Young Pakistani-American Student Social Entrepreneur Fights Hunger

Hannah Dehradunwala, a Pakistani-American student at New York University, has co-founded Transfernation, a nonprofit startup with the aim of alleviating hunger beginning with New York City and Karachi. She has partnered with a fellow NYU student Samir Goel, an American of Indian descent. It's essentially an app and a website that enable leftover food at restaurants and corporate events to be distributed to the hungry.

Within hours of  Transfernation’s official launch on Oct.16 in conjunction with The Resolution Project’s New York City Gala, Dehradunwala and Goel had already overseen the transfer of 85 pounds of food leftovers from the Gala event to Bowery Mission, a social institution providing homeless New Yorkers with immediate help and long-term recovery programs, according to USA Today.

“Our gala celebrated sustainable living, and Transfernation enhanced the sustainability of the evening by making sure that any unused food from the event went to those who need it at the Bowery Mission,” George Tsiatis of the Resolution Project told USA Today.

In Karachi, Transfernation’s Pakistani subsidiary is currently in the process of building partnerships with local restaurants to transfer large food leftovers to charitable shelters. Hannah's friends in Pakistan are leading that effort. Transfernation is set to launch projects in Oxford, U.K. and Karachi, Pakistan later this academic year.

Data shows that vast amounts of food at restaurants and corporate and private events are wasted every day---food which could help dramatically reduce hunger. According to a recent report by UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI), about one-third of all food produced worldwide, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems. When this figure is converted to calories, this means that about 1 in 4 calories intended for consumption is never actually eaten. In a world full of hunger, uncertain food prices, and social unrest, these statistics are morally unacceptable.

Transfernation received $5,500 prize when it won the Resolution Project's Social Venture Competition at the Clinton Global Initiative University conference in March this year. Hannah and Goel are raising additional funds for the startup via crowd-funding site Indiegogo.com.

Here's a video of the young social entrepreneurs' pitch for their startup:

http://dai.ly/x2ajbph



Transfernation Intro Video by uroojnaz6

http://youtu.be/p2tDgXdlfOQ




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Social Entrepreneurship in Pakistan

Pakistani-Americans in Silicon Valley

Pakistani Village Girl Launches VC Funded Startup in San Francisco

Karachi Slum Girl Goes to Harvard

Success Stories of Pakistani-American Women

Hunger in South Asia 

Pakistani Woman Engineer Wins Grace Hopper Award

Working Women Bring About Silent Revolution in Pakistan

Status of Women in Pakistan

Microfinancing in Pakistan

Gender Gap Worst in South Asia

Status of Women in India

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistani-American Iba Masood's Gradberry is launching today out of Y Combinator to connect US companies with vetted technical talent. Candidates quickly build a talent profile, connecting their GitHub, online portfolios and projects, and LinkedIn account. The talent profile is then vetted by the Gradberry team and approved candidates are passed along to specific employers.

The Gradberry of today is a result of three years of work, across several continents, multiple product iterations, two failed applications to Y Combinator and one very passionate founding team.
(Karachi-born) Iba Masood, co-founder and CEO says Gradberry works with graduates and employers. The site has jobs listings and courses, so students can take courses to fill in the gaps in order to land a position, or they can be hired and their employer will sponsor them to take a course to learn a required skill for the job. Masood says the majority of its revenue today comes from the latter. The way it works is that a company hires a recent graduate who looks promising, but lacks a requisite skill. For example, a marketing graduate could lack training in social media marketing. They take the online course, get a certificate and they should be better prepared for the job at hand.

Masood says she and co-founder, CTO Syed Ahmed started the company in 2012. Their original idea was a LinkedIn for students where recent graduates could have a place to apply for jobs, but by earlier this year they realized providing job listings wasn’t enough and they had to address this skills gap, and shifted their focus.

She reports they currently have approximately 38,000 registered users (representing 650+ universities globally), with 1,500 employers using the Beta. Among the first to sign on was IBM, which used the platform in developing economies in the Middle East and Asia.

The company uses a freemium model for employer job ads offering the first three ads free, after which they start paying for ads and training for employees as needed.

They have approximately 30 courses today ranging from languages like Arabic to social media marketing to learning HTML5 and they hope to crank that up to 120 courses by October. Masood says they began by producing the courses themselves, but they don’t want to be in the content creation business long-term. “What we’ve realized with content creation, it’s a capital-intensive, heavy model. It’s also intensive on the side of creation. To have high quality courses in terms of production value we would need a studio, the right lighting and video,” she explained. Moving forward they will oversee content creation, but won’t be creating it themselves.

Instead they are working on partnerships with companies like Microsoft and Adobe to produce the content for them. The software companies gain access to a highly valuable 18-24 market who will be trained in their product sets and there is value in that for these companies, which Gradberry hopes to take advantage of.

Gradberry has 6 employees and up until now they have been bootstrapped through revenue generated from the site and small prizes totaling $40,000 they have won in startup competitions. Currently they are part of MassChallenge, a Boston-based startup incubator, which Masood says has offered invaluable assistance in the development of her company.

“MassChallenge has connected us to stellar mentors and innovators in the Boston community, who have helped us refine our operational strategy, to scale on both sides of the equation –that is, course content and career opportunities,” she said. She added that they also have great connections to multinational organizations, who will be partnering with them to provide employer-led courses and job opportunities for fresh talent.


http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/11/gradberry-aims-to-fill-college-grad-skills-gap/

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