CIRCLE is a social enterprise focused on women’s economic empowerment and leadership development through advocacy, research and innovative entrepreneurship labs. Founder of CIRCLE, Sadaffe Abid, is a Mount Holyoke graduate who then went on to complete her Masters at Harvard Kennedy School. Sadaffe is also INSEAD Social Entrepreneur in Residence and former CEO and COO of Kashf Foundation where she helped grow the start up from two rooms to serve 300,000 women clients with micro loans. Her work at Kashf has been profiled in Nicholas Kristoff’s, “Half the Sky”. She founded CIRCLE with the belief that investing in women is the smartest economic venture of today! When women grow, families prosper and nations progress.
What CIRCLE does
- Leadership capacity building of women in Pakistan through workshops, fellowship programmes, dialogues and mentoring
- Research and Advocacy to achieve women’s equal representation and access through building a knowledge base, campaigning & partnerships
- Entrepreneurship and innovation through supporting women start ups and women in technology
CIRCLE has the following core initiatives:
Tech Karo: an 8-month long coding (web development) and life skills program for youth, especially for women from underserved communities in Karachi. The project aims to bridge the digital gender divide, provide opportunities for the graduates to increase their livelihood, build confidence and create a supportive community for life. The top graduates will be placed in internships. Our mentors include experts from Google, IBM, Systems and other leading tech firms.
Women Startups: CIRCLE facilitates women business owners to receive mentorship via Cherie Blair Foundation global network of mentors and gain access to core business and life skills so they can expand their businesses. CIRCLE brought a global competition targeted for women first time to Pakistan, in 2017. 80+ women startups participated in the She Loves Tech Pakistan Finals. The top 10 received mentorship from IBM, Google and leading local entrepreneurs, while the winning team Trashit went to China for boot camp and global finals. CIRCLE strives to increase visibility of women start ups and channel funding to them.
Elevate: Elevate is CIRCLE’s flagship campaign with a mission to promote women’s participation in the economy and grow women leaders. It works towards UN Sustainable Development Global Goals: SDG5: Achieve Gender Equality, SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth & SDG17: Partnerships for achieving sustainable development goals.
Elevate Champions: CEOs of National Foods, UBL, Mitsubishi Corp, Standard Chartered, Jazz amongst others have joined CIRCLE to support Elevate and grow women leaders within their companies.
Elevate Campus Chapter: CIRCLE’s newest initiative aims to bring Elevate to universities in Pakistan to grow emerging leaders, provide access to role models and support women & men to thrive in the work environment. Elevate campus chapter works under the umbrella of Elevate and aims to increase women’s participation in the economy by bridging the gap between female students who graduate from universities and students who actually enter the workforce. 68% of female graduates in Pakistan do not join the workforce.
2018 INTERNSHIPS (Apply ASAP on Handshake - deadline rolling)
In addition to managing the above-mentioned initiatives, CIRCLE collaborates with a variety of projects to increase women’s inclusion in the economy. Multiple internships are offered in 2018 to support CIRCLE signature projects and collaborations:
WEE DFID: The WEE DFID Project aims to economically empower 12,000 rural and urban women to build resilience against poverty in Sindh and Punjab. The project brings a holistic approach integrating skills training with market linkages, financial access, micro enterprise development and job placements.
The role of CIRCLE is to capture learning experiences and insights emerging from program implementation and share then with wider stakeholders. To document the learning journey, CIRCLE will create an online journal that will include interviews, stories, and unique insights of the organisations in bringing more women into the economy and providing solutions to the challenges women face.
Role of the WEE DFID Intern:
Conducting interviews of organisations and participants using innovative approaches
Working on the data gathered from the interviews to come up with unique insights
Documenting success stories of the cohort receiving skills trainings in an impactful manner
Mapping gaps, challenges, failures, and areas where the project seems ‘stuck’
Capturing pictures and recording videos of the “On-site” learning
Developing and sharing content on social media
Blog on Women Startups, leadership and innovation
CIRCLE aims to initiate a blog which becomes a key part of its strategy to generate unique content to support women’s journey, provide tools, inspiration and be a space for creative ideas and experimentation.
Role of Blog Intern:
· Work with the Communication Lead & CEO to design the blog, its strategy, undertake research on blogs that have huge following to see what works, do an analysis of the Pakistan market to assess the context and opportunity and then kick off the blog.
· Generate content for the CIRCLE u tube channel & design its strategy
Tech Karo Intern
Tech Karo is a one of its kind initiative launched to empower women through technology. Women learn coding combined with life skills and access to mentors. The success of the initiative is measured by the ability of graduates to start earning and have a significant increase in income and confidence.
Role of Tech Karo Intern:
- Develop local and international partnerships to bring projects to Tech Karo students so they can work on them and earn
- Build partnerships so CIRCLE can expand its tech initiative and learn from the global best practices
- Develop case studies to document stories of the cohort, their aspirations and goals
Role of Entrepreneurship Intern: Undertake research on the investment landscape for start ups in Pakistan and especially for women start ups and women led businesses. Identify startups that have received funding, interview them on the process, their insights, challenges to develop a tool kit that start ups can use to get ready for investment. Work with CIRCLE teams to encourage investment in women start ups, develop mechanisms to highlight women startups ready for investment, support in conducting an investor training to build a pool of women investors in Pakistan. Furthermore, work with CIRCLE on developing a women entrepreneurship hub, a space where women can take their business from idea to execution as well as explore ways to develop growth enterprises.