Having its origin from the Silicon Valley, technical entrepreneurship is somewhat a concept in its infancy, till date, as compared to the sophisticated entrepreneurial models based on the principles of economics and management. This combination of scientific and technological knowledge with commercialism depicts an opportunity in the market which had been unexplored.
The rise of this ‘creative collaboration’ in Pakistan is amplifying on a daily basis. Technical entrepreneurship in Pakistan is the new hype. The country has a significant number of graduates from engineering institutions each year who have mastered the skill of innovation but the only hindrance which stops them from converting these innovative ideas into sustainable business models is the lack of entrepreneurial skill set.
The Pakistani Horizon
Establishment of various incubation centers has now made technical entrepreneurship in Pakistan popular by bringing parties with technical skills and entrepreneurial knowledge onboard. A few incubation centers which facilitate the emergence and growth of Start-ups are worth mentioning.
Plan9 is an initiative by the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) which helps various start-ups through mentoring, networking and giving them proper feedback on their products throughout. It is Pakistan’s largest tech incubator and also works on a ‘zero-equity’ model. PlanX is an extended version of Plan9 which further helps mid-level start-ups to sustain themselves in the market.
Different universities have also set up their incubation centers where they help emerging technical entrepreneurs in getting on-track. NUST Technology Incubation Center and LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship are a few noteworthy. The edge that these incubators have is that they have aspiring engineers and entrepreneurs in their varsities that can then come together, pitch-in and integrate their skills and resources with some mentoring and connections provided by the centers. Some brilliant start-ups have emerged from these incubation centers such as Maro Tandoors, Traverse Pakistan, Cygnus Solution and many more.
Although there are various women who are employed in these tech incubators and are continuously involved in imparting necessary skill and guidance required to emerge as a successful technical entrepreneur with minimum risk but there are few women-led incubation centers too which are making a mark of their own. Invest to Innovate(i2i), led by Ms. Kulsoom Lakhani provides start-ups with the necessary skill required to enter the market and also connects them to potential investors. Another leading example is NEST I/O, a technology incubator led by the Software House Association (P@SHA) which is led by Ms. Jehan Ara.
Growth and Progress
Pakistan’s technology industry is growing at a faster pace as evident by the increased number of mobile and 3G users, specifically, which make up the potential target market for technical entrepreneurs. The number of firms wanting to enter the market, the number of incubation center which are emerging, the rising interest of students at educational institutions who set up various societies and clubs to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and engineers to reap the maximum out of the combination, the presence of potential investors who find investment in technology viable and profit-oriented, etc. all depict that the technology is an emerging industry in Pakistan and we need more technical entrepreneurs to innovate and take risk. No doubt, technical entrepreneurs run with a greater risk than the traditional entrepreneurs because of various reasons like entry barriers, target market and many more but continued development of this industry and similar support by other provincial governments as the Punjab government can lead to a magnified level of development in technical entrepreneurship in Pakistan as a whole.
This TED talk will tell you how "Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurial Abilities" can do wonders!
Be the change you want to see.