Startup Pakistan competition: A path towards new life…

How many times have you heard or suspected that a certain entrepreneur was just lucky? Without fully discounting that random good things sometimes happen. One should firmly believe that great entrepreneurs make their own luck. The smart ones get some extra support early on critical decisions, and work a bit harder on issues that are common startup killers.

Once when you are done with your studies, choosing what type of company to work for can be challenging. With so many options and a competitive job market, for many, it ultimately comes down to two options: get hired at a startup, or jump into a corporate role. There are, of course, many who choose to become entrepreneurs and work for themselves, or to work for small businesses instead. Choosing to work for a corporation has its perks. It’s often thought to provide job security and stability, regular business hours, well-defined role expectations and responsibilities, ample resources, and a competitive salary and benefits packages, but what it can provide in stability and predictability, it can lack in innovation, impact, transparency and ownership. Change, whether that’s in the form of technology or processes can be difficult to come by and hard to influence. With today’s social media and crowd funding platforms, you can effectively test the waters before you build. If you see no traction, it may be time to pivot before you spend time and money on something that is not going to work. Great marketing is often more important than anything else.

No matter how great your idea is, always remember that building a successful business is all about speed. Make decisions, get things done and move forward. In most cases, any decision is better than no decision. Any startup that is not moving forward faster than competitors and the market is idling.

Start-ups and young firms contribute to the economic development through employment, innovation and productivity. Though majority of the start-ups fail, yet they are crucial for economic competitiveness and prosperity in order to allocate resources to more productive and efficient business activities. While many economist strive to generate such business dynamism, fewer succeed. So it is highly important to analyse and draw lessons from similar initiatives across the world. Pakistan has a great potential for IT start-ups. Though there are various provincial and federal agencies supporting start-ups and IT companies, the number and impact of Pakistan-based start-ups are far lower than those in India. It is appreciable that the federal government of Pakistan, just like India, has announced some tax exemptions for start-ups for the initial three years. However, there is a need to design the “Startup Pakistan” initiative. Research and development expenditures in the country are considerably low which restrict entrepreneurs from launching high-value start-ups. According to the World Bank data, public and private expenditures for research and development are 0.3% of GDP in Pakistan while these stand at 0.9% in India and over 2% in China. In order to exploit the potential of Pakistani talent and to stimulate innovation in the economy, authorities should steer the Startup Pakistan initiative.

The youth of Pakistan is no less talented than anyone living in some other part of the world. Quaid-e Azam once said, “I look forward to you as the real maker of Pakistan. Don’t be exploited and don’t be misled. Create amongst yourselves complete unity and solidarity. Do set example of what youth can do. Your main occupation should be fairness, to the state, to devote your attention to our studies. If you fritter away your energies now, you will always regret.” Center of Pakistan and international relations has launched startup Pakistan campaign across Pakistan last year. The purpose of this initiative is the provision of a platform to the young entrepreneurs so that they can take a step forward and finally a leap straight to their destination. While owning a business may be a personal dream for many, managing a business may prove difficult because of a lack of prior business ownership, experience or management skills. An honest self-evaluation will allow you to assess your personal characteristics and determine your willingness to meet the demands of owning your own business. Here the startup campaign has certainly played its role. Many questions have been answered and certain information been gathered before determining the feasibility of your business idea. Careful research and analysis use to help you in evaluating your concept and assist you in assessing your idea. The startup campaign is all about your business success from the conceptual level to its promotion and eventually to meet the goals in terms of a successful venture. It is important to remember that every business is unique. Taking time to explore your concept will help you identify those specific factors that make your business concept unique. Market research tells you who your customers are, where they are, and how large the potential market is. This particular factor or procedure is also part of the campaign. The prospect of starting a new business is exciting for any entrepreneur. With a few conceptual ideas, you may feel ready to move forward to make your new business a reality. Planning is an important phase of a business startup. You should ensure that you have mapped out your new company’s model for success. COPAIR, is also privileged to take lead in arranging startup Pakistan competition in order to encourage young entrepreneurs. Awards were also distributed among those who came up with exceptional and result oriented business ideas. In the developing world, start-up business has received a lot of attention. The presence of government-sponsored support structures for start-ups is crucial in case of developing economies because the level of private sector assistance for these businesses is quite low. In the developing world where business is always shaky and risky, we can’t expect that many individuals in the private sector would like to endorse any novel idea by investing in it. So the working model to promote start-up culture in such countries is either through full-fledged public sector support or through public-private partnership initiatives. COPAIR, has keen interest to bring more opportunities for those who are ready to get into to world of innovation by their startup strategies.

The previous government in Pakistan before the current caretaker setup has started efforts to encourage start-ups. The Ministry of Information Technology is heading a start-up incubator called the National Incubator Centre (NIC) in partnership with the private sector companies. Similarly, Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) is heading its own incubator called Plan9 which is also in collaboration with the private sector. Both of these incubators are tech-based.

The world has never experienced such dynamic changes in technologies, economies and societies before than in the last three decades. Innovation has transformed the lives of women in developing world through new ideas, products and practices and now it is seen as a force for social change.

Empowering women who live in poverty is essential for intrinsic human rights as well as global development and economic growth. Today, innovation serves as a powerful equalizer between genders, resulting in the growth of untapped strategies that can bring substantial benefits for millions of women. Innovation and women’s empowerment each has essential value for human progress. Women empowered by innovation can foster greater gender equality, civil society and academia. They can create and harness better solutions to difficult problems. The E-Women initiative of COPAIR is an effort to empower the women of Pakistan.

Since its creation, Pakistan inherited the menace of poverty, with the women populace bearing the brunt of it. Various cultural, societal and religious reasons prevented them from playing a productive role in society, leaving Pakistan’s true potential hamstrung as a result. The gender equality goals may not have been realized in the past but now a wide range of institutions form business, civil society and government have committed resources, rhetoric and political capital to make women independent. These available resources have shifted the paradigms in the form of unprecedented opportunity to forge new alliances and unleash innovation to achieve women’s empowerment.

Take the example of reproductive technologies and agricultural innovations. They are just a tip of the iceberg that can empower women on multiple levels – be it on individual, household, economic, social and political levels.

Although there are many innovations that can be thought to have had a positive impact on women’s lives in Pakistan but still expansive efforts are needed to address the fundamental challenges to women’s empowerment and gender equality. For those starting or growing a business, it’s important to navigate the available support with confidence. Startup Pakistan is all about ensuring and developing the mutual confidence. The real purpose is to consolidate its support and making it more navigable to help out all those who are interested to become an entrepreneur. Start up Pakistan is a well planned strategy for augmenting the entrepreneurial skills of the youth. The strategy actually moves with the individuals to push them ahead so they acquire their destination. The campaign is a voyage of success for all those who will accompany this.

Published in Melange Int. Magazine in July 2018.

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About Saima Zaman 40 Articles
Writer is the Assistant Editor ‘Mélange int’l Magazine’, ‘The Asian Telegraph’ & Project Coordinator (COPAIR); a degree holder in communication & media sciences.