In this series of blogs, we share three examples that illustrate how the Innovation Portfolio and a major programme worked together in developing new solutions to the challenges faced by Pakistan’s youth:
The SDG Bootcamp journey: supporting social entrepreneurs to solve Pakistan’s problems
Entrepreneurs, and in particular social entrepreneurs, are playing a vital role in helping transform our economies into sustainable systems. At UNDP we saw an opportunity to innovate for searching for new solutions to tackle joint objectives of youth unemployment and equipping young people with future-ready skills, while collectively working to solve complex social problems. We wanted not only to play a role in preparing young people for the job market of the future, but also support the development of an ecosystem conducive to social entrepreneurship.
To do this, we needed the right kind of partner. A tenet of UNDP’s innovation teams is that we need to partner with “unusual suspects” to convene, connect, and engage new actors in co-creating innovative solutions to development challenges. This approach gave us the opportunity, in 2018, to launch a partnership with DEMO, an impact-focused enterprise, to co-create a first-of its-kind entrepreneurship bootcamp for young social entrepreneurs focused on SDGs. The model was piloted in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in October 2018 and brought together 20 inspiring young social entrepreneurs for 5 days of innovation & disruptive thinking. The pilot cemented our belief that across Pakistan there are young people with exciting, innovative ideas for bringing about social change. It also showed us adaptations that were needed in the curriculum and which we made before iterating with a second national-level SDG Bootcamp .
The impact of this approach is real; under the two bootcamps we have supported 41 social ventures, worked with 25 local partners, reached 1.2 million people on social media, and collaborated with 100 Pakistani changemakers at the bootcamp summit. On top of that, 4 of our social enterprises have all raised rounds of investment for their start-ups aimed at solving critical development challenges in Pakistan.