Best Projects 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs.
Explain your project in details:
Seed Out is Pakistans first crowdfunding platform that aims to alleviate poverty by helping to establish sustainable enterprises targeting the 40% of individuals living below the poverty line in Pakistan. Seed Outs main objective is to establish a sustainable enterprise for the aspiring entrepreneur and achieve a transformative impact at the household level. Towards this end, Seed Out provides interest-free micro credit and invests in the entrepreneurs skill enhancement so he becomes fully capable in managing a business instead of relying on charity. Seed Outs model is a solution to the flaws that diminish the impact effectiveness of most micro-finance institutions. The following innovative approaches make Seed Out unique: --Seed Outs loans are 100% interest-free. --Seed Out introduced cashless loans, in the form of tangible assets needed for the business to ensure that the amount is used for intended purpose of income generation only. --Seed Out provides a higher loan size as compared with local micro-finance institutions to ensure adequacy of funds for successful business take-off and/or expansion. This reduces the need to re-borrow, breaking the vicious cycle of indebtedness. --Seed Out also provides free-of-cost healthcare and encourages beneficiaries to send children to school. Seed Outs most unique aspect stands clear in the creation of a nexus of financial inclusion and technological advancement. On the crowdfunding platform, the donor can choose to fund a beneficiary of his choice. A customized donor dashboard provides updates on the entrepreneurs performance and directly connects the donor with the beneficiary so that the donor can independently verify the impact of their donation, ensuring 100% transparency. Seed Outs cloud-based back-end management portal allows for seamless operations. It enables multi-user management across branches, helping to improve coordination, reduce costs and scale up operations, therefore making the organization agile.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
Since Seed Out started in 2014, it has been able to raise 650+ successful entrepreneurs, impacting around 3,225 lives since the entrepreneur is able to improve living for himself and his family. Seed Outs focus is not on increasing the number of beneficiaries in its portfolio, but on achieving a transformative impact for the beneficiary and his household members. As such, Seed Out aims to tackle multi-dimensional poverty and hence also provides free-of-cost healthcare at its partner hospitals and a 24/7 tele-health service so that beneficiaries in remote areas can get medical advice on an urgent basis. Most local micro-finance institutions hand out small loans to a large number of people to increase portfolio size. Small loans fail to establish a thriving business & hence prove unsustainable. Repeated borrowing puts the borrower in a cycle of indebtedness. Seed Outs sufficient loan size has broken this vicious cycle: it makes the beneficiary self-reliant via establishment of sustainable enterprise, the income from which brings prosperity to the household. In order to evaluate success, Seed Out carries out an annual impact assessment survey. The entrepreneurs impact assessment indicators are compared, pre and post intervention. According to the last report which surveyed 125 beneficiaries, the following results were obtained: --50% increase in household income --60% of the beneficiaries were able to do savings --30% of the beneficiaries could do extra savings for emergency situations --50% decrease in healthcare expenditure --47% of the households stated that their meals increased from 1 meal per day to 2 meals per day Seed Out has also successfully mobilized entrepreneurs from vulnerable and marginalized segments, such as women belonging to low-income households, especially those who are widowed or divorced and differently-abled individuals. Seed Out has empowered 190+ female entrepreneurs and 30 differently-abled individuals to achieve economic independence.
Sustainability and future plans
Seed Out raises funds for its micro-entrepreneurs via the online crowdfunding platform. The amount that is donated for an entrepreneur, 100% of it is utilized to set up the business for the respective entrepreneur. The loan recoveries are ploughed back into the self-sustaining revolving fund, which is used to create more sustainable enterprises. Thus, a one-time donation can change many lives. The donor also has the option to re-donate to a beneficiary of his choice. Seed Outs operational costs are covered by its corporate partners which include Super Asia, Pakistans leading household appliances manufacturer and fast-food joint Hardees, Pakistan. In order to conduct advanced skills development courses and workshops, Seed Out secures grants from local and international development agencies and private corporations. UNDP in Pakistan is Seed Outs training partner and helps the organization by sharing its training expertise. Seed Out is engaged in the development of the first ever Pakistan Crowd Funding Network, whereby Seed Outs technology will soon be made commercially available to NGOs working in diverse sectors (such as health, education, and so on) on a subscription-based model. Since the authenticity and robustness of Seed Out's crowdfunding platform is fully established, the initiative is ready to aggressively scale up. The team is dedicatedly looking for partnerships instrumental for the expansion and aims to have: --1200 entrepreneurs by 2019 --3000 entrepreneurs by 2020
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I identified that even though Pakistan is amongst the most charitable nations in the world, the way in which these funds are given in the form of one-time charity in small denominations to individuals is unsustainable; it simply fails to make an impact. Amongst charitable organizations, I realized that they focused on the number of beneficiaries in their portfolio, instead of the actual impact that was created in their lives. This is the landscape that I wanted to change. Encouraged by my familys philanthropic contributions, I combined my passion for leveraging technology to solve problems and the desire to use funds for charity in a sustainable manner to create Seed Out, a unique nexus of financial inclusion, technological advancement and micro-entrepreneurship. The transformative impact Seed Out brought in the households of its beneficiaries made it stand out against older and bigger counterparts in micro-finance. Via Seed Out, I received the following awards: --Forbes 30Under30, Social Entrepreneur (2019) --Commonwealth Youth Award (2018) for Excellence in Development Work --Second Position in University of Miami Business Competition (2018) --Featured in University of Miamis 30Under30 (2017) --Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Program Award (2015) I was recently appointment as a member of The Prime-Minister of Pakistans 1st National Youth Council, the governments unique coalition to use the youths powerful voice to influence decisions- nationally and internationally. I aim to utilize this platform to mobilize the youth to bring about the realization of the SDGs. I have exceptional networking and communication skills which enable me to advocate issues I am most passionate about and this has been instrumental for my success. I am 29 years of age and have completed my bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Miami. My other entrepreneurial ventures include Eccountant, a cloud based accounting software and iVoke, an interactive digital agency.