Quetta, 06 Sep 2021: Digital Libas, a remote work providing social enterprise from Quetta, is the winner of the SDG Bootcamp for Social Enterprises organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Jazz in Balochistan. The social enterprise will now participate in the national level SDG Bootcamp competition to be held later this year.

The runners up included Sustainable Design Studio, which provides green and sustainable design and architectural services to residential and commercial projects; and Rangoon Café, which seeks to establish a safe and productive space for people of different sects, cultures, and economic classes to interact and reduce discrimination in the region. Participants of the bootcamp learnt a variety of modules on how to market, scale up, and pitch their startups to potential investors.

Held online, the five-day bootcamp aimed at promoting social entrepreneurship and strengthening the startup ecosystem in the country. Ten social enterprises from Balochistan took part in the bootcamp, with nearly half of the participants being women. While majority of the participants were from Quetta, two enterprises took part from Mastung and Kalat as well. These social enterprises were trained in four modules: SDGs; Branding and Customer Engagement; Marketing and Digital Transformation; and Financial Management, Feasibility and Scaling.

Speaking during the session, Amir Goraya, Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP Pakistan said, ‘Pakistan is one of the youngest countries in the world. With youth unemployment standing at 8.54%, we need to find innovative solutions to help youth find ways to earn a decent living. Entrepreneurship presents a great opportunity for young people to use their skills and talents to develop their own business; social entrepreneurship goes even further and presents youth with a chance to play a lead role in talking development challenges of the country through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship.’

Syed Fakhar Ahmed, Chief Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Officer, Jazz commented, “As a leader in digital technology, it is our duty to provide young people with a platform to succeed. I would like to congratulate the top three startups from Balochistan and hope they now implement the valuable lessons learnt and scale up their solution to make a positive impact on society.”

In December 2020, Jazz inked an agreement with UNDP’s Youth Empowerment Programme to conduct 20 bootcamps across Pakistan. Around 400 youth are expected to participate in the bootcamps this year, with  400 more planned for 2022. The focus will be on enterprises that relate to any of the Sustainable Development Goals, with 50% women participation. The most promising social venture ideas will be promoted at the international level and mentored by industry experts to further flourish their enterprises.

UNDP through Youth Empowerment Programme supports the Government of Pakistan in developing innovative and sustainable entry points for social engagement and economic empowerment of young Pakistanis. One of the key components of the Programme is to support youth entrepreneurship which not only empowers young people economically, but also spurs change and ensures inclusive development of the country. Through the SDG Bootcamps, UNDP and Jazz will be improving the startup ecosystem of the country and enabling youth to practically explore their innovative ideas and develop skills needed to succeed in the space.