ISLAMABAD: The UN Resident Coordinator for Pakistan, Mr. Neil Bhune was the Chief Guest at the Hashoo Foundation’s (HF) 1st Youth Entrepreneur Awards (YEA) held today at Islamabad Marriott Hotel, while Mr. Sheryar Afridi, Member National Assembly was the Guest of Honour.
Hashoo Foundation works locally to empower youth to become active participants in the economy by igniting a network of young leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs to initiate startups and drive economic expansion. The Youth Entrepreneur Awards marks the culmination of the Hashoo Youth Entrepreneurship Competition (HYEC) launched on 1 November 2017. Almost 400 entries were received that were evaluated by internal/external panel of judges arriving at ten best entries based on a pre-determined selection criterion. The Award Ceremony engaged six finalists of the competition, who were evaluated by an expert panel of judges comprising of Dr. Ather Osama, Director Planning Commission, Mr. Irfan Khan, CEO Telenor Pakistan, Ms. Shamama Arbab, President, Women Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Ms. Shahnaz Kapadia Rahat, CEO Mera Mann, and Mr. Steven Henderson, Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer, Hashoo Group.
Five awards were given out: 1st prize of PKR 300,000/- to Mr. Yasin Khalid of Modulus Tech for introducing low cost housing sector for displaced and homeless people and building a house in 3 hours. 2nd prize of PKR 200,000/- to Ms. Areej Almadinah of ConnectHear from Karachi. ConnectHear is an idea that bridges communication gap to facilitate dialogue between the hearing-speech impaired and the society by video-based remote interpreter service. The winner of the 3rd prize of PKR 100,000/- were Mr. Ali Manaan and Ms. Hiba Shakil for their business idea Xyla Water – introducing low-cost water filter based on xylem technology. Special prizes of PKR 50,000 each were given to Mr. Shaikh Faizan Raza of Abay Khao in the category of Best Social Innovation Idea and Mr. Saiful Islam of Recycled Charge in the category of Best Technology Idea.
In her welcome address, Ms. Ayesha Khan, Country Director HF said entrepreneurs have a big role to play in developing the country by leveraging technology and representing Pakistan to the world. “The HYEC that led to this Award ceremony focused on the business idea, its innovativeness, potential for financial sustainability and the young entrepreneurs’ capabilities to follow through to success,” she said.
While sharing the vision of Mr. Murtaza Hashwani, Chairman Hashoo Foundation she said “In Hashoo Foundation we treat Entrepreneurship development as a distinctive strategy that places people rather than establishments at the center of our initiatives. “
Mr. Neil Bhune while appreciating the efforts of Hashoo Foundation said ‘Even though Pakistan comes under the lower ranked countries in the world, Initiatives like these are bringing a change to empower the youth and these initiatives leave no one behind, even the ideas that came from the entrepreneurs were inclusive. I salute Hashoo Foundation for initiating the Youth Entrepreneurship Competition and Awards’.
Mr. Sheryar Afridi while expressing his views said, “Such initiatives are the need of the hour, I appreciate how the Hashoo Foundation provided a platform to the youth, everyone should follow in their footsteps. These competitions enable the youth to shine and reach their maximum potential.”