A lifeline for the startup ecosystem in KP
Scott Belsky once said, “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” No doubt, possessing an idea is a big asset but making it a reality is what counts. Pakistan’s current entrepreneurial ecosystem is the true manifestation of why executing ideas is the most crucial part.
Last year Pakistan was globally classified as an Emerging Market by American Stock Index provider, MSCI, making it Asia’s best performing market. The progress didn’t happen overnight; it took years to bring lasting change.
In the last five years, the startup ecosystem in Pakistan witnessed a boost when Federal as well as Provincial level Information Technology Boards established incubation centers across major cities of Pakistan. Owing to their success, many private sector incubation centers soon entered the IT market and in no time, well reputed corporate sector organizations & companies vowed to be a part of the emerging IT economic market of Pakistan.
However, these incubation/acceleration programs, either local or global, can provide mentorship and funding to a limited number of startups for a limited period of time. Unfortunately, due to the small numbers of incubation centers & acceleration programs, many ideas are left to survive on their own.
In order to prevent the decay of ideas, the concept of crowdfunding platforms emerged in early 2000s. Till date, more than 1000 crowdfunding platforms have been developed, enabling thousands of products to scale. Contrary to contemporary venture capital (VC) setup, crowdfunding platforms not only scaled up the startups but also provided them with global outreach. According to statistics provided by Fundly, a whopping $34 billion has been raised via crowdfunding campaigns and it has added a substantial total of $64 billion to the market. Not only this, they also provided millions of people with job opportunities and are likely to surpass VC in the coming years.
In Pakistan, there is still a need to devise and implement strategies across the entrepreneurial ecosystem to enable it to catch up with the international market. The presence of incubation/acceleration programs and/or startup competitions alone is not enough to make commendable difference in improving the existing system and drastic measures are required to further enhance the startup ecosystem. Internet is the best source to influence the existing market and reaching consumers on the global level has now just become a matter of a click. Foreseeing the outcomes of global crowdfunding platforms, the presence of a local crowdfunding platform is now a necessity.
In order to provide local startups/ventures with a platform to showcase their products, the managerial board of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board is launching a platform under the KP Civic Innovation Fellowship Program’17, meant for the match making between investors and startups. The inability to utilize KP youth’s talent and the wide gap between tech-industry/startups and high profile investors has been a concern for the government body. The project aims to overcome just that by enabling investors and startups to connect, and facilitating innovation across the province.
This article has been written by: Bushra Mustafa