SPRING Accelerator: a solution for the underserved?

Among the crudest issues of the country, women empowerment remains a subject facing immense challenges and mobility could easily be one of the major contributing factors.

Considering the dismal figures quoted by the World Economic Forum 2014, Pakistan sits at the bottom of the rankings for gender gap in economic and labor participation, proving the need for effectively engaging women in the economy.

The trending ICT sector in Pakistan is emerging as a problem-solving tool for socio –economic development and may aid in improvement of gender rankings. The increasing number of incubators and accelerators powering startups are enabling an economic change by appearing more accessible to underserved segments .The evidence can be drawn from the number of successful ICT initiatives involving women across Pakistan.

For economies to flourish in modern times, it is essential to develop women as agents of change and to recognize the need for enhancing quality human resource and business creation platforms specifically catering to the needs of adolescent girls and women.

SPRING Accelerator targets the very segment globally; as according to them 250 million adolescent girls live in poverty worldwide. Their ambition is to deliver life-enhancing products and services to 50 million girls by 2030.

The program is backed by the UK’s Department for International Development, the Nike Foundation, and USAID. It provides funding, access to mentors and helps with development of business to enhance the impact made by girls. SPRING has chosen Pakistan as its next impact-creating destination and invited online applications for the second cohort.

This is an opportunity for initiatives serving the needs of girls in Pakistan to intensify their presence. Women in Pakistan constitute approximately more than half of the total population with a high age group of adolescent girls and a low literacy ratio for the segment.

Through platforms like SPRING, change makers will have the opportunity to serve a huge market size. They may also gain access to a global community of experts, advisors, networks and an immense learning experience.

The impact of such organisations can be substantial and may encourage women to participate effectively in economic activity. Thus, if placed well all such initiatives can be used as powerful tools to improve the gender gap rankings.

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