The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has awarded four Pakistani innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs seed capital and business skills mentoring as part of its fifth edition of the Transformers Roadshow competition, held in association with COMSTECH. The Roadshow is a global initiative in which applicants are invited to pitch ideas accelerating one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Minister of State for Health, Dr Zafar Mirza was the chief guest for the Transformers Roadshow. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Zafar Mirza said that, the current initiative, namely the Transformers Roadshow, is a very novel idea. He congratulated IsDB for providing this opportunity to young Pakistani innovators to pitch their ideas for addressing one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. There is no dearth of innovative and creative ideas in our countries but there is a dire need of directing efforts towards providing indigenous solutions for the problems that we face, and secondly there is a strong need for connecting innovators with entrepreneurs, who can convert the ideas or prototypes into commercialized products or services.
Dr Mirza said that Pakistani innovators are using their skills in producing energy from renewable technologies, which can be linked with industry to eliminate poverty and generate employment. He said that with the help of IsDB we have started a project of mobile health clinics in Islamabad that will obviously facilitate people in providing basic health facilities in remote areas. Health minister said that IsDB and COMSTECH will provide support for providing health, education, food security and safe drinking for the poor of the society.
Addressing the gathering and during the press conference, President Islamic Development Bank Dr. Bandar Hajjar said, Pakistan is the integral member country of the IsDB group and is the third largest beneficiary of IsDB financing.
The IsDB group has provided a total financing of 12.43 billion USD to Pakistan, helping improve the lives of the people of Pakistan through a range of development projects. He highlighted that IsDB is financing Neelum Jhelum Hydro Power Project, Jamshoro Power Station, CASA 1000 project for improving energy needs of the country. Dr Bandar Hajjar said that he had a very fruitful and constructive meetings with the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of Road to Naya Pakistan will pave way for the economic prosperity of the country. He said IsDB has earmarked a 500 million USD fund for promoting science technology and innovation in the member countries.
The competition attracted more than 200 entrants from across Pakistan, with shortlisted 20 teams presented their innovative ideas and 4 finalists were selected by the esteemed judging panel, awarded $3,000 seed capital and a ticket to Transformers Roadshow final to be held in Senegal later this year. The initiatives were assessed in line with the SDGs agenda across factors such as innovativeness, impact and outreach, practicality, scalability, sustainability, potential for patenting and commercialisation.
Coordinator General COMSTECH addressing the press conference said that “We are committed to developing local talent and nurturing solutions to key challenges. We are delighted that this event attracted some of Pakistan’s top minds who have made it their mission to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.” He said that the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan is collaborating with IsDB for funding innovative projects by Pakistani scientists.
Dr Hayat Sindi, Senior Advisor to the President, Islamic Development Bank said: “The quality of the applications here in Pakistan has been exceptionally high, and I am delighted to see so many innovative and novel solutions proposed across such a diverse mix of development issues. Science, technology and innovation are at the heart of the IsDB’s strategy and through the Transform Fund, our dream is to support solutions designed by local entrepreneurs and innovators who understand their communities.”
Winners of the competition will receive an invitation to attend the 2019 IsDB Transformers Summit in Senegal. The winners were:
1. Dr Osman Hassan, Smart SIM (Health)
2. Dr Khawaja Arsalan Habib, Short Circuit Fault Localization System (Energy)
3. Hassan Bin Rizwan, Muse Lessons (Education)
4. Ms Rehana Balti, Apricot Processing Strategy (Agriculture)
Teams presented their ideas to an esteemed judging panel from public and private sectors including:
- Dr Hayat Sindi, Chief STI advisor to the President of the IsDB
- Mr Yusuf Hussain, CEO, Ignite
- Dr Fil Randazzo, CEO and Founder, Leverage Science
- Lars Kroijer, Founder, Allied Crowds
Launched in July 2018, the Transformers Roadshow is one of the initiatives led by the IsDB Transform Fund set up to support the IsDB’s strategic focus on capacity building and human capital development. Previous editions took place in Uzbekistan, Niger, Kazakhstan and Bangladesh, where the Bank has awarded nine innovators. The IsDB mission via the Transform Fund is to equip people to drive their own economic and social progress at scale, putting the infrastructure in place to enable them to fulfil their potential.