Where start-ups get their start

Published: July 25, 2017
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PHOTO: EXPRESS

PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: A lot of millennials feel strongly about making an impact in the world through their initiatives.

Such intentions are crucial as there are multiple global problems, asserted Epiphany consultancy agency’s founder Samar Hasan. She was speaking at the Launch Pad 10 Expo, a five-day event consisting of screenings, workshops and talks organised at the Arfa Software Technology Park. It concluded on Sunday night.

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“It’s great to earn money to make a living, but it is even better if your business is solving problems for society. So, let’s try setting up businesses with a difference,” Samar said.

The event invited shortlisted start-ups to pitch their ideas and win a spot at Plan9 – an incubation project of the Punjab Information and Technology Board (PITB). PITB will provide the selected participants with various resources and assistance for a period of six months.

To shortlist the 10th incubation cycle, Plan9 chose 120 applications out of thousands. Those selected will go through a five-day series of workshops, trainings and be allowed to pitch ideas to investors. On the final day, 21 of 120 start-ups made it to the last round thanks to the economic and social viability of their ideas.

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Ammar Ali Ayub, co-founder of NearPeer, an online learning platform that provides students with online video courses, stressed on the importance of pitching ideas the right way to secure funding.

Rabeel Warraich, founder of Sarmayacar, gave tips for pitching products to the participants. He stressed not rushing into getting investments and focusing on building a solid product idea first, having a good understanding of existing solutions and knowing the competition.

Sharing tips on how to come up with workable and valid ideas, Faizan Aslam, the founder of cinema ticket portal bookme.pk, said people needed to assess the market size because if there aren’t not too many people who need the product, it cannot succeed. “Secondly, you need to asses if the market is ready to utilise your product or not. Lastly, you have to see how much money you can make out of the product idea.”

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Plan9 has incubated 130 start ups so far through nine cycles of six months. To instil the culture of tech entrepreneurship and achieve sustainable growth for early stage product-based ideas, the government backed tech incubator was launched in August 2012 by PITB.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2017.

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