She Loves Tech 2021: Empowering the women of Pakistan through technology
Groundbreaking start-up ‘CIRCLE’, brought She Loves Tech 2021, a women-centric global technology start-up competition, back to Pakistan for the fifth time in a bid to empower Pakistani women entrepreneurs and provide international exposure to their businesses.
An online event, called the “She Loves Tech Pakistan National Finals”, ran on October 17, 2021, where 11 female-led start-ups presented their innovative, tech-related business ideas.
Enabled through the support of HBL, participants from 15+ Pakistani cities, including Gilgit, Quetta, Layyah, Hyderabad, Multan, and Faisalabad, entered the contest this year, breaking previous records.
Sadaffe Abid, Founder of CIRCLE, during the live event emphasized the significance of the role of efficient women in Pakistan and said, “Pakistan needs women in every space, whether as innovators, in leadership”.
She mentioned, “This is critical because as we look at any country, you cannot progress if you do not involve the talents of your full population. This is the vision behind She Loves Tech.”
Speaking during the event, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, Usman Dar said, “Women not given an equal opportunity in our system, and especially in the tech sector, this has become one of the biggest challenges in Pakistan for us”.
He added,” She Loves Tech is such a platform for women in leadership which enables them to polish their skills and we (The Government of Pakistan) will be introducing such other programmes in Pakistan”.
Chief Operating Officer of HBL, Sagheer Mufti emphasized how women have been an integral part of technology and entrepreneurship as he addresses the participants, “You really have a path to success, which has also been followed by few brave women, like yourselves. We need more women leaders, and we’re going to create those role models through programmes like She Loves Tech.”
Co-Founder of She Loves Tech, Leanne Roberts announced that the winning project will be included in the global finals of She Loves Tech, due to take place later this month, where participants from 40 countries will be competing for a prize.
Start-ups filled with innovation
Out-Class Learning services emerged as the winner of She Loves Tech Pakistan 2021. This start-up is trying to be the Netflix of education and is offering affordable crash courses taught by prolific teachers in Pakistan.
Aiman Bashir of Out-Class describes the dilemma at hand as she says,” With one-third of our country’s children out of school, it would take us years and billions of dollars to meet the demand of education if we rely on brick-and-mortar schools alone. Bashir further reinforces the main goal of the Out-Class in these words,” Out-Class is on a mission to make high-quality education affordable and available, anywhere, anytime. Out-Class impacts the complete student-teacher-parent triangle at the heart of good education. We facilitate students by ensuring they have access to the best content and teachers anytime, anywhere…at the click of a button.
Bashir also talked about the role She Loves Tech is playing in building up a secure space for women entrepreneurs and working in technology,” SLT has been an inspiring experience! A truly unique opportunity to have connected with industry experts and with so many brilliant women entrepreneurs having some incredibly innovative ideas to deliver change.”
The winner of the She Loves Tech Pakistan 2021 competition will be awarded a cash prize by Unilever, whereas, the first runner-up, Enent is being awarded a cash prize and other marketing services by one of the judges for the event Shafaat Hashmi, CEO of Stallion Gates.
Bashir highlighted the need for women-centric competitions in Pakistan, like STL. She added, “I appreciate She Loves Tech and Circle Women for their initiative in giving women entrepreneurs the opportunity and the platform to showcase their dreams for the world to see. Today, women need this encouragement, support and mentorship and tomorrow…They’ll be competing with men and women, globally.”
While the runners-up of the competition include; ScaryAmmi by Ayesha Nasir and Enent by Javeria Shakil. Sadaffe Abid, the founder and CEO of CIRCLE and all the judges, congratulated all the participants and encouraged them to continue to work on their business model and refine their operations.
The online event invited some of the most renowned names in Pakistan to represent the panel of judges, with each individual belonging to different areas of expertise. The panel included CEO of Stallion Gates Shafaat Hashmi, Head Venture Capital of HBL Yusuf Hussain, Director TAG with expertise in Strategy and Business development Maleeha Mimi Bangash, Content Strategist and Managing Editor Iram Nawaz, an entrepreneur himself and Principle at Aspiro Management Consultants Karim Beg, and App Growth Manager at Google, Saad Hamid.
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