Bookmarking Desi Innovators & Ventures

Plan9: A Vision and A Will

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry August 6th, 2013

“Roofi, in our meeting with Mian Shahbaz Sharif, it has been decided to set up a Government Technology Startup Incubator. Dr. Umar Saif has been asked to make a proposal regarding it.”  A friend informed me over a phone call when I was in Canada. He was amongst the people who attended the first public meeting of IT professionals with Punjab’s Chief Minister last fall at Arfa Software Technology Park. Though I am no longer an ardent fan of incubators after experiencing various startup ecosystems, but a country like Pakistan where there are no government grants and incentives, I thought it was a right move provided it being executed well. Some of us had seen the PSEB experiments in the past so my only concern was that they need right people in the team to make it a successful program. Therefore I immediately wrote a note to Dr. Saif with few suggestions and he was quite kind to reply promptly.

If there’s one industry in Pakistan where entrepreneurship is erupting nowadays, it would be none other than the technology sector. The low startup capital required for a technology company as well as the general appeal of computers to young minds make it the go-to industry for anyone hoping to make their mark on the entrepreneurship landscape. And in that sector, if there’s any one organization that has emerged as a hub for tech entrepreneurship, it would be Plan9 – PITB’s Tech Incubator (more…)

 

My Biz Pakistan Initiative

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry August 16th, 2012

While we are different personalities, there is one vision that brings both Nabeel Akmal Qadeer and myself on a common platform i.e. “Educating, Motivating and Inspiring Pakistani Youth”. Both of us want students to follow their passion and field of choice after graduation.

In order to achieve these objectives, we launched a startup, went to educational institutes in various cities, and tried whatever we could do at our end to help the ambitious lot. Last year, both of us left Pakistan to pursue higher studies in management that we have successfully completed recently.

So Nabeel recently called me up and shared this initiative “My Biz Pakistan”. My immediate response was “What’s so different in that?” Nabeel said “It has what we were lacking before.” Then he continued to elaborate why it’s different and I somewhat agreed to the root cause why we failed in the earlier iterations of our plans. In short, it was the lack of resources at hand. Though I am not part of this team, the plan discussed by Nabeel totally resonates with how we should support Pakistani Startups. It’s time to mature our angel investment market.

Many of you might know about Amer Qureshi. Amer is a highly experienced Australian Chartered Accountant, Business Advisor and Author. Born in Pakistan, but having spent most of his professional life in Australia, Amer has developed a passion for helping business owners, entrepreneurs and professional improve their lives. This passion has led him to write four books, develop numerous seminars and TV Shows with the aim of motivating and inspiring people. An excellent speaker and presenter Amer has contributed to the development of a large number of professionals and business owners in Australia, Pakistan, Dubai and Qatar.

My Biz initiative has been developed with Amer’s vision to help the young Pakistanis become entrepreneurs and take control of their lives. My Biz Pakistan would provide training, tools, networks and access to Angel funding for starting small businesses. The angels would also act as mentors to these young entrepreneurs. It is not a charity, a micro finance institution, an NGO, a government authority or anything of the sort. This is a setup where few Pakistani Business Leaders are trying to make a difference.

The angel investors will fund innovative business ideas that are considered to have great potential for success. The funding arrangements are negotiated between the investors and the entrepreneurs, however, the organization would provide the framework, ideas and advice and help you through the process. Typically for small startups, the funding will be limited to between PKR 50,000 and 200,000 and will be made in stages on achieving agreed milestones.

Both Investors and Entrepreneurs can work with My Biz Pakistan. Terms for both the parties are mentioned at http://www.mybizpakistan.com. For students, the My Biz Ambassadors in your city and your university are your first point of contact, and will be able to provide all the necessary information and advice that you need. In the event of any additional assistance, you may also contact one of My Biz consultants. If you want to be the ambassador at an educational institute, you can also apply for that by following the application process at http://www.mybizpakistan.com/join-us.html

Moreover, the inside scoop is that some former CEOs of multinationals would soon be joining the My Biz Board, and that the organization has already engaged investors from Australia and Dubai. If you have a good proposal, they can invest right away. So what are you waiting for?  Now you don’t have an excuse that you are short of cash to take the jump.

 

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