P@SHA Social Innovation Fund Announces the first round of grant winners
What is Social Innovation?
Social Innovations spark new ways of thinking and can come from individuals, groups or organizations. Social innovation has to be innovation that is social in its ends and its means. It is a new idea, based on a product, service or model, that meets social needs more effectively than any alternative that exists. It is good for society and enhances society’s capacity to act.
What is the P@SHA Social Innovation Fund?
The Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA) launched a Rs. 20,000,000 fund in June to drive Social Innovation in the country.
“We are certain that we will be able to get some creative juices flowing, spark the beginnings of a few unique solutions, finance some great ideas and provide mentoring to young people who have the passion, the talent and the motivation to make a social impact on our society,” said Jehan Ara, President of P@SHA on the launch of this Fund.
Meet the Winners of the first round of grants from the P@SHA Social Innovation Fund
1. Alif Laila – Sabah Rehman
2. Bloodline – Farhan Masood
3. Online Store for Handmade Shoes – Waqas Ali
4. “Audible” for Urdu – Urdu Online – Usman Siddiqui
Why is it exciting?
Young people have innovative ideas and are able to identify and drive solutions that can tackle urgent social and community challenges. All they need is for someone to work with them to fine-tune and thrash out the ideas and a limited amount of capital to get the ideas off the ground. Whether the efforts help young people become successful themselves, create economic opportunities for others, design an innovative solution to existing societal problems or create success stories and role models for others to follow, the impact would no doubt be substantial.
The idea is not to fund the creation of software but to fund ideas that use Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs) as a platform for delivery and as a means for empowerment.
The initial seed money for this Fund has been provided to P@SHA by Google Inc in the form of a grant. As the Fund proves its worth, there is a likelihood of more organizations adding to it.
What did we do?
- Launched the P@SHA Social Innovation Fund and the first round of applications in April 2011.
- Publicized the process and the P@SHA SIF Fund through word of mouth, social media and appearances on national television.
- Started receiving applications 5 minutes after the P@SHA Social Innovation Fund website went up.
- Received 300 applications over a 4 month period.
- Shortlisted 64 applicants and asked them to go through an online course on pitching for ideas and startups.
- Required short listed candidates to upload a short 4 minute YouTube video answering 7 questions asked by the judges.
- Each individual judge created his shortlist of ideas.
- Polled judges collectively for a final vote and picked 4 winners and 7 shortlisted candidates for the next round of funding.
What does funding mean?
It means that you now need to sit down with your local assigned mentor and get a sign off on your post funding ten step plan and the next six months of goals and milestones.
After that sign off and commitment the candidates receive their first check for US$2,000 sequivalent and define the goal posts for the next four deliverables. Completion of each round of deliverable gets you another round of US$2,000 for a total funding allocation of US$10,000.
For each payment to get released your mentor must sign off on progress and milestones.
What is next?
Mentoring sessions for the winners and shortlisted candidates. Start planning for the next round of applications. A formal showcase for winners and shortlisted candidates post completion of P@SHA mentoring sessions. And yes funding…
Meet the Judges
Zafar Khan is the CEO of Sofizar which he founded in 2004. Prior to Sofizar, Zafar was the co-founder of PrimeDTV, an ATSC reference design company based in Shanghai and Anaheim. He worked at Gemstar in Hong Kong and Boston, as well as at Avalon Computers, a high performance computing company.
Zafar did his undergraduate at CalTech and graduate coursework at Harvard. He is the recipient of three US and international patents in automated consumer advertising technologies. Zafar has been on the Central Executive Committee of P@SHA and is a Past Vice Chairman.
He is a highly accomplished engineer, a Performance Internet Based Marketer and an Entrepreneur who has bootstrapped his company into a multi million dollar venture. He is currently focused on steering the organization to tackle more verticals and on maintaining the growth rate.
Atif Mumtaz is a serial entrepreneur developing innovative solutions using ICT. Prior to Personforce, he co-founded Pakistan’s largest job site and human resources software company, BrightSpyre. As well, Atif has had engineering and management roles at United Nations and COMSATS.
Atif is also running a very successful Tele-healthcare project in rural Pakistan. This is the first of its kind project in rural Mardan district where free healthcare services are extended to the poor and needy using ICT. Over 50,000 patients are treated annually off which 90% live below the poverty line.
He has received numerous awards including “Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2004″ from Shell Oil and DHL YES Award for “Young Social Entrepreneur, 2007″. Atif was a Reuters Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford University in 2006 where he focused his studies on social entrepreneurship.
Jawwad Ahmed Farid is a Fellow Society of Actuaries (Chicago), a MBA from Columbia Business School (New York City) and a computer science graduate from FAST ICS. During the last nineteen years, he has worked as a consultant in North America, Pakistan and the United Kingdom with a number of blue chip clients.
Jawwad’s core areas of expertise include Asset/Risk Management, Investments, Product Development and the Financial Services Back Office. Jawwad blends a rare combination of information systems, industry standards, business and product development skill set side by side with his actuarial expertise.
Jawwad is a serial entrepreneur (FinanceTrainingCourse.com, http://www.alchemya.com) an author of a book on new venture failure and teaches entrepreneurship and risk management in Pakistan, UAE and Singapore.
What were the questions judges asked?
In addition to the application form used on the P@SHA Social Innovation Fund site once a candidate was short listed the judges asked them four questions. All candidates were required to submit a short YouTube video answering the questions after viewing the online pitching mentoring course.
- What is your idea? Why should we fund you as a group?
- What is the social impact of your project and how would it change Pakistan in the long run and your city and your social circle in the short run?
- What are the first 10 things you will do to move your project forward if you get funded?
- What credible or related experiences do you or your team have that will help you in this project?