The National Finals for Enterprise Challenge Pakistan, a Prince’s Trust International programme delivered in partnership with SEED Ventures, was held at the British Deputy High Commission on Monday 28th January.
The programme in the short span of three years has become the largest business challenge for school children in Pakistan. The National Finals brought together seven teams of Enterprise Challenge finalists from cities across Pakistan to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges, encouraging and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. To celebrate the success of reaching the final stage of the competition, Prince’s Trust International CEO Jonathan Townsend, British Deputy High Commissioner Elin Burns, and distinguished members of the business fraternity, public sector, academia, media and diplomats were present at the occasion.
Enterprise Challenge is an established Prince’s Trust International programme that helps young people aged 13-16 learn the basics of setting up and running a successful business with the help of industry experts as mentors and a business stimulation game. The programme is also delivered in the U.K. and Jordan.
The programme completed its third year of delivery after launching in Pakistan in 2015 and has reached out to more than 22,000 young people in three years in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Kashmir, Federal region and Gilgit Baltistan in 30 cities across the country. The local Founding and delivery partner, SEED Ventures is a Social Entrepreneurship & Equity Development organization and investment firm. The programme is supported by Jubilee Life Insurance, Engro Foundation, British Council, Sana Safinaz, ZAFA and Avari Group.
The third year of Enterprise Challenge culminated with the National Finals where seven teams that had emerged from the Regional Finals with the highest scores, pitched live in front of a panel of judges and audiences. The National Finals winning team was from The Learning Academy – Gilgit Baltistan. An audience poll was also held and the team from St.Joseph’s Convent School was awarded Audience Choice Award. National Finalists from the previous year’s competition who received investment were also present to encourage the participants and talk about how Enterprise Challenge Pakistan had shaped their future and helped them in setting up their venture. The event showcased their success stories and provided them with a platform to share their entrepreneurial journey.
Talking about this initiative, Elin Burns, British Deputy High Commissioner and Director for Trade, “I am delighted to be hosting the Enterprise Challenge Pakistan for a second time and seeing another cohort of young Pakistani entrepreneurs. It’s wonderful to see the diversity of talent from across Pakistan, showing the scale of potential which will contribute to Pakistan’s future prosperity.”
Jonathan Townsend, Prince’s Trust International Chief Executive, said: “At Prince’s Trust International it is our mission to work with partners to give people the skills and confidence to live, learn and earn. Enterprise challenge Pakistan presents young people with a brilliant opportunity to learn the core elements of running their own business as well as making a significant contribution to their community. We witnessed seven teams presenting such high quality ideas, with energy, enthusiasm and confidence at the 3rd National Finals. We also heard from past finalists whose success stories were a true inspiration. We aspire to reach to a far larger number of young people all over Pakistan in the next five years.”
Faraz Khan, SEED CEO and Co-founder said, “Enterprise Development is SEED’s core mandate, and understand that young people can contribute immensely to this ecosystem. Hence, the pace, quality and scale of Enterprise Challenge Pakistan is of utmost importance and we need to engage our budding entrepreneurs from a very early age as they have the potential to resolve the economic challenges and bring about an immensely noticeable change in the country’s economy.”