SEED & Scottish Govt. collaborate to boost youth-led social enterprises in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Social Entrepreneurship and Equity Development (SEED) and the Scottish Government have joined hands to boost social enterprises working on innovative solutions. The ‘Impact Link: Social Enterprise Challenge 2020’, is launched in collaboration with Youth Co:Lab – an initiative co-led by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation.

The challenge is aimed at youth-led social enterprises in Pakistan working on innovative solutions to counter health, social, economic and environmental challenges, with a particular emphasis on enterprises addressing challenges that have emerged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Successful applicants will be invited to take part in a virtual boot camp spanning five days in the first week of September 2020.

The programme will be exclusively executed in Pakistan by UNDP Pakistan, SEED Ventures, DEMO, and the Social Enterprise Academy. 

Upon completion of the boot camp, ten most promising enterprises will be selected and awarded with cash prizes.  The top five winners of the challenge will receive a grant of Rs820,000 while the runners-up will receive Rs480,000 to upscale their ideas.

During the boot camp, mentors and industry experts will guide young entrepreneurs to build sustainable social ventures. The winners will also be showcased at the regional Youth Co:Lab Summit that will be held next year.

Speaking at the virtual launch, UNDP Resident Representative Aliona Niculita said, “With support from Youth Co:Lab, UNDP Pakistan is excited to collaborate with SEA’s Impact Link programme to promote social entrepreneurship, engage youth in social enterprise development and facilitate inclusive employment amongst the unemployed youth of Pakistan, especially during these challenging times”. 

She said that this collaboration will build on UNDP’s existing work towards enabling youth and youth-led social enterprises to meaningfully engage in initiatives that are working on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Pakistan, while creating spaces that value the participation, ideas, and voice of young people.

SEED Ventures CEO and Director Shaista Ayesha said, “SEED believes in the power of collaboration. This alliance between Impact Link and UNDP was initiated and spearheaded by SEED and is a testament to our belief. We are excited that it has happened. As Hub partners in Pakistan for Social Enterprise Academy – Scotland, we hope that through this collaboration we can forward and amplify the academy’s cause for reaching and impacting lives of social entrepreneurs in Pakistan.”

Head of International at Social Enterprise Academy Nazia Ali, while speaking at the virtual launch event said, “We are delighted to be able to connect SEA’s Impact Link programme funded by the Scottish Government, to Youth Co:Lab at UNDP and DEMO. In our second year of Impact Link in Pakistan, we are able to do crucial work to support and accelerate social entrepreneurs in these challenging times – when innovation is high and the availability and access to support is inadequate”. 

She added that there is much to learn from insightful entrepreneurs working on both rural and urban solutions, and that through Impact Link foundations for this learning to happen across a cluster of people across Pakistan can be laid.”

The story originally appeared in Profit by Pakistan Today