Inspiration

If startups in the country do not look at youth as a resource, this time bomb will explode

startup

WRITTEN BY

Shaigan Rana
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Entrepreneurship is about uplifting the society and creating jobs. POLLY GILBERT and KATIE WHITLOCK from London, are the kind of “social architects” every startup, business and society needs

These two young women came up with an ingenious idea about employing homeless people.

Startup Co-founders

POLLY GILBERT and KATIE WHITLOCK

They met a homeless person on a cold night sitting at the freezing cold pavement and literally vibrating with cold, offered him a hot dog, to which he replied that he have already had 5 of these, each of those hotdogs costs £5, totaling £25 in just a few hours.
What a waste of cash they thought, this money could have paid for a weeks’ stay in a night shelter, providing him with a hot meal and a warm bed five nights on the trot, but, it left him with a momentarily full belly, and little else.

There are vast amounts of money spent on spontaneous acts of generosity in London – buying a sandwich, or handing out loose change”, Katie Whitlock, Co-founder of TAP says. Individually, these donations do little to help in a meaningful way. But TAP can channel these acts of generosity effectively; to create sustainable change for so many who are struggling.

They started to think about how could the generosity of London be used more effectively? In making giving easier and more immediate could longer-term solutions be found?

Some months later a startup TAP was founded, a non-profit startup that employs homeless people as vendors.
These people sell £3 artcards using contactless technology. The money raised is used for paying TAP vendors their wage and the additional money goes to local charities serving homeless people in that specific area. For now TAP is supporting “Shelter from the storm” and “New Horizon” two local charities working to help improve the lives of London’s homeless.

The artcards they sell are carefully curated for Londoners, they feature an artwork from a city-based artist which comments on that week’s news. One single thought is issued weekly these artcards are a hybrid of Instagram and journalism.

Art card

TAP London Art card

The co-founders are of the view that;

Homeless individuals are a hidden resource with huge untapped potential. They are deserving of a chance – not because we should feel sorry for them, or treat them as charity cases – but because many are able, talented and hungry for opportunity.

startup-vendor

TAP vendor Liam


Last week Liam arrived in London with few job prospects, despite being extremely smart, capable, and with an excellent CV; this week he got out on the streets, and managed to get 40 kind strangers to give to a cause they had likely never heard of.

Employment changes lives. It offers people hope for the future, and a belief in themselves that might have disappeared a long time ago. Since we met Viktor, he’s gone from sleeping on the streets to paying for his own hostel, and saving his wage for a more positive New Year. He is proud of himself, and what he’s achieved in just a few weeks.

startup-vendor1

TAP vendor Viktor


A lack of permanent address or bank account shouldn’t make this kind of transformation impossible.

TAP London, is a window of hope for the homeless and a classic example for the startups here in Pakistan where entrepreneurship is just obsessed with getting funding from an incubation center or making some quick money.
Making money is not bad at all, but trying to improve peoples lives while doing business is something profound.

It is the need of the hour, that we understand that a startup can be much more than developing Apps, Games and Softwares, and that technology can be rather should be used to improve peoples lives.
TAP london broke even on the eighth day of their operations.

Not a single startup in Pakistan has tried to develop and mobilize our human resource, a country where more than 63% of the population is youth, out of 200 million. What is more alarming is that according to a survey this bright young generation is the most frustrated and stressed out population in the country. The reality is far more grimmer, this youth has been called a TIME BOMB by an Economist, Lin, he states that since the youth’s unemployment rate is high, the country is sitting on a demographic time bomb.

Large mass of frustrated youth is likely to become a potential source of social and political instability

now you know why.

We as startups have look at this youth as an untapped market with huge potential, and working with our human resource to educate, employ, engage and empower them can be the only way forward to address this challenge and to save the economy.

Here is a video that describes the project in just 57 seconds:

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