With the global rise of entrepreneurship in the last few years, the start-up culture has evolved and is now thriving in all parts of the world. New initiatives, ranging from technology to health to education, have provided the youth with the opportunity to think out of a conventional mindset. This new focus on innovation has encouraged young adults from all backgrounds to execute original ideas, which are beneficial for the society they live in.
Pakistan’s start-up ecosystem has progressed immensely over the last decade. With the aim to mainstream startups and create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan, till date over 9,000 jobs have been created through 5 National Incubation Centers across Pakistan.
For the first time in five years, two startups from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were able to secure top positions in Pakistan Start-up Cup 2018-19 powered by TiE Pakistan in collaboration with US State Department and Griffin Worx, USA.
National companies like Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) are playing their part in supporting it. The telecom organization showed its full commitment to the purpose by laying the foundation of National Incubation Center (NIC) Peshawar. This was done in collaboration with LMKT- a full-service technology company that is funded by IT&T and Ignite. It has also supported NIC Karachi on several occasions.
NIC Peshawar, hosted in a former PTCL Training Center, has an area of 12,000 sq. feet and is fully equipped with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and high-speed connectivity. It houses 25 handpicked start-ups each year. PTCL has been organizing specialized workshops in collaboration with Microsoft, IBM, and other tech companies in order to refine the incubatees skills. Furthermore, the incubatees also have access to mentoring services that help them with design thinking, product improvement, business model development, financial sustainability, operational intelligence, and product marketing.
NIC Karachi is an Ignite-MoITT funded incubator that is operated by LMKT in collaboration with PTCL, HBL, PPAF and NED University. The Center aims to incubate over 200 next-gen businesses in five years. NIC Karachi offers entrepreneurs and promising start-ups from Sindh a variety of programs, ranging from two-day boot camps to year-long acceleration programs, as well as access to mentor and investor networks, and technical resources.
Enabling a productive and efficient start-up culture in Pakistan has already proven to be of great benefit. PTCL has played an active part in providing mentorship and identifying areas for improvement for the incubatees of NIC Peshawar and Karachi, who are determined to bring infrastructural developments in the country.
Start-up sessions held by PTCL in Peshawar and Karachi have provided incubatees with opportunities to present their ideas and receive valuable feedback from industry experts to grow their businesses to their full extent and potential.
PTCL has hosted start-ups from NIC Peshawar, who presented their ideas, business models and prototypes to the senior management at PTCL. The organization has also collaborated with NIC Karachi to mentor the young entrepreneurs. The purpose of these sessions was to encourage these innovative thinkers to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the country, as they are the future leaders of tomorrow. The sessions covered presentations on the start-ups’ idea viability to market sustainability, defined target market, business model, brand positioning and marketing capability, as well as various ideas for further collaboration using PTCL’s infrastructure and network to assist them.
Recently, PTCL has also supported NIC Karachi at a special graduation ceremony for the graduation of their first cohort of start-ups at its facility in NED University, Karachi. The 17 graduating start-ups span a variety of industries, including, education, agriculture, commerce, waste disposal, and robotics.
Support from reputed corporations like PTCL not only provides motivation for emerging entrepreneurs, but it also gives a boost to the entire start-up ecosystem in Pakistan. Collaborations like these open avenues of growth for the talented youth of the country, enabling them to execute their ideas and grow their business. With the growth of these start-ups, more job opportunities are created and thus contribute to our economy.
PTCL is highly committed towards the development of entrepreneurs and understands that the future of Pakistan’s economy lies within its innovative youth.