Entrepreneurship is not a new phenomenon in Pakistan but somehow now it is getting a track to drive on. One of the major contributors in promoting Entrepreneurial culture in Pakistan are those Pakistanis who living abroad, and who came back after their studies with an entrepreneurial experience. They realized the value of entrepreneurship while studying in foreign universities and working in dynamic environment. They have seen many concrete examples that how small startups can create a big difference in economies of the countries.
There are some hurdles and missing connections in Entrepreneurial ecosystem of Pakistan. But many organizations are working hard to promote entrepreneurship in Pakistan. Some of these organizations are MITEF, OPEN,, PASHA, TiE, and Islamabad Chamber of Commerce. The government has also initiated some funding and incubation opportunities for small startups especially for ICT projects. These initiatives include National ICT R&D Fund, Incubator program by PSEB, and PITB. Universities in Pakistan are jumping into entrepreneurial scene by adding subject of entrepreneurship in their undergraduate and master programs and also started incubators and innovation centers. Some of them are TIC at NUST Islamabad, BIC at COMSATS, and many other universities are starting ORIC by the support of HEC.
To get output from all these initiatives some events and competitions are started like Startup Weekend was held in Karachi at IBA, In Lahore at LUMS, and same event is going to happen in Islamabad at NUST in September this year. Some other competitions are DISCOVER funded by prime minister’s fund, INVENT by IBA Karachi, and etc.
There is a need of a platform to channelize the efforts being done for entrepreneurial ecosystem by engaging entrepreneurs, mentors, VCs, academia, and industry. Following are some important points which are very supportive for startups to nurture. To have a rent free or very low cost office space for startups, monthly discussion-meetings of all stakeholders in different cities, small and easy funding opportunities, more effective competitions rather than just traditional business plan competition, connections with Pakistanis living abroad to share their experience and knowledge. And it may be prudent to formalize expatriates’ contribution in their motherlands entrepreneurial ecosystem. Also this is very vital to train teacher of entrepreneurship, so that they can create entrepreneurial mindset in universities by realizing to students the value of entrepreneurship and how it contribute in economy of a country. Last but not the least in this entire ecosystem the most important role can be played by government as matter to create an enabling environment regarding the emergence of entrepreneurial ecosystem in our country.