Entrepreneurs with disabilities shine on demo day

The First Cohort of Innovation Challenge Futuremakers Shines on Demo Day Showcasing Entrepreneurial Brilliance of Entrepreneurs with Disabilities

ISLAMABAD: The groundbreaking Innovation Challenge Futuremakers (ICF), Pakistan’s pioneering fast-track acceleration program tailored for individuals with disabilities, celebrated a momentous Demo Day of their first cohort.

The event served as a platform for the program’s eight exceptional startups to unveil their unique ideas and innovative solutions, highlighting the immense potential of persons with disabilities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

ICF, a visionary collaboration between DeafTawk, (a trailblazing Pakistani startup dedicated to enhancing the lives of deaf individuals), and Sightsavers, (a globally recognized organization devoted to preventing avoidable blindness and promoting equal opportunities for people with disabilities) is funded by the Standard Chartered Foundation. This strategic partnership is a testament to the transformative impact that cross-sector collaboration can have on fostering inclusivity, innovation, and social change.

The demo day provided an avenue for the first cohort chosen through a meticulous screening process. The young entrepreneurs with disabilities’ startups representing all four provinces of Pakistan got an opportunity to showcase their innovative ideas and solutions across diverse industries such as automotive, art, food and hospitality, fashion, and education. The event drew distinguished attendees from the startup ecosystem, government, corporate sector, and development agencies, further highlighting the importance of fostering an inclusive environment that nurtures the talents of all individuals.

Ali Shabbar, CEO of DeafTawk, while addressing the guests shared, “We at DeafTawk have first-hand experience of how founders with disabilities face obstacles while initiating and scaling their businesses. I am delighted to have partnered with Sightsavers for this remarkable initiative and together we have provided a strong platform for young entrepreneurs with disabilities to uplift their ideas and solutions.”

Munazza Gillani, Country Director of Sightsavers Pakistan, extended her congratulations to DeafTawk for spearheading this program and other partners for their support stating.

“We commend DeafTawk for their role in making this initiative successful and anticipate that our partnership will help create a movement where entrepreneurs with disabilities not only thrive but also serve as beacons of inspiration for countless others. On this occasion she also extend her gratitude for the generous funding support of Standard Chartered Foundation and their team at global and country level”

Tasneem Mirza – Head Community Impact and Engagement, Corporate Affairs and Brand & Marketing Standard Chartered Bank, added: “It’s our vision at standard chartered to empower persons with disabilities and nurture their journey towards becoming successful startups. We’re dedicated to fostering a future where these young founders become employers and create job opportunities across Pakistan”

Asim Shahryar Husain CEO Ignite National Technology Fund added: “I believe that initiatives like these are crucial for nurturing an inclusive startup ecosystem in Pakistan. My optimism rests on the potential of these social entrepreneurs to not only make a strong social and economic impact but also to serve as catalysts for lasting change.”

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