Tech Entrepreneurs: From Dreaming to Achieving

The entrepreneurial opportunities and difficulties for Pakistani startups in the endless arena of technology

A small idea can bring the biggest revolution, be it in technology, politics, medicine or any other field. The first step matters more than anything. If we look in the world of technology, we can see that once tiny startups have turned in to huge business empires worth billions. Take for example Facebook, which was initially perceived as a networking website but today it has changed the way how companies do business and reach customers.

Pakistan is a country home to 200 million people and around 70% of them are below the age of 30. This young population is the biggest strength of Pakistan. small idea can bring the biggest revolution, be it in technology, politics, medicine or any other field. The first step matters more than anything. If we look in the world of technology, we can see that once tiny startups have turned in to huge business empires worth billions. Take for example Facebook, which was initially perceived as a networking website but today it has changed the way how companies do business and reach customers.

Tech Entrepreneurs: From Dreaming to Achieving

Important thing to consider here is that how to convert this potential in to something huge and constructive? Great progress has been witness over the years, Pakistanis are moving ahead in the field of technology with more and more startups launching every year. The nation is budding with idea developers who can produce the next billion-dollar startup.  Market situation is also going through an upward trend where internet penetration is on the rise with mobile broadband subscription exceeding 18,040, 854 Million subscribers at the end of September, 2015.

The e-commerce trends are also quite promising and it is estimated that by the end of 2017, the size of our e-commence market will reach over $600 million from its current size of $30 million worth annual purchasing online

The e-commerce trends are also quite promising and it is estimated that by the end of 2017, the size of our e-commence market will reach over $600 million from its current size of $30 million worth annual purchasing online. These advancements in technology arena have created a perfect time to build tech products because opportunities are endless if ideas are executed correctly.

Tech Startups have quite favorable conditions in local business world where all players in the industry are working hard to provide support to young tech entrepreneurs. According to Shehryar Hydri, the director of marketing and operations at Convo, the startup culture in international arena we find that there are four basic elements that play part in the success of any ecosystem:

  • Skilled team and viable ideas
  • Large market place with appetite for those products and services
  • Multiple sources for funding of project
  • Bigger companies to support and acquire those startups, providing a lucrative exit so that the whole cycle starts again

Unfortunately in Pakistan two of these major elements have always been missing. We do have creative teams with ample ideas as well as access to local and some global markets but funding sources and exit options have always been a problem for young entrepreneurs. Although there are many public and private incubation centers are working to get young tech entrepreneurs to their feet by providing technical and financial assistance but the need for a healthy startup cycle is still there.  This is where the role of incubation centers comes in to play that are not only providing technical support to the startups but also attract  national and international funding for promising projects.

Local players can play a major role in supporting new tech-ventures since they are best familiar with the ups and downs of the industry

Besides the lack of these two very important factors in tech ecosystem cycle there are many other challenges that are also faced by tech startups in Pakistan.  First and foremost challenge is lack of basic technical skills in fresh graduates, whose minds although are budding with new idea but lack the expertise to execute them. The reason behind which is that many institutions do not teach the kind of courses that are important and relevant to the industry i-e Android Development. Consequently lot of resources and time is invested by startups in training them.

We do have creative teams with ample ideas as well as access to local and some global markets but funding sources and exit options have always been a problem for young entrepreneurs

The need for encouraging links between academia and industry has grown more than ever in order to impart skills that fresh graduates need to succeed in a workplace. Many incubators have started working in collaboration with educational institutes to give the required training to students whereas some institutions like NUST and LUMS have started their own entrepreneurial setups to facilitate their bright students.

The image of Pakistan internationally is also a point of concern for international investors who are willing to invest if they shift and deploy their model in any other country. This is something where government really needs to step-in in order to attract international investors in the country. Currently there is a tax holiday on software export income only but that too will end in 2016. So the government really need to develop new regulatory policies in order to create friendly environment for the tech entrepreneurs and investors alike.  So far Plan9 and PlanX are only two major initiatives taken by the government but sadly they too are limited to Punjab only.

Many public and private incubation centers are working to get young tech entrepreneurs to their feet by providing technical and financial assistance

Foreign investment and acquisitions are not the only exit options and key to success. Local players can play a major role in supporting new tech-ventures since they are best familiar with the ups and downs of the industry.

The success story of these ventures will help in creating a conducive environment for other large companies to jump in with hefty funds and consequently foreign investors will change their perceptions regarding their investments in Pakistani market. In this regard when financial and technical support is imperative for new entrants in the market, tech incubators play a major role and have become a valuable addition in the ecosystem.

The image of Pakistan internationally is also a point of concern for international investors who are willing to invest if they shift and deploy their model in any other country

With the support of well-established tech-incubators the start-up business is growing at outstanding pace. Our local projects have been successful in securing credence in international market as well.

This is indeed a great time to enter tech business in Pakistan. With the right mix of assistance from public and private sector’s assistance and investment, Pakistan surely has got what it takes to become world’s next tech hotspot.

Tech Entrepreneurs: From Dreaming to Achieving

Rizwana Khan

Dreamer by nature, Journalist by trade.
  • >
    Close

    Adblock Detected

    Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker