Google has given Rs20 million in seed money to fund local venture capital initiatives in the social space that use technology as a platform, as a part of its global initiative to fund social innovation.
At the launch of the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT and ITES (P@SHA) Social Innovation Fund on Thursday both organisations announced that they hope to fund around 25 projects with the seed money that they have and the maximum funding cap, keeping this in mind, is Rs1 million.
The only limitation that they have set is that the applicants have to be Pakistanis who are living in Pakistan; they justified this by saying there were enough funds for Pakistanis living abroad.
Google, which has worked with P@SHA for other projects, felt that the money it was channeling into the country could be more efficiently utilised in projects such as this – they already have a similar project in Africa – and approached the local software houses association and the two mutually agreed to the P@SHA Social Innovation fund.
“It doesn’t have to be just software specific,” said P@SHA’s President Jehan Ara, who explained that it just needed to have a technological aspect to it.
According to Ara, the money from Google is not the end and her organisation has received expressions of interest from other local and multinational companies which stated that if they see good work being done, they would also be interested in contributing to the fund.
Google’s country representative, Badar Khushnood said, “We funded this because we think that youth can bring about change.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2011.