Unleashing the potential: empowering youth with disabilities to become successful entrepreneurs

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31 Oct 2023

The work of emerging young entrepreneurs with disabilities was showcased at a special event in Islamabad, Pakistan on 22 August 2023. The event was organised under the Futuremakers project funded by Standard Chartered Foundation and Sightsavers, in collaboration with DeafTawk, a trailblasing startup focused on enhancing the lives of people with hearing impairments.

This important gathering of key stakeholders was attended by more than 200 people representing governments, civil societies, and private sector organisations. The objective of the event was to highlight the entrepreneurial rights of youth with disabilities, and the importance of creating an inclusive environment for them to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

The event also provided an opportunity to discuss the challenges these young entrepreneurs may face in accessing resources and services, and ways to address these challenges. Young entrepreneurs with disabilities pitched their business models to audience members, sharing key questions and costs that their business needs to generate revenue streams.

Key speakers of the event (Munazza Gillani, Country Director of Sightsavers; Tasneem Mirza, Head of Community Engagement at Standard Chartered; and Ali Shabbar, CEO of DeafTawk) highlighted the need to create an inclusive environment for these entrepreneurs, and the importance of providing access to financial and technological resources. They described how employers should work to remove infrastructural, organisational, and policy related barriers to promote the inclusion of youth with disabilities in their workforce. Moreover, it was also highlighted that entrepreneurship can provide an avenue for women with disabilities to achieve economic independence, meaning more targeted and assertive efforts should be made in this regard to help women with disabilities.

The ceremony concluded by awarding venture capital/seed money to the selected business models and shields of appreciation to project supporters.