28th February 2017 at NUST: Empower Pakistan brought, for the first time, the Global HORN Program in Entrepreneurship program, Diamond Challenge, to the country by organising an one day Social-Impact focused business competition for teams of high school students.
The competition called as Diamond Challenge (Horn program’s extension specific for High School Entrepreneurs) has its roots in the University of Delaware (USA). Through Empower Pakistan’s initiative and NUST Entrepreneurs Club’s (NEC) support, Pakistan became one of the 10 (out of the total 30) countries to witness the Diamond Challenge this year.
The registrations for the event started a good two months earlier and closed with a total of 26 diverse High School student teams applying from different cities of the country. The respected jury, comprised of eminent names of the industry, shortlisted 5 of the best ideas whose teams were invited to pitch their business plans on the day of the competition (28th February) at NUST.
These five teams competed for a price money of US$1000 and a chance to participate in the semi-final round scheduled in the USA.
The rapidly changing social challenges globally and locally demand us to think of innovative solutions. Digital shift, environmental changes, declining economic growth-there have been massive transformations in each segment. Cultivating an entrepreneurial element among our young school students to identify and solve these social challenges should be our way forward”.– CEO Empower Pakistan, Syed Sajid Shah, explaining the whole idea of the event.
Thinkers of today are going to be the leaders of tomorrow. Diamond Challenge aims to encourage students from an early age to take lead and participate in venture development and revenue generating business models.
The event was a success both in fulfilling its purpose of supporting youth entrepreneurship and in terms of execution. The date of the event coincided with the dates of the 13th ECO Summit taking place in Islamabad. Even on an unusually high security alert day in the city the organisers, the jury members, and the participating teams (2 from Lahore) managed to reach the event well on time and in high spirits.
That day I actually thought twice of going back home although I was half way through because of blocked roads and high traffic. Definitely, the audience would have been in larger number on an average, normal day but despite of all these hurdles, people did show up and made the event successful” – Hisham Sarwar, Judge
MedMee, Bibilo, 3Rs stood as the top three teams of the Diamond Challenge Pakistan-2017 with the team MedMee securing the first position and Biblio coming up as the runner-up.
Diamond Challenge Pakistan-2017 was the first event of its kind to be organised in Pakistan. The winners of this competition will serve as a source of inspiration for other school students to engage in venture development in the years to come.
Empower Pakistan takes pride to be the leader of supporting entrepreneurial activities among the youth of the country and commits to continue this trend in the future. In this regard, Empower Pakistan extends its special thanks to the University of Delaware, to NEC for their administrative support and to the jury, consisting of Mr. Adnan Faisal (Manager TIC at NUST), Mr. Zeeshan Shafqat (Founder Shizmen, blogger, TEDx Speaker) and Mr. Hisham Server (leading Pakistani freelancer and entrepreneur), for their intellectual support.