SeedOut

SeedOut: Changing Lives

Lahore, PakistanLahore, Gujranwala, Pakistan
Year Founded:
2011
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

SeedOut is a non-profit orgarnization that is reducing poverty by emporwering poor through micro-financing their entrepreneurial ventures using crowd-funding platform that connnect donors to the needy borrowers.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if every willing and needy person got a chance to improve the life of their family by excercising entrepreneurship?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

According to the World Bank’s Poverty Head Count Analysis for 2014, almost 60% of the population in Pakistan falls below the poverty line. The charity is mostly distributed in hard cash form. But no one has tried to fix the root cause of poverty which is lack of opportunities and resources for upward mobility so this poverty cycle continues to engulf these poor families and no significant improvement is evident.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The root cause of the problem is that small donations in hard cash form cannot change life for anyone. These poor people do have the desire to improve their lives and are willing to work hard for it but they do not have the means to do it. The solution is to provide them with the assets needed to upgrade their existing income resources or to provide them with such a resource. So our proposed solution is not to give them fish for one day to eat instead give them the net and a boat to catch fish for themselves for the rest of their lives.

Awards

Reperesented Pakistan in 11th Islamic International Conference in Malaysia
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Aasia a divorced woman, worries about the taboos and stereotypes in the Pakistani society. However, she is determined strongly to break all those chains and become an independent, 32 year old woman with her own rickshaw so that she can support herself and help her brother by sharing his burden that befalls on him. Aasia got divorced after her abusive relationship with her husband and had to be taken in care of her brother since she had no parents. Her brother who earns an average 130 USD per month from the auto-rickshaw he drives but he is unable to meet ends. Aasia finds light in darkness with this SeedOut project as it gives her a new rickshaw to earn her own money.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

SeedOut has sustainable business model which incorporates the 1500 years old Islamic laws and a latest technological trend to promote entrepreneurship. In three years’ time SeedOut has financed 80 projects which has touched and improved lives of almost 370 individuals and 160 children started to go to school instead of being involved in child labor. We have raised almost 50k EUR in total to date. Our target is to raise 500k EUR in the next three years. At the moment we are very much focused on two cities where we have volunteers and connections. We plan to expand the reach of this project to other parts of Pakistan and the world.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our future focus is to extend our outreach to Southern Districts and KPK province. The idea is to make this organization a national movement and primary donation platform when anyone thinks to do charity in Pakistan. We plan to interact with universities. This would provide the universities with field study of a novel subject and inspire the students to be involved with SeedOut as volunteers giving us more human capital. We intend to boost our online and social media campaign to create more awareness about this NGO. Besides that a series of fundraising events are part of the plans.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We started with our own resources, funding from friends and family. There are number of things that insure financial sustainability of our NGO. Firstly it is our sustainable model. As soon the beneficiaries start to payback, this money is then invested in other projects. It creates a multiplier effect. Our established coherent borrower identification and disimbursement processes make sure that money goes to the right places. We have a 99% RR.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Use of technology insures all aspects of our NGO are transparent. Zakat is an obligatory alms giving and religious tax in Islam. Wealthy individuals make yearly dontations which are in small demonominations and in hard cash form which does not change things for anyone, We directed these funds to finance assets for micro entrepreneurs, which is a game changer. Our dedicated and trained human resources make us stand out. Most of the charities are working on the issues that stem from poverty we instead focus on the root cauase of the problem and are trying to eliminate it.
Team

Founding Story

While reading on the success of Kick Starter Programs in US I got inspired and I realized that the potential of crowd funding on the internet – it was cheap, simple, and the donors can see the results instantly. No one had used crowd funding for charities before, and if it could be made compliant to Islamic laws, in Pakistan it can replace the opaque and inefficient traditional charities. I pitched this idea to my friends who I knew shared the same passion to alleviate poverty from Pakistan. Not only they got on board they brought in generous donations along with them. Gohar supported on the tech end and Zain brought in the big donations to realize this idea.

Team

Seed Out has three co-founders, Zain, Talal and Gohar. We all went to high school together. We work on voluntary and part time basis for SeedOut. As Zain’s family contributes the most to the funding we have made him the president. I work in the capacity of International business development consultant. We have also hired a full time manager who has an experience of running NGOs, to oversee the daily operations of the organization. Zain’s father is paying the salary for this manager from his own pocket. Besides this we have several volunteers working with us to arrange different activities.  
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Through a friend who studied at Cambridge University

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder/ International Business Development Consultant

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I succesfully managed my family estate at a very young age. This role allowed me to have interaction with poor people in the rural areas of Pakistan. I just felt I had to do something to help them . That is where the motivation to start SeedOut came from. During my university studies, I setup an e-shop for e-ciggarettes. I made a decent profit on that venture. I also started to help my uncle in his tyre import and export business. Most recently I am starting my tech recruitment startup that would place the software engineeers from emerging markets in the European Tech companies. All these experiences gave me some kind of learning and a business development sense which is helping us to grow SeedOut

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Beyond our existing team, we have several students who join us voluntarily to help us with our NGO. We do have some senior corporate executives namely, Maroje Guertl, Markus Gehrmann, Hussain Shah, and Ashraf Mughal, who regularly donate to our platform. Besides that we have gotten celebrity endorsements form some very famous actors, singers and directors in Pakistan. Our biggest endorsement to date is from Ex-Governor of Punjab and Former UK MP, Ch. Sarwar.