Unilever Pakistan and SEED Ventures announced a collaborative initiative named ‘2nd Life Pakistan,’ to address the issue of plastic waste and sustainable waste management in Pakistan. The ‘2nd Life Pakistan’ initiative aims to identify and foster creative approaches to tackle plastic waste, ultimately promoting responsible waste management practices across the country. This innovation challenge has brought together local talent to develop solutions for a cleaner and greener Pakistan. Divided into two different segments, Acceleration and Research, it has progressed through multiple stages, beginning with the initial shortlisting of 11 start-ups and 18 research applications.
After an intensive month-long capacity building program, participants benefited from personalized 1-on-1 mentorship and engaging topical webinars by Seed Ventures and Unilever management teams. The top three participants in both the start-up and research categories earned the opportunity to showcase their innovative solutions at the final pitching round to a Jury of UL personnel.
Bigger Bricks was declared as the winner of the Acceleration challenge, and received prize money of PKR 1 million. A team from Aga Khan University were declared as winners of the Research program, and received prize money of PKR 500,000. The winning teams and exceptional participants from the competition will be offered an opportunity to collaborate with Unilever Pakistan on initiatives related to plastic collection, recycling, and repurposing.
Sarah Mooney, British Deputy High Commissioner, Karachi, was the Chief Guest at the event and highlighted. “The innovation challenge has brought to the forefront untapped talent from Pakistan, that will not only enhance the creative pool of students emerging but also bring technical expertise when they enter the industry to begin their careers.”
Speaking about the initiative, Amir Paracha, Chairman & CEO, Unilever Pakistan, highlighted, “The ‘2nd Life Pakistan’ challenge represents a significant step towards addressing plastic waste issues in our country. At Unilever Pakistan, we are passionate about sustainability, and through this initiative, we aim to harness local talent and innovation to create a lasting positive impact on our environment.”
In the words of Shaista Ayesha, CEO of SEED Ventures, “Initiatives like ‘2nd Life Pakistan’ serve as bridges between nascent innovations and established industries. They expand the horizons for research and contribute to a knowledge pool where all stakeholders can gain a better understanding of the landscape.”