality food and socializing, addressing a significant need within the community, Aqua Orient Water Solutions serving to reduce health risks, save lives, and ensure clean drinking water, SK Studio and Training Centre addressing issues of lack of opportunities by offering digital courses and training centre, ATMIS providing app-based solution for the secure collection and distribution of assistive devices, and Speaker Better designed to assist children with speech disorders, focusing on articulation and phonological disorders.
These startups poised to embark on a transformative journey of growth and development. With access to a customized curriculum, mentorship from industry experts, networking opportunities, grant opportunities, and a chance to attend international tech conferences, these startups will receive the support they need to scale their businesses and create a lasting social and economic impact.