Jazz, one of the largest telecom companies in the country, today launched a report named Digital Entrepreneurship and Ecosystem in Pakistan (DEEP).
The white paper highlighted not just the digital ecosystem of Pakistan but also the difficulties that many startups still face that stops them from reaching their true potential.
Jazz recently launched VEON application that stands in line with their motto of Digital Pakistan and this white paper further provides a roadmap to achieve that target.
The objective of the study was to understand what drives the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan and what are the gaps that allow the progress to halter
At the National Incubation center (NIC), the company’s representatives gave us a clear picture as to what is lacking in the current digital ecosystem and what few steps can be taken to ensure a better tomorrow.
Why should we care about Digital Ecosystem?
In the case of Pakistan, the economy can no longer survive by placing all of its eggs in one basket i.e. agriculture sector with some help from other industries like textile etc. It needs to make progress in the digital ecosystem to create a place for itself in the changing global environment.
The digital ecosystem is the future of almost every industry as it can single-handedly drive a country’s economy to new heights
Thus, it is the right time to start asking the right questions like what are the real issues faced by entrepreneurs who are trying to bring digital reforms in the country.
Roles of Different Stakeholders
The task of creating a digital ecosystem for entrepreneurs do not fall on the shoulders of a single organization or a government rather it needs to be a combined effort of various stakeholders involved in the process.
The main stakeholders of the digital ecosystem include Government, Entrepreneurs, Academics, and Corporations.
To create and sustain a digital environment, all of these stakeholders need to play their part; starting from the government, we need better mobile and internet penetration, startup-friendly regulations, the creation of better incubators and accelerators etc.
The academics have to rethink what kind of education are they providing to the young minds of Pakistan. Are the courses fully equipped to handle the oncoming digital world? Do the students know how to create and sustain a company etc.
At the same time, the corporation and startups need to bring innovation to the table. The companies need to get their heads out of the profit-making cycle and understand the needs of tomorrow.
The entrepreneurs need to see what they are bringing to the table; are their e-services helping people and if yes, what is the focus of their services.
Issues Faced by Pakistani startup ecosystem
Some of the major issues faced by the Pakistani startups are:
- Many Pakistani startups face problems especially when they are trying to get a patent for their intellectual copyrights and thus turn towards other countries with better regulations and investment
- It is very difficult for the Pakistani startups to find seed money for their startups and thus look for international firms to provide funds
- Many brilliant minds when graduate leave Pakistan to find better job opportunities for themselves, depriving the country of their intellectual brilliance
- The government is spending less than 2% of GDP on education, which is thus creating weak foundation for the coming generations
- The virtual capital market is not structured where only a few startups get substantial investment
How we can Improve the local Infrastructure
The different stakeholders need to address the above problems and find a solution together that works for all of them. Following are some recommendations that can help the digital ecosystem to grow:
- The startup ecosystem in Pakistan needs better regulations and policies to help protect the rights of the entrepreneurs
- Creation of platform for the fresh graduates to help them start their own business or provide better employment opportunities to keep them in the country
- Government needs to spend more resources on education and revise the system to provide the students with relevant subjects and courses
- Creation of better investment funds to help and nurture the new startups that are trying to create a digital impact in the country
- Creation of more and better incubators and accelerators to provide struggling entrepreneurs and startups a place to harness their power and present a solution that will solve an everyday problem