IBA Karachi Hosts Finale of SDGs Challenge Cup

IBA Karachi Hosts Finale of SDGs Challenge Cup

IBA Karachi Hosts Finale of SDGs Challenge Cup

In a groundbreaking initiative to promote sustainable and climate-resilient businesses, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi’s Center for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) and JS Bank, held the finale of the SDGs Innovative Financing Challenge Cup. The event aligns with the United Nations Day of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (UN MSMEs Day) and highlights the ongoing commitment of UNDP, JS Bank, and IBA to support MMEs in Pakistan.

The event drew a diverse audience of over 350 attendees, including students from IBA and other universities, vocational training institutes, startups, and representatives from IBA-CED, JS Bank, UNDP Pakistan, and Business Incubation Centers (BICs).

As a first-of-its-kind initiative, the SDGs Innovative Financing Challenge Cup aims to pioneer a unique blended financing approach through a public-private partnership to identify and support climate-resilient projects tackling social and environmental challenges aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The competition attracted over 200 applications from across the country. Through a rigorous selection process, 30 SMEs and projects were shortlisted to participate in capacity-building workshops. These workshops equipped participants with valuable skills in areas including product design, financial planning, marketability, and SDG-related blended financing.

The competition intensified as the 30 projects were narrowed down to the top 10 finalists. The event culminated in the announcement of the winning projects, chosen by a panel of evaluators from UNDP Pakistan, JS Bank, and IBA. The top four SMEs and projects received a unique blend of financial support – a combination of grants from UNDP Pakistan (10 million PKR each) followed by financing from JS Bank to propel their impactful solutions forward.

The winning SMEs were adjudged in the following order: first place, Vitality Vehicles (Vlektra), which manufactures electric motorcycles to reduce emissions; second place, Concept Loop, which diverts plastic waste into building materials; third place, Knowledge Platform, which creates educational games to promote environmental literacy; and fourth place, Davaam Life, which promotes refillable products to reduce waste.

Ammara Durrani, Assistant Resident Representative, Development Policy Unit, UNDP Pakistan, remarked, “This initiative marks a significant milestone, as it is the first time that such blended financing is being offered. Our aim is not just to offer blended finances to these chosen projects but also to help them build their capacities and foster meaningful linkages within the private sector for future cooperation.”

Dr. Lalarukh Ejaz, Director of IBA-CED, welcomed the guests and participants and briefed them about the project. She stated, “The collaboration between UNDP, JS Bank, and IBA-CED to organize the SDGs Innovative Finance Challenge Cup aims to encourage entrepreneurs with SDG-aligned projects to pitch their innovative solutions.”

Syed Jafar Raza, Group Head Investment, International & Transactional Banking, JS Bank, expressed, “This collaboration between JS Bank, UNDP, and IBA is a powerful example of how public-private partnerships can drive positive change. By combining our expertise as a financial service provider and UNDP’s knowledge in sustainable development, we aim to empower and nurture creative solutions with a positive social impact and contribute to a sustainable Pakistan.”

The SDGs Innovative Financing Challenge Cup marks a significant achievement, fostering a robust ecosystem for climate resilience, inclusive insurance, and groundbreaking social enterprises in Pakistan, thereby paving the way for a more sustainable future for all.

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