ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Federal Minister for IT & Telecommunications Syed Amin-Ul-Haque has said that the investments of Pakistani startups grew by almost five times over 2020.
In his address to the National Incubation Centers (NIC) Lahore as the chief guest at LUMS for the graduation ceremony of its eighth cohort where cash awards were given to the top three graduating startups, the minister said that the MOITT through Ignite has been providing both local and international networking platforms to our startups to pitch their business ideas and products to potential customers and investors.
The Vice Chancellor LUMS Dr. Arshad Ahmad, the CEO Ignite Asim Shahryar Husain, the Executive Director NITB & Chairman Board of Ignite Syed Husnain Abbas Kazmi, and other official were present at the occasion.
The federal Minister was introduced to NIC Lahore alumni and later visited the different parts of NIC including a state-of-the-art Makers Lab.
Giving his remarks at the graduation ceremony, Syed Amin Ul Haque advocated for the role of technology in the government’s mission to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Pakistan.
Amin Ul Haque said that the IT ministry has taken many steps to boost IT exports and investment in Pakistan. The IT exports had crossed US$ 2.1 billion last year and the target for this year is US$ 3 billion.
Syed Amin-Ul-Haque further said that the NIC in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta has not only facilitated many like you to work and build on ideas which promote and encourage the investment infrastructure in Pakistan but also towards an accelerated economy. These National Incubation Centers are your platform and we are the facilitators.
“The newly established incubation centers of Hyderabad and Faisalabad will help us expand and tap into the potential of Sindh and Punjab, we wish to provide the youth of a fora to bring your ideas into reality” he added.
The CEO Ignite Asim Shahryar Husain said that Ignite will launch at least five more NICs in new cities of Pakistan.
The Executive Director NITB & Chairman Ignite Board Syed Hussnain Abbas Kazmi in his address to the graduating startups encouraged the entrepreneurs to continue on the path of innovation and reaffirmed the support of the government in their endeavors.
“We are eager to refurbish the infrastructure of our entrepreneurial endeavors with modern day ideas,” the Vice Chancellor LUMS Dr. Arshad Ahmed.
Earlier while briefing the audience, the Project Director NICL Nauman Zaffar reinforced the center’s vision to inspire, enable and facilitate the next generation of Pakistan’s problem solvers.
Nauman Zaffar said that the National Incubation Center Lahore at LUMS funded by Ignite passionately supports and enables ideas which create value in Pakistan.
The pitch presentations were also given by the winning startups about their products and future plans. Ignite’s forecast for investment in Pakistani startups this year is between US$ 500-US$ 600 million.
Earlier, during the graduation and prize distribution ceremony, a cash prize was awarded to the three strongest graduates.
The first prize was given to QBio, a life sciences venture establishing Pakistan’s leading enzyme biotechnology company; the second prize went to Dawa Asaan, Pakistan’s first smart pharmacy providing pre-sorted and pre-packed medicines for chronic illness patients on a monthly subscription; and third prize went to Peervest Global, a digital equity-based crowdfunding platform that connects tech-enabled start-ups with eligible investors to provide funding and networking opportunities.